The Supreme Court of India has stated that people convicted of committing “honor killings” could face execution.
Justice Markandey Katju wrote in a statement: In our opinion, honor killings, for whatever reason, come within the category of rarest of rare cases deserving death punishment.
While accurate data is hard to come by, it is believed that thousands of (mostly) young women are murdered every year in India for allegedly besmirching the family’s or the community’s honor in some way. Quite often, a young man and woman who fall in love and are of different castes can be killed. Young women who refuse to submit to an arranged marriage often become victims.
Many times these murders are disguised as “suicides” or as a “death by accident.”
In some cases, especially in rural region, the order of death is handed out by a village council of elders.
The problem is widespread across India, but particularly acute in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana in the north.
All persons who are planning to perpetrate 'honor killing' should know that the gallows await them, said a statement from Justices Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, after they upheld the conviction and sentence of a man named Bhagwan Dass, who killed his daughter for deserting her husband and eloping with an uncle.
It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilized behavior.”
The Justices added: We would like to state that honor killings have become commonplace in many parts of the country, particularly in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Often young couples who fall in love have to seek shelter in the police lines or protection homes to avoid the wrath of kangaroo courts.”
In addition, the bench stated: There is nothing honorable in honor killings, and they are nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by bigoted persons with feudal minds.