In “Honour killing” case both father and son acquitted

In “honour killing” case both father and son acquitted by Supreme Court. After fifteen years of legal battle honour killing case accused i.e. father and son duo who killed his minor daughter’s lover, an auto rickshaw driver in 2000 in Thodupuzha, Kerela, were acquitted. Supreme Court acquitted the duo on the basis of technical grounds and said that guilt of accused has not been proved beyond reasonable doubts while setting the High Court’s judgment aside.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In this case, Jojo who was an auto rickshaw driver loved a minor (Smitha) and he was killed when the couple were trying to elope.

The prosecution counsel presented his version of facts which are as following. When Jojo was trying to elope with Smitha, father of the minor girl held the neck of Jojo tightly and threw him down into the paddy field filled with water and mud and sat over his body. Later, brother of the minor held the decreased neck from the back and drowned his face in muddy water again and again which led to asphyxiation and killed him.

TRIAL COURT JUDGMENT:

The trial court decided to acquit the duo on the basis that the case was not “free from reasonable doubts” and held that the duo should get the benefit of doubt. As during trial, twenty two witnesses of prosecution turned out hostile and created doubts in the police story, which therefore led to their acquittal.

HIGH COURT JUDGMENT:

High Court on appeal convicted both father and his son and delivered that “more importantly, the order passed by the court below will definitely result in grave miscarriage of justice not only to the family of victim but to the entire society at large”. High Court convicted the duo under section 302 read with section 34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sentenced them imprisonment for life along with Rs.25000/ each as a fine.

SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT:

Apex Court set aside the conviction delivered by the High Court and the bench of Justice Gopala V. Gowda and R. K. Agrawal held that “the material evidence on record does not reveal anything which incriminates both the appellants. Further the depositions of parents of the deceased i.e. Prosecution witnesses13 and 14 in no way implicate both the appellants as the offenders. Rest of the prosecution witnesses has turned hostile and has not supported the prosecution story on material facts to show that both the appellants are involved in the crime as alleged against them”.

Apex Court also held that the High Court had made mistake in placing the trust upon the statements which was made to the police by the witnesses who turned out aggressively hostile as their statements were not counter questioned or marked as exhibits. Moreover, the Investigation officer also failed to give evidence that the statements of the said hostile witnesses were recorded under sec. 161 CrPC.

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