New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea by Neelam Katara seeking enhancement of sentence to death for Vishal and Vikas Yadav who have been convicted for murdering her son Nitish Katara in February 2002.
A bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice R. Banumathi said that while it was a murder and could even be pre-meditated, it was not heinous or a case of honour killing.
Neelam Katara had moved the SC questioning Delhi High Court order sentencing both Vikas and Vishal Yadav to 25 and five years sentences which are to be run one after the other.
“I am not very sure it is really a matter of honour killing as he (Nitish Katara) was not from backward cast or bad family,” Justice Khehar observed as senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for petitioner told the court that it was a case of honour killing.
Not persuaded, the court said that “(Yadav) family knew that they were in relationship and they were talking about it”, adding “could she (Bharti – Vikas’s sister) have invited Nitish Katara for her own sister’s wedding without family permission”.
This is a society living in urban areas where they allow friendships with a rider, “friendship so far so good, don’t take next step”, said the bench.
Telling Salve that it was not a case of honour killing and apparently something happened while Katara and Bharti were dancing that resulted Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav along with another kidnapping and murdering Katara.
“It is probably that dance that disturbed the mind of (Vikas and Vishal) that (set) them into action,” the court said rejecting the contention of honour killing.
Forget “honour” and “show us it is heinous” and covered under the category of rarest of rare case, the court asked Salve.
As Salve told the court that it was case involving kidnapping, premeditated burning of body leading to destruction of evidence, the court asked him where was the heinous dimension, like the body being chopped into pieces or something like that.
Burning of body was only destruction of evidence and same does not amount to heinousness of the crime, it said.
As Salve reiterated the grounds for the enhancement of the sentence pointing to the “surgical” precession with which Katara was murdered, the court observed, “It is just a murder, nothing more. It may be planned. Every murder is planned.”
“Nobody can relieve anybody’s pain when child is lost,” the court said in apparent reference to the presence of Neelam Katara in the court room as it declined the plea.
She had sought enhancement of the sentence to death or alternatively imprisonment for whole life.
According to the high court order, both the Yadav brothers are to undergo a sentence of 30 years each.