Hundreds of people are killed in India each year because they fell in love or married against their families’ wishes, said a recent study.(photo, from bbcimg.co.uk)
The country’s Supreme Court said people convicted of so-called honour killings should face the death penalty : “It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation.”
Although the death penalty is carried out very rarely, convictions for “honour” killings usually carry life sentences.
But when executions are authorised, thanks to the appeal they can be delayed for years.
On Tuesday two Supreme Court judges dismissed an appeal against a life sentence for a man convicted of strangling his daughter.
Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said : “All persons who are planning to perpetrate ‘honour’ killings should know that the gallows await them.”
“He cannot take the law into his own hands by committing violence or giving threats of violence.
“In our opinion honour killings, for whatever reason, come within the category of rarest of rare cases deserving the death punishment.”
In April the Supreme Court warned that the states should “ruthlessly stamp out” so-called honour killings, adding that the senior officials who did not act against offenders would be prosecuted.
In many branches of Indian society ancestral notions of tradition and family honour are still very deeply rooted.
And “honour” crimes are often endorsed or encouraged by village-based caste councils.