Chandigarh, October 29: The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the director general of police (DGP), Haryana, to apprise the court of number of honour killing cases registered in the state in which investigation or trial is pending. 

The High Court also asked the DGP to spell out the steps taken for securing fast track investigation and fast track trial of such cases as well as steps taken for protection of the survivor-wife or the husband and other important witnesses in such cases.

The DGP has been asked to file an affidavit on pendency of honour killing cases by November 10, the Hindustan Times reported.

The order was passed by high court bench of justice Arun Kumar Tyagi in an alleged honour killing case registered in June 2018 in Fatehabad. The bench was hearing bail plea of one of the accused during which it came to light that initially the case of abduction of Sunita Rani and Dharambir was lodged and the latter was subsequently murdered by the persons who had abducted him.

Sunita in her statement before the judicial magistrate had named the accused persons twice. Custody of Sunita who would have been aggrieved by the murder continued with her father/other family members and no efforts appear to have been made for her protection despite the fact that she was an important witness against the accused or most of whom were her relatives, the bench observed.

As per the record, 15 accused were involved in the case and only 12 have been arrested so far. The court noted that it is also not clear whether the three persons have been declared proclaimed offenders. 

Also, there is no mention of the role of father, brother (if any), and other family members be in the murder, the bench observed, adding that the chargesheet was initially filed against six accused in September 2018 and supplementary chargesheet against four accused in February 2019 while the third chargesheet against two persons in May 2019. Out of 12 accused chargesheeted by the police, 10 have been granted bail and only one prosecution witness out of 44 have been examined till date, it recorded.

The court said cases involving honour killing require fast track investigation by Special Investigation Teams having members with requisite expertise without any undue delay in investigation and unwarranted sympathy with the offenders. The prosecution also needs to take steps to protect life of husband and wife and other important witnesses in completion of the chain of circumstantial evidence and nab the accused. The trial should also be fast tracked in such cases, it added.

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