New Delhi: Right to choose one's life partner is a fundamental right, the Delhi High Court today said while expressing concern over “malaise” of honour killing stemming from a “deeply entrenched” belief in caste system prevalent even in the highest class of the society.
“The right to choose your life partner or whom you associate with is a fundamental right, it is an integral part of the right to life,” a bench of justices Gita Mittal and J R Midha said.
It also said that an individual's privacy of marriage and dignity are essential parts of right to life guaranteed under the Constitution and the view has been upheld in various judicial pronouncements.
While holding that murder of Nitish Katara comes within the ambit of the expression honour killing, the bench said that the case manifests how such malaise is prevalent in the highest class of the society.
“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. It needs serious examination as to why such murders are not categorized as separate offences in the penal provision,” it said.
“The instant case manifests that even in a household belonging to the highest class in society, (one in which you can make day trips with friends from Ghaziabad to Mumbai just to celebrate a birthday, own multiple businesses and properties, luxury vehicle etc.) what can happen to even a young, educated, articulate daughter if she attempted to break away from the conventional caste confines and explored a lifetime alliance with a member of another caste. Especially one who was also perceived to be of a lesser economic status,” it said.
The court made the observations while upholding the conviction of controversial UP politician D P Yadav's son Vikas and two others in the 12-year-old Nitish Katara murder case.
Nitish, belonging to Katara caste, was abuducted and killed by Vikas, his cousin Vishal Yadav and co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan as they did not approve victim's affair with Bharti, daughter of D P Yadav, as they belonged to different castes, the court said.