Udumalpet honour killing: SC issues notice on appeal against acquittal of prime accused

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The March 2016 attack on Dalit activist Kausalya and her husband Shankar outside the Udumalpet bus stand had rattled the country. Video footage of the honour killing went viral on social media, leading to protests in the state.

The Supreme Court on Monday, September 7, issued notice in an appeal against the acquittal of the prime accused in the 2016 sensational Udumalpet honour killing case by the Madras high court.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari said that the case related to the killing of a Dalit youth by the family of a Caste Hindu girl for marrying him. Kausalya, who was 10 months into the marriage then, was also severely injured in the attack.

In December 2017, a Tiruppur sessions Court handed down a landmark judgement that came down on the blight of murder in the name of honour by sentencing the main accused Chinnasamy, father of Ms. Kausalya, along with five others to death. Two others were given double life terms and a five-year term, respectively. Ms. Kausalya’s mother Annalakshmi and three others were acquitted.

However, on June 22, the Madras High Court overturned the sessions court verdict and acquitted Chinnasamy and two others. The death sentences of the hired killers was commuted to 25 years in jail. The High Court had faulted the Prosecution for failing to prove conspiracy.

Expressing shock over the acquittal, Kausalya said it was a gross injustice to Shankar and vowed to continue her fight for the punishment of the accused. The apex court has taken up the case on the appeal filed by the Tamil Nadu government.

The Court has asked the array of parties to be amended so that the State of Tamil Nadu is made a party to the case. Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the appellant, sought a direction from the Court to prevent the accused from travelling abroad. However, the Court refused to pass such an order.

When Additional Advocate General for the State of Tamil Nadu Balaji Srinivasan sought for the case to be expedited, the Court observed that even service of the plea is yet to be completed.

The March 2016 attack on Dalit activist Kausalya and her husband Shankar outside the Udumalpet bus stand had rattled the country. Video footage of the honour killing went viral on social media, leading to protests in the state.

Kausalya went on to become the lead prosecution witness in the case against her parents and others for the murder of her husband.

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