NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the bail granted by the Rajasthan High Court to a man accused in an honour killing case in which a Kerala youth was shot dead in 2017 allegedly at the instance of his in-laws for marrying a Jaipur-based girl belonging to another caste.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana termed as "unsustainable" the bail granted to accused Mukesh Choudhary, brother-in-law of deceased Amit Nair, and asked him to surrender before the lower court which will have to conclude the trial in the case within a year.
"Taking into consideration the nature of the offence, it is appropriate that the trial be concluded at the earliest. The trial court shall therefore make all efforts to conclude the trial and dispose of the case as expeditiously as possible but in any event not later than one year from the date of receipt of a copy of this order," said the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy.
The CJI referred to an earlier order of the apex court while cancelling the bail of the brother-in-law of the deceased and said, "the documents already taken note by this Court iindicates that there is prima facie material against the respondent No.2 (Manoj Choudhary)".
The apex court rejected the submission of the accused that the prime witness, the wife of the deceased, has been examined during the trial and hence he may be granted bail in the case.
The top court said the statement of the widow of the victim was not the evidence in its entirety.
"Further, merely classifying the appellant (Mamta Nair as the principal star witness and referring to her statement is of no consequence since the entire evidence will have to be assessed by the Sessions Court before arriving at a conclusion," it said.
If that be the position then the apex court at an earlier instance had taken note of all aspects and had arrived at the conclusion that there is prima facie material against the accused, the judgement said.
"We are of the considered opinion that the order dated December 1, 2020 by the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan, Bench at Jaipur, impugned herein is not sustainable. The same is accordingly set aside and the bail granted to respondent No.2 is cancelled. We, therefore, direct the respondent No.2 Mukesh Chaudhary to surrender before the Court"," it said.
The top court, however, made clear that it has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case and the trial court shall consider the case being uninfluenced by any of it's observations.
It noted that 21 out 47 witnesses have been examined so far and directed that the trial be concluded in a year.
The order cancelling the bail of Mukesh Chaudhary came on a plea of his sister, Mamta Nair who had married against the wishes of her parents in August 2015.
Mamta, a Jaipur-based girl, had married Amit, a Nair from Kerala and a friend of Mukesh Choudhary.
Two years later in May 2017, Jeewanram Chaudhary and Bhagwani Devi, parents of the girl, allegedly orchestrated their son-in-law Amit Nair's murder in Jaipur.
The police alleged that the parents of the woman entered her residence along with an unknown accomplice who shot Amit and a second accomplice waited in a car outside.
The FIR was lodged by Amit's mother Rama Devi in Jaipur on May 17, 2017, under sections 452 (house trespass), 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
Amit had studied civil engineering and started a construction business while Mamta is an LL.B graduate and had interned with an NGO.