Terming 'honour killing' as an act of barbarism, the Supreme Court has ordered police across the country to take stern action against those resorting to violence against boys above 21 and girls above 18 who enter into inter-caste or inter-religious marriages.
'We sometimes hear of 'honour' killings of such persons who undergo inter-caste or inter-religious marriage of their own free will. There is nothing honourable in such killings, an in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal minded persons who deserve harsh punishment', a bench of Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Markandey Katju said.
They quashed all criminal charges against Delhi-based businessman Brahma Nand Gupta who had married Lata Singh, a Thakur girl from Lucknow in November 2000.
On a writ petition filed by Lata, the apex court quashed all criminal proceedings initiated against the family members of the boy who were also being subjected to threat, harassment and violence by Lata's three brothers.
The Bench said, 'In our opinion, such acts of violence of threats or harassment are wholly illegal and those who commit them must be severely punished. This is a free and democratic country, and once a person becomes a major, he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes. If the parents of the boy or girl do not approve of such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage, the maximum they can do is that they can cut off social relations with the son or the daughter, but they cannot harass the person who undergoes such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage.'