‘Honour killers’ death sentence commuted to life imprisonment

New Delhi, April 17: The Delhi High Court Thursday commuted, to life imprisonment, the death sentence to three men for killing a teenage couple for “honour” as they were against their marriage, saying they are not menace to the society and they can be reformed.

A special bench of Justice S.Muralidhar and Mukta Gupta also freed two women who were awarded death sentence in the case while giving them “benefit of doubt”, saying they could be at best be said to be spectators to what was being done by the three men in the house.

On June 14, 2010, police had found the blood-stained bodies of Asha, 19, and Yogesh, 20, at her uncle’s house. As per the prosecution, the duo had been thrashed with wooden logs and sanitary pipes, bound and given electric shocks.

The five convicts – Asha’s parents Suraj and Maya, her uncle Om Prakash, his wife Khushboo and cousin Sanjeev – were handed the death penalty by a trial court.

The bench, commuting the death punishment of the three men to life imprisonment, said that “they are not who cannot be reformed or they are not a menace to the society”.

According to the prosecution, Yogesh, a taxi driver who belonged to a scheduled caste, and Asha, were neighbours in Gokulpuri. A few days before the crime, Asha had told her mother that she loved Yogesh and wanted to marry him. On June 13, 2010, Asha called Yogesh to her uncle Om Prakash’s house, saying they wanted to talk about their marriage. Yogesh reached Prakash’s house in Swaroop Nagar along with his brother-in-law Rakesh.

Soon enough, the issue of caste came up and Asha’s parents began manhandling Yogesh and Rakesh after which the duo fled. The next morning, Rakesh went back to Prakash’s house which was locked and police and locals had gathered outside. On breaking open the lock, police found Yogesh and Asha’s bodies.