The Supreme Court has sentenced a man from the Lingayat community to life term for killing his nine-month pregnant daughter in Hosapete for marrying a ‘Nayak’ boy.
Relying on the statement of the victim’s mother-in-law and other circumstantial evidence, a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and A M Khanwilkar said it “leaves no manner of doubt that the accused not only had strong motive to kill his daughter but was responsible for doing so and excludes the probability of someone else being responsible for the death of Shilpa”.
The court dismissed the appeal filed by accused Gandi Doddabasappa alias Gandi Basavaraj. It enhanced the sentence of 10 years awarded to him by the Karnataka High Court to life term. The high court had held him guilty of a lesser offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, saying the “appellant was a frustrated father as his daughter married a boy from the lower caste”. The trial court had acquitted the man of all charges after rejecting the testimony of the victim’s mother-in-law.
Defence counsel senior advocate Kiran Suri contended that merely because the accused was unhappy about his daughter’s inter-caste marriage, that by itself cannot be the basis to infer motive. She also submitted the father of the boy Ravi Kumar had turned hostile and denied he had been warned about the accused planning to kill the deceased.
Additional Advocate General Devadutt Kamat, however, submitted that the crime was “a clear case of honour killing”. He relied upon the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Vikas Yadav vs State of UP (Nitish Katara murder case) wherein the top court held that strictest punishment must be given in case of honour killings. He also pointed out that the accused has not questioned the testimony of the victim’s mother-in-law who had said she heard Shilpa’s cries from the public toilet “Appa Beda Appa” and thereafter she saw the accused coming out of the public toilet with a blood-stained sickle on the fateful date of October 3, 2003, and throwing it in the nearby dung pit.
Shilpa, apprehending opposition to her marriage with Ravi, decided to elope and got married in 2002. After getting their marriage registered before the sub-registrar, Hosapete, they started living in Taranagar village with her in-laws.