The apex court however modified the award of 30 year jail term, handed down to the Yadavs by the Delhi High Court, saying that the 25 year imprisonment for the offence of murder and five year jail term for causing destruction of evidence, would run concurrently and not consecutively.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan also scaled down the jail term of 25 years to 20 years to be awarded to third co-convict Sukhdev Pehalwan in the case by holding that the imprisonment for separate offences would not run consecutively but concurrently.
“The appeals (of Yadavs and Pehalwan) are disposed of with the singular modification in the sentence i.e. the sentence under Section 201/34 IPC shall run concurrently. Needless to say, all other sentences and directions will remain intact,” the bench in its 93-page judgement said.
The bench has already dismissed the appeals against their convictions in the case for kidnapping Katara from a marriage party on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 before killing him for his alleged affair with Bharti Yadav, sister of Vikas.
The apex court had concurred with the findings of the High Court that the offence fell under the category of honour killing, deserving harsh punishment, in order to send across a strong message to the possible offenders.
The bench rejected the contention that the High Court erred in fixing the jail term of 30 years in case of Yadav brothers and 25 years for Pehalwan in the case.
“In the instant case, the High Court has thought it appropriate instead of imposing death sentence to impose the sentence as it has done. Therefore, the sentence imposed by the High Court cannot be found fault on that score,” the bench said. (More) MNL PKS SJK RKS ARC