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The Aarushi Talwar Murder Case: Honor Killing or Honour Killing


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Tanay Akash, Legal news Reporter

“Honour killing” a term developed in 1978 by a Dutch Turkey expert differentiating a special type of killing from other forms of killings generally known by customary killing or Killing people mostly women or girl on the name of saving family’s honour has become a global issue mostly for the developing and under developed countries.

The United Nations population fund (UNFPA) estimates that the annual worldwide number of honour killing victims as high as 5000 women. In some countries like Egypt, male or the husbands have been given legal right to beat and the worst part that they could even kill their wives. In one way or other such rules leads to one of the biggest social problem known as honour killing.

As far as India is concerned several cases of honour killing has been reported in the recent times becoming the news sensation. The most sensational case in this regard is the case of Aarushi Talvar murder case where the prime suspect were the “Mother and Father” who were alleged of killing of their daughter Aarushi along with the servant Hem raj being found in an illicit relationship.

The Complete Case Study

Aarushi Talwar daughter of Dr. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, a 13 year old Noida girl along with her servant Hem raj Banjade, a 45 years old domestic worker employed by her family got killed on the night of 15-16 May 2008 at the home of Aarushi. This unsolved murder case got a heavy media coverage as the major suspects were Dr. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar who were alleged for the death of both Aarushi and Hem raj. The murder mystery began when Aarushi’s body was found on 16th May, it was said that Hem raj was the prime suspect but on the next day the partially decomposed body of Hem raj was found on the terrace and the mystery got more complicated. According to the post-mortem reports, both Aarushi and Hem raj died between 12 am and 1 am and both were first attacked by a blunt weapon, which caused a ‘U/V- shaped’ scar and resulted in their death. Then their throats were slit with a sharp weapon. Later it was also alleged by the CBI team that 90% of the evidence were destroyed by the negligence of police.

The suspect lists remained fluctuating from previous servants to Krishna (an assistant at talwar’s dental clinic), Raj Kumar (Krishna’s friend) and Vijay Mandal (another friend of Krishna and driver of talwar’s neighbour). All the three were of Nepali origin and said to be recruited from the same person but polygraph test, psychological assessment, brain mapping and even Narco tests remained unconcluded and the case remained unsolved. Plea of alibies were also granted to these suspects. Rajesh Talwar was also released later for the lack of evidence.

The Court Verdict

On 25th of November the special CBI court held the parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar guilty for this double murder case and convicted the couple for murder and on 26 November 2013 sentenced them for life imprisonment for the twin murder. In January 2014, the Talwars challenged the decision in the Allahabad High Court. At last on 12th Oct. 2017, the High court of Allahabad acquitted the couple stating that the evidence presented by CBI was not satisfactory beyond reasonable doubt to be proved against the Talwars and therefore they must be given the benefit of doubt instead of conviction solely on the basis of suspicion. The theories given by CBI against Talwars were said to be as “impossible hypothesis” and “patently absurd”.

Question upon Justice

Parents got acquitted, servants got acquitted and probably the culprit may have got acquitted or out of the reach but the cry for justice remained same from the side of Aarushi, from the side of Hem raj and from the side of Khumkala (wife of hem raj). The question remains revolving that it is certain that double murder is committed and it was not a natural death, then there must be some convict. Whether the culprit is so clever or negligence has been committed from the side of Police or CBI, justice for victims got ruined. The whole scenario under the paddle of publicity, media trail and negligence saved the real culprits and in the name of justice there came a mystery. The case sought public attention via media and even over social media. Movies such as ‘Rahasya’ and ‘Talvar’ were made which were inspired by this case. Several writers gave the literary colours to this incident and paved the story accordingly.

Over all this double murder case more than Honor killing it looks like killing for honour but ultimately the question upon justice remains constant.


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