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Honour Killing A Bane Or A Boon? Nonviolence doesn't always work - but violence never does...

Madge Micheels-Cyrus

Honor Killing refers to the killing of family members, mainly females, in order to keep up the family pride, which they are said to harm by doing any shameful act such as running away from the house, love marriage etc. Around 5000 people (mostly women) are being killed / beaten to death in the name of Honour Killing every year all over the world and India contributing to a large number of it. The shame is that the number of Honour Killings in India is increasing day by day and year to year, the reason being Love Marriages in most cases and the country needs not only to introduce but also implement stringent legislations to deal with this heinous crime. Honor Killing: Negative Aspects The act of honor killing has various negative aspects which not only affect the families of the victims but also the society at large. They are: The siblings of the victim may fear of being killed for any act of theirs and as a result might feel scared to do anything thus hampering their own growth. There may be a situation of unrest in the society. Minds of youngsters in the family may find honor killing as the only solution to get rid of any problem which involves women. It also leads to increase in the number of suicides committed. Honor killing also hampers the growth of status of women in the society, thus causing inequality. Statistical Data A study by India Democratic Womens Association shows the number of killings as approximately 900 in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, whereas the rest of the country adds to the number by another 300. A report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) states that 647 women were killed in the name of "honour" in 2009 - up by 13 per cent from 2008 when 574 such killings were reported. Also, in the northern states as high as 92% of the people disapprove of honor killing and related crimes, shows another study commissioned by national commission of women, which interviewed people from both, urban and rural areas. Reasons Low Marital infidelity Status Attempting For status Inter variation to obtain of women Pre-marital cast in a case divorce of from an love abusive Honor in the Killing society. sex marriage marriages husband

Nirupama Pathak, one of the names that hit the headlines in 2010, in national as well as international media. She was a 22-year-old journalist, reportedly three-month pregnant, who was found dead in the last week of April. Nirupamas family claimed that she committed suicide, but the post-mortem report showcased a different story altogether. According to the police, she was killed due to her being in love and adultery which resulted in her being pregnant. The best example is that of Ramayana, where Ravans sister, Surpnakha had done Gandharva Vivah with army chief Viduth Julvey in a place called Kalikey. Ravan took it as an insult to his family, so in order to maintain his respect, he killed her husband. Thus, honor killing is prevalent since ancient times and needs a full stop to be put to it. Honor Killing: Putting A Stop

Today, all the reasons stated above are well prevalent and common in daily lives. The society needs to understand that the country is far more modernized and open-minded as compared to a decade back. Merely, having pre-marital sex or opting for an inter cast love marriage does not snatch away the right to life of these people. It is no honor to kill such people mercilessly in the name of honor killing. Rather, a mature and well thaught decision shall be a better option. # A strict law should be made and implemented at the same time to protect women of our country from such deaths that are not called for. # Enforcement of harsh punishments should be there against anyone practicing this act. # Awareness should be created in minds of people, passing on a message that there is no honour in honor killing. # Education should be provided especially to people living in the rural parts of the country regarding this issue. # Protection should be made available to women who fear of being killed. # A strict action is necessary to be taken against Khap Panchayats. Conclusion At the end, it can be said that honor killing has definitely done more harm than good. The families need to understand that there is no honor in killing ones own child and that killing is not the only solution. In this 21st century it has to be understood that if a child of 18 years of age can be given a right to elect his own representative then he is smart enough to take his own personal life decisions and has the right to live. One of the steps taken against honor killing was on August 2nd, 2010, when Youth in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district came up with the idea of organising a "Lovers' Party" across the country to motivate lovers into standing united against caste councils, which are known to back honor killing. Therefore, honor killing is a grave sin and people practicing it should be given harsh punishment so that one should think twice before committing such crime. References # Murder in the Name of # Law relating to Women and # http://www.gendercide.org/case_honour.html Honor by Children by Rana Husseini Mamta Rao




LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA REPORT- Prevention of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances (in the name of Honour and Tradition): A Suggested Legal Framework. LATA SINGH CASE Pradeep Kumar Singh Case for Runaway Couple ARUMUGAM SERVAI JUDGEMENT 1. Khap Panchayats Khap Panchayats are a collective patriarchal body using its collective strength for repressive ends rather than democratic ones. The Khap panchayats use this power as extrajudicial bodies. Khap Panchayats are self styled decision makers. These traditional panchayats mobilize a large no of people on the basis of family kin, gotra, caste, community and village including persons from outside the local area. Since these panchayats are dominated by the powerful community it is highly patriarchal in nature. The research team had visited various Khap Panchayats meetings on the issue of Honour Killings and Gotra Marriages. The people in Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh say that Khaps have been a part

of their tradition and culture. It is a way of honoring their culture and the values their ancestors taught. The general observation in the various meetings observed by the Research team has been that Khap are mostly connected to the Jat Community. The Jat community is the dominating community of the region. They have had traditionally holding the power and also the land in the region. Even in the village panchayats their representation is the highest. Even in the constitutional process of the rule of law the jat community has consolidated power. They have consolidated the power through electoral wins. The present Khap Panchayats are mostly quasi political in nature and are being used as a tool to consolidate the power in the region. It is also the launching pad of politicians as by being an active member of the khap leads to wider acceptability and exposure to the society as a person dedicated to peoples causes. In various Khap Panchayat meetings the research team found out that the crowd was being controlled by few people and the people who controlled the meeting tried to infuse the pride by putting in slogans which was populist in nature and which got the crowd agitated. Slogans like brother and sister getting married is a blot on the society and such people should not be spared. Khap panchyat imposes its writ through social boycotts and fines and in most cases end up either killing or forcing the victims to commit suicide.All this is done in the name of brotherhood and its honour. It is due to the inherent weakness of democratically elected Panchayati Raj institutions,Khap panchayats have been powerful. Even the government has not done much to control their power. The 10-15 men who constitute a Khap settle disputes and control the lives of young people. Many village people also defend these caste panchayats as they deliver the verdict in one sitting whereas court cases drag for years.According to them ,in many cases innocent people get harassed in the court and by police.Here as everyone is known so they cross check everything to ensure neutrality. The Research team also found that these Khap Panchayats are a attempt to consolidate power and force the writ on lower castes. In many cases it has been found that the victim of violence are either the dalit families or people who are poor and landless. The Khap have also started asking for legitimacy from the government. In a letter written to the Prime Minister dated 19 March 2010 the Sarva Khap Swaroop Samiti of Shamli demanded that the courts should recognise the decisions taken by the Khap Panchayats. 2. Lesser Participation of Women in Khap Panchayats One of the stark reality which the Research team found out was that the Khap Panchayats are all men bodies having no representation of women. Even though many decisions taken in Khap Panchayats affect the lives of women but still they have no representation of women. Even the decisions taken by the Khaps are anti women. In the case of Satish and Kavita of Khedi Meham it was Kavita who was told to leave the house while Satish was allowed to live in the village. In case of Ravinder and Shilpa of Dharana village the Khap threatened the couple to divorce. Even they started putting pressure on Shilpa to marry according to their wishes. The couple when they defied the Khap diktat were threatened . In many cases the research team found out that Khap diktats were being used to threaten the women.

The glorification of Honour Killing by the Khaps has further marginalized women. The message has gone to such an extent that male members of the family can kill any girl who goes against the wishes of the family on the pretext of saving family honour. The real figure of subjugation of women will never be clear as many cases of honour killings in the family is passed on as suicides and the cremation is conducted without any investigation. The entire proof is wiped off by the families. The killing of Monika Dagar by her family members and the same being passed off as natural death is a classic case which shows how women are unsafe even in their families if the question comes to saving the so called family honour. The increased education among the women and their growing aspirations are coming in conflict with these patriarchal panchayats . Women exercising the choice of marriage are seen as a sin which should be ended by taking the life of the women. It is a writ and the fear is felt among the women that if they go against the diktats of the Khaps or the tradition advocated by khaps there is no way out. 3. Honour Killings Honour Killings have been reported from those areas the most where the Khap Panchayats are active. Since the last six years the Khap Panchayats have been providing the fuel and fodder for such heinous crimes. The public rhetoric and the diktats issued by them have certainly led to the polarization in the community. These groups though not directly involved in the crime have provided the catalytic support needed for growth of violent behavior. The khap members react very strongly in the meetings and issue judgments and orders which make the area tense and breeds violence. This can be evident that in the district where these panchayats have no presence the situation has remained normal in those districts. The worst affected districts in Haryana are Jhajjhar , Jind , Fatehabad and Rohtak. The worst affected districts in Uttar Pradesh are Meerut, Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar. It is a fact that most of the Khap Panchayats have happened in these areas. The study scrutinized 560 cases where couples have been threatened. From these 560 cases a total of 121 persons have been killed. From the 560 cases studied by study in the last four years 48 persons have been killed for Honour in Uttar Pradesh, 15 persons in Delhi, 41 persons in Haryana and 17 persons in other states. Honour Killings and honour related crimes have been reported from Haryana , Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh. The cases from the various states which were tabulated are as follows. HARYANA : PROFILE OF CASES Inter Caste Inter Religious Same Caste Same Gotra Others No of Cases 142 3 12 15 2 Percentage 81.6 1.71 6.89 8.62 1.14 Details of 174 Cases of Honour Crimes & Runaway Couple seeking Protection profiled by Study . In Haryana the percentage of inter caste marriages which were targeted was 81.6% whereas the the same gotra marriages where only 8.62%. PUNJAB : PROFILE OF CASES / 2007-2010 Inter Caste Inter Religious Same Caste Gotra Row Others No of Cases 248 0 37 0 1 Percentage 86.02 0 12.9 0 0.4

Out of the 248 cases of Honour Crimes and Runaway Couple seeking Protection. profiled by Study in Punjab 86.02% are in the inter caste nature. In Punjab the not a single case of same gotra marriage have been reported. UTTAR PRADESH : PROFILE OF CASES / 2007-2010 Inter Caste Inter Religious Same Caste Gotra Row Others No of Cases 39 6 1 2 5 Percentage 73.58 11.32 1.89 3.77 9.43 Out of the 248 cases of Honour Crimes and Runaway Couple seeking Protection . profiled by Study in Uttar Pradesh 73.58% are in the inter caste nature. The same gotra marriage is only 3.77%. It is very clear that the exact no of Honour Killing cannot be ascertained as many of these killings are reported in the data as murder cases. The National Crime Records Bureau reports Murders for the Love Affairs/ Sexual causes. This data is also an indicator of the Honour crimes happening in our society. The data is shown below KHAP PANCHAYATS AND SAGOTRA ROW Though the Khap Panchayats have been agitating and mobilizing on the gotra issue , the no of cases of violence/ honour killing has been more on the issue of the inter caste marriages. Honour Killings are less about Gotra issue and more about Inter Caste marriages. Inter Caste Inter Religious Same Caste Gotra Row Others No of Cases 465 14 55 18 8 Percentage 83.03 2.5 9.82 3.21 3.21 Among the 560 cases the study collected for its case studies 465 cases (83.03%) are pertaining to the cases of inter caste marriages. Gotra issue involves 3.2% of the cases. NO OF CASES COMPILED: PERCENTAGE WISE


Gotra issue is a sensitive issue and raising it as a campaign has helped the Khap to get mass support. It is one issue in which the public support is with the khap panchayats and this support the khap members are exploiting to consolidate power. It is now a ploy to deflect the debate from the honour killings and the illegal diktats issued by these groups. After the judgement delivered by a court in Karnal in the Manoj and Babli case the Khap Panchayats became more watchful. The put forward a new demand that the Khaps should be given legal sanctity to gather public opinion for their favour

they put forward the demand of amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act. They called for banning the same gotra marriages. In fact many of the Khap verdicts have happened against couples who are not from the same gotra. In fact most of the marriages which have been targeted by the Khap Panchayats are intercaste. The society which is highly patriarchal in nature believes in a way of living that is very rigid and is based on certain norms. These norms include the caste system which is prevalent in India at all levels. With the Caste System comes the concept of Gotra. Gotra is a lineage that is accredited to an individual at his birth. The fathers gotra is carried forward by the offspring, thus following the norms of a patriarchal society. Hence, two people belonging to the same gotra are not permitted to marry since they are considered as siblings under the concept of Exogamy. But in times of today where the societal norms are constantly changing, there is always a tiff between the ancient practices being followed and the modern liberal opinion of the youth. This has obviously resulted in a revolt by the practitioners of these ancient customs who believe in restoring it at any cost.If the village youth is found to act against the wishes of the elders in the village, they are punished to set an example for the others in the village. Most of the times, they are tortured and killed to restore their family name and honor of the community. Such incidents are mostly never reported which results in the convicted to move freely and carry on with similar tasks. A marriage within the gotra is one small aspects of the larger issue here. Similar to these are inter caste and inter religious marriages. These marriages also face equal oppositions from the so called creators of the societal norms. The caste system is religiously followed in all parts of India, be it small towns or big cities. It is common to see parental disapproval for marriages that are out of gotra, caste and religion. In a recent survey conducted by the by Hindustan Times in Haryana shows most people are against same gotra (sub-caste) marriages. The survey shows as many as 77 per cent of the respondents do not support same gotra marriages. The survey was carried out in Chandigarh, Rohtak, Jind, Bhiwani and Kurukshetra. Surprisingly, even in Chandigarh, 65 per cent of the respondents have opposed same gotra marriages. Thirty four per cent of the respondents have said that khap panchayats have the right to order the social boycott of a couple if it violates same gotra marriage rules. A Khap mahapanchayat was held at Garhmukteshwar, 60 km from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh to discuss the same gotra marriages. In this meeting the Bharitya Kisan Union leaders were present. They decided that such marriages will not be tolerated at any cost and the couples will be separated forcefully if they get married against their diktat. The khap panchayat also demanded an amendment in Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, disallowing marriages between same gotra. On May 14, 2010 a khap panchayat had issued death threat to a couple, who later married against their diktat. The panchayat had barred Jaivinder, a resident of Chithera village, from marrying Manisha of Bisnoli village, claiming their marriage will be against local societal norms. Although the boy and the girl belonged to different gotras, the panchayat ruled that as residents of Chithera consider girls belonging to Bhatti gotra as their sisters, Jaivinder could not marry Manisha who belongs to the Bhatti subcaste. Javinder belongs to Bainsla gotra. The panchayat had threatened to kill them if they went ahead with the marriage. On two occasions in the recent past, the panchayat had forcibly cancelled the marriage of local boys with Bhatti girls.

The Sarvjatiya-Sarvkhap Mahapanchayat held in Pai village of Haryana unanimously resolved to press the Centre and state governments to make amendments in the Hindu Marriage Act in conformity with age-old conventions being followed by various Khaps prohibiting marriages among girls and boys of same gotra or those living in the same village or villages located close to each other. Thus from the various Khap Panchayats meeting which have been closely followed by the Research Team it is evident that the protest against the same gotra issue is to defend their hold over the society and consolidate power. It is also a front to keep the age old traditions like the caste system intact. RUNAWAY COUPLES Cases of runaway couple being threatened have been reported from almost all the districts of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh. Most of the couple whose marriages have been threatened by their families hails from the cities and some from good families. From the case studies mentioned in the annexure it is very clear that violence against couples has not only been reported from rural areas but also from the cities. The High Court orders in hundreds of runaway marriages seeking protection, one comes to the conclusion that such cases of threatening and violence behavior is rampant in almost all sections of the society. The cases of runaway couple being threatened are not about Khap Panchayats but our deep ingrained caste behavior. If the records of the Haryana and Punjab High Court and the Delhi High Court are an indicator every day about 10-15 cases of runaway couples are heard and provided the cover of safety from the families who threaten to kill the couples. In many cases couples have reported violence even after the court protection. The main opposition which is seen in these cases are the caste conflict. The research team after close scrutiny of the cases found out that the opposition for such marriages come from the family of the girl. This further proves that the violence stems from the fact that the family honour is related with female members of the society. In a family if a girl opts for an inter caste marriage the family at once associate such a union with their honour. Once the marriage is associated with loss of honour in the society the family goes after the couple and tries to break the union by undertaking all sorts of violence and threats. Many couples are not able to escape the violence and meet death 5. INTER CASTE MARRIAGES The opposition to inter caste marriages is rampant across all strata and society. The reaction to the inter caste marriages are much stronger and violent when the girl marries a dalit or to a lower caste then her own. In cases of girls marrying in to the higher caste the reaction has been less violent. Data of Perpetrator of Violence in Out of the 560 cases Profiled by the Study: In 88.93% of the cases the girls family has been involved in the threatening of couples / or committing violence on them . STATE THE BIGGEST HINDRANCE IN NEGATING THE RIGHT OF CHOICE IN MARRIAGE The Honour Killings are on the rise as it is response from a rigid society in which couples are exercising the right to choice. With the state becoming a party to the exploitation of the couple ( with no proactive response) exercising choice it provides ground to for the mobilization of the caste and the community to interfere. Instead of becoming a private choice the choice itself becomes part of the larger debate in which the caste groups and khap panchayats can easily interfere. The people behind

the law enforcement also support it and the couple has no choice but to fall to their diktats. In cases where the couples dont have the means to fight this community attack they can become victim of this state supported violation of right. The right to choice of marriage is almost non existent and for the women it is illegal to even imagine it. There is a complete rejection of choice of the person concerned in relation to whom to marry. Even most of our laws mention about women rights but has no mention about the right to choice. This leads to criminalization of runaway couples (elopement, abduction, kidnapping) which are put on the men if he dares to be part of a women choice. Our legal system is a big hindrance to the right of choice. The marriage under the Special marriage act is very lengthy and cumbersome so that instead of enabling couples exercising choice it goes on to become a big hindrance and the couples have nowhere to go but to get married under the personal laws which are unable to provide the validity which a registered marriage in a court of law can provide. Thus the couples become victim of the push and pull and get caught in legal problems which are created by their own people. In most of the 415 cases which has been recorded from the Haryana and Punjab High Court for its case studies it is very clear that the state comes as a major hindrance in negating the right to choice. Though the Supreme Court and the various High Court have been laying down guidelines for streamlining such exercise of choice it doesnt have the desired effect until and unless the state legislates and provides the support. The real questions we need to ask today in the face of such heinous crimes are how the state can facilitate the exercise of choice. Till the state legislates or provides the necessary support for the right of choice the exploitation will continue. The state needs to facilitate the process of marriage becoming choice between two individuals. MARRIAGE AND CHOICE It is ironical that most of the honour killings are happening in the areas where the sex ratio is low and girls are being bought for marriages. One thing is quite clear that the skewed sex ratio will have more devastating affect over the women in these regions. They will be susceptible to various push and pulls of the society and thus marginalizing them. The women who will be few in number will be manipulated by the community and their will be a sort of competitive bidding. In a scenario where the Khap Panchayat are adamant to increase exclusion of certain gotras while marrying it will be increasingly difficult for boys to get married. To tackle the menace of honour killings and the criminalization of choice it is very important that the State removes the barriers and hindrances. Removal of such barriers will lead to greater support to individuals and couple whop may exercise their choice guaranteed under the law with facilitation from the state.


ROLE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES The role of the law enforcement agencies especially the police has been very dismal. In fact the police which also come from the same class of people who oppose this right to choice have become the part of the problem rather leading from the front in protection of fundamental rights. Out of the 300 policemen interviewed in Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh 81% agreed that Khap Panchyatas were raising the right issues. 85% agreed with Khap Panchayats on the issue of the Gotra. 70% of the respondents were against inter caste marriages and 62% reported that if inter caste marriage happens in their families they will react strongly. 75% agreed that killings for Honour are not right way to handle the situation. The police in cases of couple of runaway marriages fail to enforce the laws and the various Supreme Court guidelines. The Police fail to enforce the guidelines on arrest laid down by Supreme Court in JOGINDER KUMAR V STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH AIR 1994 SC 1349. The police also have strong guidelines in the case of Runaway Couples in Lata Singh Case, Fiaz Ahagner Case and also in Pradeep Kumar case in which the Haryana and Punjab High Court laid down clear guidelines while dealing with the case of runaway couples. Inspite of these guidelines the police go all out to register cases of kidnapping against such couples without verifying the facts. This leads to further victimization of the couples. After the registration of the cases of kidnapping they go forward with all their might to catch hold of the boy and put him behind bars and to inflict torture on both the couple on instruction from the parents. The couples are divided and have to go through a long and tedious process to save their marriage. The law enforcement agencies have failed to provide the necessary protection to couples. The protection which is a Fundamental Right under Article 21 has to be validated by the High Court or the district court for the police to act. Till the time this validation occurs the couple have to live a life under hiding. Those who cannot reach the High Court will be caught and violence heaped on them. Prosecutions of the people indulging in such killings need to be taken actively so that deterrents can be set up. The recent judgment by a Karnal district Court in the case of killing of Manoj and Babli is an example of how proper prosecution becomes a deterrent for people who indulge in such acts. Even

the statutory authorities have been unable to provide justice and protection to such couples and in this scenario the community panchayats are having centre stage. The police in many cases have played the role of a mute spectator (Case Studies). In many cases they could have saved the lives of the couple had they acted as mandated by the law. This deliration of duty needs to be investigated. Some of the cases where the law failed and the state became the hindrance are as follows : Case of Bhupinder Bhupinder Sherawat with Rajrani tied the knot in an arranged marriage but few family members were against it. Two of Rajranis cousins, were furious with their sister for daring to marry someone from their inherited village. While the couple were heading to a temple in Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi, to get married, these people opened fire at the couple. Bhupinder sustained six bullet injuries in his chest and Rajrani got two in her forehead. They survived but their friend Dharam succumbed to his injuries. FIRs under Sections 302 IPC (murder), 307 IPC (attempt to murder) and 102 IPC (criminal conspiracy) against them have failed against the four culprits. Out of four two were abscond and two were sent to behind the bar. Unexpectedly, Satyavan got parole in February last and are still on his fatal mission as to act as a deterrent and allegedly killed Bhupinders brother when he wa s returning home from his Najafgarh office. Despite this fact, the other accused also succeeded to get parole has threatened to eliminate the boys family and the couple. The Govt of NCT of Delhi approved the parole of the accused inspite of being aware that two accused are absconding and one accused killed just after coming out in parole. The couple are today in danger of being killed as all the four accused are out and absconding. They are continuing to threaten the couple. Law enforcement agency of our country must understand its responsibility when they deal with grave offences like honor killing and not to act in a habitual manner. These kinds of cases require urgent, instant attention and focus. Case of Gaurav Saini Gaurav Saini,(25) and Monika Dagar,(21) got married on 6th July 2009 at an Arya Samaj Temple, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi. Monikas brother Nitin Kumar filed a complaint at Sahhibabad police station, after which Gaurav spent 32 days in Dasna jail, U.P. on the charge of kidnapping. U.P. police with the help of Delhi police arrested and dragged Gaurav behind the bar. Without paying any attention to Monikas plea police arrested Gaurav on the basis of the charge of kidnapping a minor without verifying the age of Monika. After Monikas statem ent has been recorded under section 164 CrPC, Gaurav got bail from the Gaziabad Court after 32 Days. The Delhi High Court, on a Habeas Corpus filed by Gaurav Saini issued notice to UP Police and Delhi Police to produce Monika. The reply to the Delhi High Court Habeas Corpus notice came with news that Mionika died due to Tuberculosis the day Habeas Corpus. She was killed by the family and cremated the same day. It was only on Delhi High Court Orders the FIR was filed on 08/10/2009 having No 2053/09, u/s 166/167/342/120B IPC at PS Shahibabad, District Ghaziabad, UP. Inspite of a death happening the UP Police did not put Section 302 of IPC. It was only after the Delhi High Court told the Home Secretary to be present in person did the Uttar Pradesh Police got section 302 to be inserted. The accused got bail in a case of Murder in just ten days.

The Law failed Gaurav many times. Inspite of the couple showing credible proof the police went out of the way to arrest Gaurav. Inspite of Monika being legally wedded and being a major she was tortured and tormented to give wrong statement against Gaurav. The UP Police never wanted to file FIR against the Monica Family as it had been acting on behest of the family. Inspite of death happening the Police did not press for charges under section 302. In spite of Monika statement being made to the Magistrate u/s 164 Gaurav was kept behind bars for 32 days. His only fault was that he was excercising his right. This is a classic case where the Law enforcement agencies collide with parents of the girl and torture the couple. It can be said that in many cases it is the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for the trouble caused to the couple. Priyanka Case Priyanka and Sanjay of Daula village eloped on 24 June, 2010 as both of them were engaged in a love affair. Priyanka belonged to Brahmin community while Sanjay was from Dalit community a seven village strong panchayat was held at the boys house where the boys father and his brother were held hostage. Moreover the caste panchayat issued a diktat that if the boys family is unable to trace the whereabouts of Sanjay, then the Brahmin villagers will abduct the three girls from Dalit community. The decree forced Daula villagers to ask all women to leave the village. FIR has been lodged against forty people and investigation is going on. The Constitution of India guarantees equality of sexes and in fact grants special favors to women. Article 14 says that the government shall not disallow to any person equality before law or the equal protection of the laws. Article 15 declares that government shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground of sex. Article 15 (3) makes a exceptional provision enabling the State to make affirmative decisions in favor of women. Moreover, the government can pass special laws in favor of women. Above all, the Constitution imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen through Articles 15 (A) (e) to renounce the practices derogatory to the dignity of women. In India, the villages are still highly governed by ancient practices which are being passed on from centuries unknown. Honor of the family means to control, operate and regulate womens sexuality and freedom of movement by the male members of the family. The police never took action against people who made such statements. Case of Vedpal Mor : Ved Pal, a medical practitioner was in love with Sonia. Sonias parents didnt approve the match and chose another groom. However, a week before the wedding Sonia eloped with Ved Pal via a court registry. Sonias village Singwala happened to share a boundary with Veds village Mataur. According to the medieval Jat tradition, people living in adjoining villages belong to the same clan, regardless of their gotras, and are ruled by the principle of brotherhood or bhaichara. Marriage between two people in adjoining villages is thus thought of as incest, and prohibited by the panchayat. On March 19, 2009, at a meeting of Khap Panchayat Sonia and Ved Pal were sentenced to death. On June 22, 2009 as requested by Sonias parents Ved Pal and his family agreed to se nd Sonia to her home for a few days. After ten days elapsed with no word from his in-laws, Ved went to their village to get his wife back, but they refused to hand her over. On July 14, Sonia sent word through friends that she was being harassed, physically and mentally, by her family and that there was a threat to her life. Ved Pal then sought the help of the court again. He moved the High Court

that gave him police protection to fetch his wife. Armed with a Punjab and Haryana HC order, Ved Pal then set out to bring back Sonia on July 22, accompanied by four policemen and a court official. When he reached Sonias home her family refused to reveal her whereabouts. Meanwhile he spotted a mob of a hundred armed villagers approaching. Sensing trouble, Ved Pal locked himself in a room inside the house, but Sonias family broke open the door and dragged him out. The policemen fled, even as the mob lynched Ved Pal in full view of a court official and the villagers of Jind, leading to his death. Vedpal Mor was killed and lynched in front of a Police Force which had gone with him to protect him on the orders of the Haryana and Punjab High Court. None of the Police Officers where questioned or action taken against them for the failiure to protect Vedpals life. In month of July 2010 the SHO was fined a paltry sum of Rs 10,000 for his failiure to protect Vedpals life. SKEWED SEX RATIO AND INCREASING CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN. The skewed sex ratio in the area has led to the worsening of the status of women in this region. The areas affected by these community panchayats and honour killings have the worse sex ratio. The sex ratio has reached to such an extent that legislative measures to stabilize the sex ratio will take almost fifty years. In this period the position of women will be marginalized and will be treated as a precious commodity. Already the region has been witness to large scale trafficking of women from eastern India (Sex Ratio Chapter) to meet the marriage market demands. We are already facing the situation where women are being traded as commodities. Anything which becomes precious is guarded and present day women in these areas will be guarded and the community will fight over them. The crime situation among children and women is seeing a tremendous increase. It is ironical that most of the honour killings are happening in the areas where the sex ratio is low and girls are being bought for marriages. One thing is quite clear that the skewed sex ratio will have more devastating affect over the women in these regions. They will be susceptible to various push and pulls of the society and thus marginalizing them. The The women who will be few in number will be manipulated by the community and their will be a sort of competitive bidding. In a scenario where the Khap Panchayat are adamant to increase exclusion of certain gotras while marrying it will be increasingly difficult for boys to get married THE HINDU SUCCESSIONS ACT AND PROPERTY ISSUES The Hindu Succession Act amended in 2005 which mandated inheritance rights to daughters has led to greater insecurity among the land holding communities. This has led to a situation where the community feels that their daughters can bring in new stakeholders like a husband from another caste who can claim the right to the wifes claim. In an arranged marriage social pressures exist and the parents are assured that no such claim will come. In cases of contentious marriage there is always a lurking danger that the daughter can exercise the right of inheritance. This has led to the landed communities like the jats to devise means to negate the law on daughter inheritance by having very strict guidelines for the marriage. INCREASE OF EDUCATION The rise in education and development in the area and the growing urbanization have pitted a traditional generation against a new generation which exposed to the modern ways of life. This has

brought a huge clash of generation in which the elder generation is consolidating its power through the khap panchayats and the community groups. The education among the girls which is slowly but steadily percolating at the grass roots must be supported by laws which enable them to exercise their fundamental rights. The education and awareness among the women and girls need to be supported by laws which protect them from a rigid and stubborn society which just doesnt want to let go its hold over women. A hold which the society has exercised for centuries. The laws need to be strengthened and the law enforcement agency and the state should play a enabling role. When women want to go forward and assert their aspirations the state and the laws should facilitate their aspirations and protect them from the feudal set up which have kept women bonded. CHANGING THE MINDSET AND THE SOCIAL AWARENESS Out of the sample of 600 persons (which includes rural & urban ) interviewed 46% agreed that the Khaps were raising the right issues, 48% agreed with the Khap Panchayats on the gotra issues , 66% were against inter caste marriages , 54% agreed that they will react strongly to love marriages within their family, 92% disapproved the Honour Killings 71% disapproved the khap diktats and orders , 68% agreed that social mobilization is the key to fight feudal forces and 32% were in support for the new law to curb and combat Honour killings. A large no of respondents were in favor of rule of law and stated that in no terms such bodies should be allowed and the government needs to legislate banning such bodies if they indulge in illegal acts or against the rule of law. Even Article 19 provides us freedom for speech assembles and form associations for legal purposes. The lack of awareness of various guidelines issued by the courts on important issues has been felt and the government needs to provide such information on mass media so that laws are not manipulated by the law enforcement. There are voices of dissent in the communities where Honour Killing has been reported. These voices have to be provided the strength to fight such divisionary forces from within the community. The growth of civil society in these regions needs to be supported. The agencies like the women and child department , social welfare department and the State Womens Commissions should work on these issues proactively . THE NEED FOR THE LAW It has been increasingly felt that there is a need for a Law on Honour Killings / Honour Crimes which will act as a deterrent.. There are big gaps in the current existing laws which need to be plugged. The law should be supplemented by social mobilization needed to fight such crimes. Making the crime of honour killing a separate offence would help bring more clarity for law enforcement agencies. One of the proposals is to amend the Indian Evidence Act to put the burden of proof on the accused. Thus, the khap panchayat or the family members would be responsible for proving their innocence. There would be joint liability under the proposed new law. The khap panchayat (or any group ordering honour killings and the person who carries out the killing would be jointly liable for punishment. Presently there is no definition of Honour Killing/ crime or clarity. Since Honour Killings /Honour crimes are not separate crime and hence we dont have any data.Protection powers to the magistrate

at the District level . New law will provide mandate for special police cell in each district to provide protection to couples.New law comes with a institutional machinery and the required coordination of all stakeholders. It will also mandate the different state government and the Centre to work on sensitization of the law enforcement agencies. The new law will mandate social initiatives and awareness to curb such violence through social means.The present procedure of getting a marriage registered is a long process. The complete process takes about 45 days. During this period a couple may be vulnerable. Steps need to be taken to simplify the registration process. Having a special law can be deterrent. NEED TO FOCUS ON GENDER ISSUES Across Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab it has been increasingly felt that focus on gender issues are needed in the region. These are the regions where the patriarchal society has still maintained its hold over womens lives. The concept of women movement and womens rights have still to reach over these regions. It is imperative for the state to focus on such programmes and projects which help in gender equity. HONOUR CRIMES Honour crimes should include all the crimes against women which are perpetrated by the community. Besides the killings taking place in Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh and the threat received by couples in contentious marriages there are other crimes of Honour which happen on hundreds of hapless women across the country. Women are paraded naked, stripped, branded as witches , dayans , assaulted and tortured. Many a times this happens in full public view with the full participation of community. The community / crowd . The hapless victims are tortured and the perpetrators of the crimes never face the law. The law as it stand today is clearly deficient to deal with such crimes against women in which the whole community takes part. We need to strengthen laws and also to bring in new laws which enable the prosecution of the active members of the community. There are many cases of omen being branded witches, paraded naked, tortured in public which are very heinous offences of honour and hence need to be strengthened by a special law and to have stringent punishments. The National Crime Records Bureau documents 197 murders in 2005 , 186 murders in 2006 , 177 murders in 2007 and 175 murders in 2008 of murders due to which branding of women as witches.


Honour killing means killing a family or clan member in the name of family pride or protecting once familys honour. Such killings are sadly on the rise across the world as more and more couples marry outside their caste (as in the case of India) or against their families wises or having extra marital or pre-marital relationships. Hundreds, is not thousands of women are murdered by their families each year in the

name of family honour. Honourable Supreme Court also view honour killing as rarest of the rare case.

In this paper, I suggested the legislature to amend the related statues in order to prohibit such heinous crime and judiciary must take positive steps with regard to such cases. No logic, not a single argument can stand for this hateful offence. It is nothing but a atrocious joke with the young generation. Honour killing is considered to be a crime that threatens the unity and harmony of the community and Now,it is time to stamp out these barbaric & feudal practices which are a slur on humanity.


And much it pains my heart to think, what man has made of man.

You will definitely relate to William Wordsworth after listening the horrible i ncidents Im describing here: -

Case 1.Birbhumi District West Bengal A 17 years old Adivasi girl for the crime of having relationship with a boy of another community was stripped necked and made to walk for 89 km. to the accompaniment of beating drums and made MMS recording which were done circulated on the internet.

Case 2.New Delhi Nirupama Pathak, based journalist and Brahmin by cast wanted to marry her colleague of lower cast was held captive by her mother Sudha Pathak and later murdered through asphyxiation.

Case 3.Berlin 6 Muslim women were murdered by family members for different reason like not staying with 1 husband for living with open mindedness and independence and for marrying against familys wishes etc.

Case 4.Cumbria The decomposed baby of Shasilee Ahwed was found on the bank of Kent River. She was doing her A-level and wanted to be a lawyer. She was missing after complaining that her parents were trying to force into an arranged marriage.

These are only few examples of the dreadful face of society. In which one thing is common that all the victims are of young age and all the killers are there so called close ones may be there parent, husband and brother on villages.

This is not the result of any domestic violence or personal vexation, but this is killing for honour so called i.e. honour killing. It is gradually becoming a major concern with its cases rising each day in many countries where the world honoured seems to be losing its actual meaning.

DEFINATION Honour killing mean killing a family or clan member in the name of family pride on protecting ones family honour.

Honour killing is defined as a death that is avoided to the women of the family for marrying against the parents wishes, having extra-marital and pre-marital relationship, marrying within the same gotra or outsides ones cast or marrying a cousin from a different cast. So, honour killing are murders by families on family members of both males and females who were believed to have brought not only shame on the family name but also for society. No doubt in India it increasing day by day particularly in those areas where education has also changed the environment.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Honour killing is not newly originated social problem, but due to recent media attention the problem of honour killing has under increasing global scrutiny.

As per the historical background of Mexico from 150 BCE - 150 CE the punishment for female adultery was death by stoning or strangulation. According to interpretation of Leviticus and Deuteronomy the Halakha (Jewish Law) punishes certain sexual misconduct for both means women with capital punishment as approved by the court. Mathew gold stein has noted that honour killing where encouraged in ancient some, where male family members who did not take action against the female adulters in the family were actively persecuted.

Current Figure We can easily consider the terribleness of honour killing by these figures:-

1. According to United Nations population fund 5000 women and girls were
murders by family member each year.

2. In the Asian Age India has reported over1000 cases of honour killing every year
in which 900 incidents are reported from Haryana, Punjab and V.P. 3. According to data compiled by the Punjab police. Total 34 honour killing reported in the state between 2008 to 2010. 4. The study commissioned by national commission for women 326 cases documented over the past one year involved couples that entered into inter cast marriage. 5. In Pakistan these figures are so terrible. According to human rights commission in the name of Karo-Kari (local name of honour killing)
No. of victim is

1999 2000 2008 2009 *Pakistan Bureau

1000 women 245 women, 137 men 574 647

Hundreds, is not thousands of women and men are murdered or driven to suicide by their families each year in the name of honour. It is difficult to get precise no. on the phenomenon of honour killing the murders frequently go unreported, the perpetrator unpunished, and the concept of family honour justifies the act in the eyes of sum societies.

REASONS According to Marsha Freemen, director of International Womens Rights action watch at the Humphrey institute of public affairs at the university of Minnesoca most honour killing occur in the countries where the concept of women as a vessel of the family reputation pre-dominates marriage against FAMILIES WISHES is one aspect of honour killing.

There can be different motives behind such a ghastly act, some of which are:1. Marrying Against Social Structure

Examples:a) Marrying outside own caste or inter-caste marriage. b) Marrying within own clan or inter-gotra marriage.

c) Inter-Religious marriage.

2. Courtship

Courtship also has led to honour killing merely falling in love has also resulted in numerous cases of honour killing.

Examples:Khap Panchayat, karo-kari etc.

3. For Asserting Independence

For leaving a modern an independence existence and for making their own decisions and for not obeying their husbands or families wishes, many young women are killed every year among Hindus and Muslims.

4. To Control Female Sexuality

This is also a reason in which misconduct with a person against the familys consent or ext ra marital or pre-marital relationship has led to cold blooded murders.

5. To Prove Honour Bound

In distorted brand of social mobility and assertation, it seems that a section even among oppressed communities like Dalits and tribal too are indulging in honour crimes in a bid to prove that they are no less honour bound than the upper caste.

CONDITION ACROSS THE WORLD By various countries throughout the world reports submitted to the united nations commission on human rights so that honour killing occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and Syria.

In countries not submitting reports to the United Nations the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan and has been reported in India and Iraq.

HONOUR KILLING IN INDIA In India too the Plethora of cases registered in the recent past has worried many NGOs across the country who refer it as-Talibanisation of society.

The national commission for women has recently made a plea for shunning the term honour and coining another suitable term highlighting the heinousness of the crime.

We have had a tradition on honour killing. This tradition was first viewed in its most horrible form during the partition of the country in between the years 1947 to 1950. When many women where forcefully killed so that family honour could be preserved and after. So many decades as I said every year one thousands women and girls are murdered. The honour killing has become common in many parts of the country particularly Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu.

SUPREME COURTS VIEW Recently Punjab and Haryana High Court awarded death sentence to four accused on March 11, 2011. In the Manjob-Bubli. Honour killing case.

On May 9 in the significant ruling, the two judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising justice Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra held that honour killing within the rarest of rare cases deserving the death penalty. The bench delivered the ruling while upholding the live sentence of a man for killing his daughter as she had dishonoured the family. The court observed that it is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilised behaviour all person who are planning to perpetrate honour killing should know that the gallows await them. In the ruling Bhagwan Das V/s state (NCT) of Delhi. The bench declared honour killing as a nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by bigoted person with feudal minds. In bench opinion if someone is not happy with the behaviour of his daughter or other person who is in his relation or his caste; the maximum he can do is to cut off social relation with him or her.

The home ministry has made proposal to amend section 300 of IPC to define honour killing as a separate crime. There is also a proposal to amend the Evidence Act, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Special Marriage Act to check the menace of this honour killing through a draft bill-the Indian Penal Code and certain other laws (amendment bill 2010).

CONCLUSION Therefore, it may be concluded that society must take a serious note and should brought up issues before the local Panchayat to find a harmonious solution otherwise through proper legal action families must be punished.

We all know one molecule of water that is H2O has to hydrogen atoms bonded to single oxygen item. In nature hydrogen and oxygen are abundant, but they do not form water automatically there must be a chemical reaction between the two and for such a chemical reaction a certain amount of temperature and pressure etc. is required.

In the same way if we want a child according to our social and ideal scale, this will not happen automatically. They will be end product of better guidance with value based education, sense of responsibility, sense of social structure, ideals and priorities. So we cant made allegations against one side, they who are the part of honour killing are also so called accused as they think the couples are.

To prevent such a thing from happening in my opinion the steps should be taken are:

Firstly, the mentality of the people has to change, the must understand the actual meaning of honour. Honour killing is a violation of article 21 of the Constitution of India. There must be sum major amendments in IPC, Evidence Act and HMA as that there could be strict laws regarding honour killing. Like Punjab establishment of protection home/centre at district levels to provide protection to the inter-caste newly married couples. The government, international community, the NGOs and local community need to integrate and function as a unit. Having women in higher position of legal authority and in empowering women with dissent to speak out on these issues has a tremendous impact on halting.

Couple who went against kin to marry found hanging from tree
Posted on December 25, 2012 by NNLRJ INDIA


INDIAN EXPRESS The bodies of a young couple, who got married against the wishes of their parents four months ago, were found hanging from a tree on Monday at Ahmedwas Khera village in Bhiwani districts Loharu. Though the police are considering it to be a case of suicide, it is yet to rule out the possibility of foul play. Residents of the same village, while Tejpal (24) belonged to the Swarn Samaj, his wife Sushila (20) was a Dalit. The duo went missing on August 10 after their parents objected to their

marriage. They got married at an Arya Samaj temple at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and got their marriage registered on August 14. Following this, they started living at Pilani in Rajasthan. According to the police, Tejpal and Sushila had come to Ahmedwas on Sunday. Sushilas parents informed the police and raised apprehension about a clash between them and Tejpals family. Following this, the police provided protection to the couple and brought them to the police station. However, the couple gave in writing that they did not want police protection and were returning to Pilani. The couple left the police station on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, the police came to know that the couple was found hanging from a tree near the cremation ground in Ahmedwas. So far, it does not appear as a case of murder but the possibility cannot be ruled out. Prima facie it appears to be a case of suicide and since the boys family had not raised any suspicion so far, we are not considering it to be murder or honour killing, DSP Suresh Kumar said. The police said that Sushila had completed her higher secondary education and wanted to join the Haryana Police, for which she was taking coaching classes in Rajasthan. For the last few days, Tejpal and Sushila were visiting her school in Loharu for getting her 10+2 certificate. As the girls family had confiscated her educational certificates, Tejpal and Sushila had even moved an application before the Bhiwani sub-divisional magistrate for duplicate copies. The fate of their application is pending, said police. It appears to be a the case of suicide, but we are investigating the matter. I have spoken with both the families and it does not look like a case of honour killing. We are working on various theories, said Bhiwani SP Simardeep Singh. When contacted, Tejpals uncle Ravinder claimed there was no foul play involved in the case. Tejpal and Sushila got married against the wishes of their families. We had not harmed th em ever. We do not suspect any foul play. Since, they did not have any support from their parents and had no adequate means of earning, they may have committed suicide, he said. INDIAN EXPRESS
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Put prohibitory orders in place against Khap panchayats: SC

Posted on November 5, 2012 by NNLRJ INDIA


THE PIONEER The Supreme Court on Monday suggested its amicus curiae to devise a strict legal regime to contain honour killings, wherein the focus should be on enforcing prohibitory orders against khap panchayats rather than on securing the arrest of its members that often leads to law and order problems. The SC spoke of its mind following the report by amicus curiae senior advocate Raju Ramachandran and advocate Gaurav Agarwal. In their report, they urged the apex court to adopt harsh action including arrest of khap members in north India who, of late, conducted themselves as Taliban-like groups passing and executing judgment against innocent youths indulging i n same gotra/caste marriages. The bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai, however, felt the amicus curiaes suggestion may be impractical considering the huge influence wielded by khaps in certain pockets of north India. We are wondering how the order requiring arrest is to be implemented. At some areas it may cause law and order problems, the bench observed and suggested to consider the Law Commission report recommending prohibitory orders. The amicus report called for a set of preventive measures to be adopted by the state machinery and district police to ensure such khap meetings do not take place in the first place. Despite warning from the police if the members of khap panchayat still plan to hold a gathering, which may cause reasonable apprehension of harm to the couple, the SP of the district would be duty bound to cause arrest of the members of the khap panchayat. At present, khap members could easily get away despite instigating deaths of young boys and girls who marry out of their own wish due to the vacuum existing in law. A PIL filed by NGO

Shakti Vahini pointed out that killings of this nature are extra-judicial and khaps should be accountable for ordering such deaths not just in Haryana but in UP and Rajasthan as well. The Law Commission in August 2012 came up with a report on the subject framing a draft law on Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly Bill which provided for prohibitory orders, violation of which would entail action under the Indian Penal Code. The bench adopted a middle path asking the amicus to consider this suggestion while posting the matter for hearing next on November 22.
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Five condemned to death for India honour killing

Posted on October 5, 2012 by NNLRJ INDIA


AFP NEWS NEW DELHI Five members of a family in India were sentenced to death on Friday for the torture and brutal murder of a young couple from Delhi in a so-called honour killing two years ago. The parents, uncle, aunt and brother of Asha, a 19-year-old woman killed along with her boyfriend Yogesh in 2010, were all condemned to hang by additional sessions court judge Ramesh Kumar. Yogesh, a taxi driver, wanted to marry Asha, the daughter of a vegetable vendor, but the girls family was against the alliance because the boy belonged to a lower caste. India has seen an upsurge in such killings, which mainly involve young couples who marry outside their caste or against their relatives wishes and are murdered to protect what is seen as the familys reputation and pride. Autopsy reports revealed that the young couple had been tied with ropes, beaten with metal pipes and electrocuted, local media reports said. Medical examination had revealed that the two had died due to the thermoelectric shock from repeated electrocution, said the Indian Express newspaper. Public prosecutor P.K. Verma told AFP: All the five persons were handed the death penalty because it was proved beyond doubt that they tortured and killed the young boy and girl just because they were in love and wanted to marry. The murders were brutal and deliberate, Verma added. The convicted family can appeal against the decision in a higher court.

Last year, Indias Supreme Court said the death penalty should be given to those found guilty of honour killings, calling the crime a barbaric slur on the nation. It only allows the death penalty in what it calls the rarest of rare category. Ravi Kant, a New Delhi lawyer who has been fighting to bring in a law which will provide specific, severe penalties to curb such killings, welcomed the punishment handed out Friday by the city court. Such a punishment will certainly have a huge impact on the society. It wil l serve as a strong deterrent to one and all. The sentencing is also in line with the Supreme Court directive and it must be lauded, Kant told AFP. There are no official figures on honour killings, though an independent study in 2010 suggested that as many as 900 were being committed every year in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Many cases go unreported, with police and local politicians turning a blind eye to what some see as an acceptable form of traditional justice by families seeking to protect what they see as their honour. Prisoners can often languish for years on death row in India, with only one execution having taken place in the last 15 years that of a former security guard hanged in 2004 for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl. Related articles

2010 Delhi honour killing: 5 get death penalty (ibnlive.in.com)

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Posted on July 19, 2012 by NNLRJ INDIA


DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA NEW DELHI: Despite hundreds of couples marrying against social barriers being hounded out or killed at the behest ofKhap Panchayats in northern India, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana have prepared no legal framework to counter the menace; the Supreme Court was informed on Monday. UP government in its affidavit admitted that There was no specific legal framework to address the problem of honour killings but the Director General of Police and additional DGP have issued directions to ensure compliance with the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Rajasthan was relying on two circulars one issued in 2001 and another in 2006 to check activities of caste panchayats. Haryana, on the other hand, said it had put in place an action plan to combat honour killings. This information was collated by amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran from the affidavits filed by the states in response to a PIL by NGO Shakti Vahini seeking the apex courts intervention to protect couples, who were forced to annul their inter-caste marriages or killed for defiance. The Centre said it was actively planning to amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to make honour killing a specific offence. Ramachandrans report said there was a legislative vacuum in countering Khap Panchayats and honour killings dictated by them. Therefore, it would be appropriate for the Supreme Court to give appropriate directions to prevent atrocities in the name of honour and tradition, he said. He suggested that the states must be directed to immediately identify areas, where Khaps are active and the police officers in charge of these areas must take every step possible to protect any inter-caste marriages, including protection to the threatened couple. The amicus said the police must act in advance and prevent Khap Panchayat meetings aimed at taking decisions against couples in the name of honour and if required arrest key members to foil the gatherings. Haryana, which has seen several honour killings in the past, said its action plan mandated the police not to take action for alleged kidnapping of girl by a boy till the girls statement was recorded by a Magistrate. The action plan directs police to provide adequate security to couples and take strict action against those who harass, intimidate or harm couples in the name of honour, it said. The Law Commission has already circulated a proposed legislation Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliance) Bill, 2011 and sought public response. It proposes upto one-year imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine for those who participate in Khap meetings convened to condemn any inter-caste marriage. The Bill also proposed punishment of upto two years of imprisonment and Rs 20,000 fine if one was found taking steps to prevent such marriages; a three-year jail term and Rs 30,000 penalty for anyone resorting to criminal intimidation of such couples.