The mahapanchayat of 12 villages in Jind district of Haryana on Sunday let off 14 persons, accused of murdering a 40-year-old woman. All they have to do for their freedom is apologise and pay Rs 22 lakh as 'blood money' to the victim's family.
Justifying the order, Nathu Ram, former sarpanch of the Fatehgarh village said the panchayat gave its verdict only after seeking approval from both the families. Talking to HT, husband of the deceased Dashrath Singh Ahlawat said, "Our family and that of the accused have the same bloodline …and if our kin get punished, then the feud will escalate."
But can the panchayat's order hold when the accused have been booked for the murder. Advocate Deepak Miglani said, "Murder is non-bailable, non compoundable offence… no panchayat has the right to interfere or influence the judicial system."