On Monday, Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kaul set aside Madras High Court’s June 22 judgment on Udumalpet honour killing case and decided to admit the criminal appeal filed by the Tamil Nadu government.
The case dates back to March 13, 2016, when Sankara (a Dalit) and his wife Kausalya (Upper-caste) who got married against her parents’ wishes were attacked in broad daylight by a group of men in the town of Udumalpet. While Sankara died, Kausalya was able to recover from her injuries and became the lead prosecution witness against her parents whom she blamed for sponsoring the attack.
The gruesome attack was captured in CCTV and the footages went viral in social media resulting in an outcry by public and human rights activists.
In December 2017, Tiruppur Sessions court awarded the six accused including the girl’s father, B.Chinnasamy the death penalty. However, Madras High court in its June 22, 2020 judgment acquitted the father due to lack of clear evidence against him and commuted the death sentences of other five accused to life sentences without remission for 25 years.
State Government represented by Additional Advocate General Balaji Srinivasan appealed in the Supreme Court against the decision advocating that the case false under ‘rarest of rare category’ and deserved the death penalty.
This is in line with the Supreme Court’s judgement in Bhagwan Dass vs Delhi (2011) where the Apex Court ruled that honour killing falls under ‘rarest of rare category’ that deserves capital punishment.
This incident became the subject of a documentary, ‘India’s forbidden love: An honour killing on trial’ which got nominated for an International Emmy Award in the Documentary category. The documentary followed Kausalya’s fight in the court to get justice for her late husband.
Kausalya since then has reinvented herself as an anti-caste activist and got married to a parai artist.