The Supreme Court has awarded life sentence to three persons in a honour killing case, but said the accused deserved capital punishment.
The apex court refrained from awarding the death penalty to Master Krishna, Ram Sewak and Kishori as the incident, in which six members of a family were gunned down, was two decades old.
It also slammed the high court for acquitting them by rejecting the testimonies of a child and another witness.
"There is no manner of doubt that killing six persons and wiping out almost the whole family on the flimsy ground of saving the honour of the family would fall within the rarest of rare case evolved by this court and, therefore, the trial court was perfectly justified in imposing capital punishment on the respondents," a bench of Justices H S Bedi and J M Panchal said.
"However, this court also notices that the incident had roughly taken place before 20 years, i e, on August 10-11, 1991. Further, the high court had acquitted the respondents by a judgment dated April 12, 2002. After April 12, 2002, till this date, nothing adverse against any of the respondents is reported to this court."
The apex court said that to sentence the trio "to death after their acquittal in the year 2002 would not be justified on the facts and in the circumstances of the case", hence the life sentence.
Six members of Gulzari's family — his wife Ramwati, brother Baburam and their three sons Rajesh, Umesh and Dharmendra — were shot by Krishna and the other two in Uttar Pradesh's Farukhabad district.
Krishna's daughter Sontara had eloped with Amar Singh, son of a neighbour. The trio killed Gulzari's family as they suspected that Ramwati helped them elope.