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The Supreme Court on Monday warned that perpetrators of 'honour killings' could face death penalty, saying that the crime meets the "rarest-of-rare" criterion laid down by it to award capital punishment.

"All persons who are planning to perpetrate 'honour killing' should know that the gallows await them," said a bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra after upholding the conviction and sentence of one Bhagwan Dass, who killed his daughter for deserting her husband and eloping with an uncle. Infuriated by his daughter's conduct — she left her husband and started living in an incestuous relationship with her uncle — Dass strangled her with a wire.

Justice Katju, writing the judgment for the bench, said, "In our opinion, honour killings, for whatever reason, come within the category of rarest of rare cases deserving death punishment."

Cracking down on perpetrators of honour killings, Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju, in his judgment on Monday, said, "It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilized behaviour. All persons who are planning to perpetrate honour killings should know that gallows await them," he said.

"We would like to state that honour killings have become commonplace in many parts of the country, particularly in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Often young couples who fall in love have to seek shelter in the police lines or protection homes to avoid the wrath of kangaroo courts," the bench said and quoted its judgment earlier this year.

The same bench had said, "There is nothing honourable in honour killings, and they are nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by bigoted persons with feudal minds."


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