Calls for reports from Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and DGP
Taking suo motu judicial note of a number of caste-related killings in the name of ‘honour’ in the State, the Madras High Court on Tuesday called for reports from the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police on steps taken by them to prevent such crimes in compliance with a series of directions issued by the Supreme Court on March 27, 2018.
A Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad took up the suo motu public interest litigation petition and directed the officials to submit their reports by July 22. The judges wanted to know the preventive, remedial and punitive actions initiated by the State government to put an end to the menace of honour killings.
They directed Government Pleader Jayaprakash Narayan to take notices on behalf of the officials and make sure that their reports were filed on time. The judges remarked that the High Courts were bound to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court orders and therefore they had taken up the case suo motu in the wake of a recent death of a couple in Thoothukudi district.
When the GP said the Thoothukudi couple belonged to different categories of Scheduled Castes and it was difficult to say whether their murder would strictly fall under the definition of ‘honour killing,’ the judges said any murder that took place due to a marriage without the consent of the parents should be construed as honour killing.
They pointed out that the 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court was authored by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra who had begun the verdict saying, “When the ability to choose is crushed in the name of class honour and the person’s physical frame is treated with absolute indignity, a chilling effect dominates over the brains and bones of the society at large.”
Taking note of the viciousness of honour crimes and considering their catastrophic effect on society, the apex court had directed all State governments to take a series of preventive steps such as identifying villages and districts were such crimes were reported frequently and instruct the local police to be vigilant in cases of inter caste marriages.
The High Court now wanted to know whether all those directions had been complied with by the State government.
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