Katara Murder Case: HC Upholds Life Term
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday upheld the life imprisonment of controversial UP politician D P Yadav’s son Vikas Yadav and two others in the 2002 Nitish Katara murder case, describing it as honour killing stemming from a deeply entrenched belief in the caste system.
Nitish was abducted and killed by Vikas, his cousin Vishal Yadav and co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan as they did not approve of the victim’s affair with Bharti, daughter of D P Yadav, since they belonged to different castes, the court said.
“The case of the prosecution squarely brings the murder of Nitish Katara within the meaning of the expression honour killing. Honour killing is a class of offences by itself. Its motivation stemming from a deeply entrenched belief in the caste system, it is completely unacceptable,” the Bench, headed by Justice Gita Mittal and Justice J R Midha, said. In its 1,193-page verdict, the Bench dealt with various issues raised by the prosecution and defence lawyers during the arguments and said twenty three incidents, relating to the case, formed the chain of circumstances, which is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The Bench also dismissed the convicts’ appeals against the conviction and has now fixed the pleas of state and Neelam Katara, the victim’s mother, for hearing on April 25, for deciding on the quantum of punishment. Neelam and the prosecution had filed appeals in the High Court simultaneously seeking the death penalty award to the convicts on the ground that the offence fell under the “rarest of rare” category.
Neelam said: “I am satisfied with the verdict both as a mother and a citizen.”