SC awards life term in honour killing case

NEW DELHI MAr 06,
Six years after the Karnataka High Court empathised with him as a “frustrated father” who killed his pregnant daughter to give vent to his bottled up emotions about her inter-caste marriage, the Supreme Court sentenced him to life imprisonment for first degree murder.
A Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and A.M. Khanwilkar found Gandi Doddabasappa, a native of Taranagar village in Karnataka, guilty of honour killing.
The convict fatally attacked his daughter, who was in a stage of advanced pregnancy, with a sickle in October 2003. Shilpa was alone, using the public toilet in the vicinity of her husband’s home, when her father cut her down for marrying beneath their caste.
Mother-in-law testifies
The sessions court had acquitted Doddabasappa. The court did not place trust in the testimony of the only trial witness who did not turn hostile, Shilpa’s mother-in-law, who heard her scream “father don’t… father” as she walked towards the murder scene to witness Doddabasappa coming out of the toilet with a bloodied sickle in his hand.
The trial court believed that the witness was exaggerating and discarded her version.
The High Court, however, set aside the verdict of acquittal, but found the father guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It awarded Doddabasappa 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. “Any father would certainly be frustrated in such a situation … all those bottled up emotions erupted on the day of the incident and he took the extreme step of killing his daughter,” the High Court said.
Doddabasappa then appealed in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court perused the forensic evidence to conclude that the depth and nature of the cut injury on Shilpa’s neck fortifies the view that the father intended to kill her, and her death was instantaneous.

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