Ojaank IAS Academy

OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

Khap Panchayat Killing and Honor

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Honour killing is described as the death of a relative, usually a female, who is seen to have brought shame to the family by activities such as inter-caste/inter-religious marriage. In 2015 alone, 251 honour murders were recorded in India, with the most of them occurring in the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, while they are also common in South India and the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

A khap is a group of villages that are linked together by caste and geography, and all boys and girls inside a khap are considered brothers or sisters. Leadership in Khap Panchayats is to be chosen on the basis of social standing, stature, age, gender, financial strength, and so on. These are not fully democratic committees, but a consultative process is followed publicly, and choices are acknowledged by the community under peer pressure to avoid social shame for failure to comply to the decisions. The natural justice principle is rarely respected.

Love weddings are considered taboo in places administered by Khap panchayats, and persons living in a Khap are not permitted to marry in the same gotra or even in any gotra from the same village. Social boycotts and penalties are the primary methods for enforcing Khap Panchayat directives, and events such as a Dalit girl committing suicide in Haryana after being reportedly gangraped on the instructions of the Khap Panchayat are not uncommon.

Honour killing breaches Articles 14, 15 (1&3), 19, 21 and 39 (f) of the Indian Constitution, as well as the right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Lacks empathy, love, compassion, tolerance, reasonable thinking capacity, emotional intelligence, and so forth. Punishment imposed by the Khap Panchayat undermines the credibility of institutions such as the police and the court.

Several Hindu organisations and Khap Panchayats issued fatwas prohibiting females from wearing specific clothing. Administration faces difficulties in dealing with moral policing. Such prohibitions violate the basic rights established in Articles 21 and 19 of the Indian Constitution, and they may communicate the false perception of Indian culture and represent a restrictive mindset on a worldwide scale.

The rigidity of the caste system, illiteracy and ignorance about rights, Khap Panchayat, and the danger of losing prestige and status in society are the key causes of honour killing.

The Law Commission prepared a draught bill in 2012 (in its Report No 242) to prohibit interference in marriage alliances and to address the issue of khap panchayats. In this draught, the Law Commission states that such informal groups would be treated as a ‘unlawful assembly,’ and decisions that amount to harassment, social boycott, discrimination, or incitement to violence should be punishable by a minimum sentence.

The Bill safeguards the couple from deportation and socioeconomic punishments, and it prohibits the village panchayat or other communal assembly, such as khap, from opposing the couple’s marriage. The Bill provides for the punishment of anyone engaged, including family members, who seek to persecute the couple or inflict serious injury, and the accused bears the burden of proving of innocence.

The media may play a significant role in denouncing such acts and raising public awareness about such horrible actions. Literacy may be utilised to combat this threat, and people should be made aware of the validity and authority of the Khap Panchayat, as well as the rules that govern it.

To guarantee that equality rights are followed, one or two women must be appointed to Khap Panchayats, and the state must prioritise initiatives and programmes that promote gender equity. The Maharashtra government issued and implemented the Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2016, which is a positive move toward putting a stop to such actions. Other states should learn from such an extraordinary measure.

Khap panchayats, sati, and triple talaq are plainly unacceptable cultural practises. Certain principles, such as equality and fairness, must be non-negotiable. The Justice Verma Committee Report also recommended that measures be put in place to monitor illegal, patriarchal village councils known as “Khap Panchayats” that sanction so-called “honour killings” and impose oppressive diktats such as prohibiting girls and women from wearing western clothes, using mobile phones, or venturing out unaccompanied.


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