Honour Killing

Despite huge media attention, why does the practice of honour killing persists? What laws exist to prevent such incidences and punish individuals involved in such crimes? Examine. (200 Words)

It is the act of vengeance (usually death) committed against family members who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family,
Examining why this practice persists:
  1. Social : Patriarchal society where any dissent to male authority can result into such killings. Ex : Seeking a divorce without consent of the husband or extended family.
  2. Cultural : Culture of honour & shame where certain activities are seen as bringing shame to the family in eyes of community. Ex : Victims of rape.
  3. Legal : Laws which are lopsided lenient towards such derogatory practices further reassure perpetrators of honour killing. Ex : Decriminalization of marital rape under IPC. In addition no comprehensive law to prevent such crimes.
  4. Political : Vote bank politics which requires appeasement of leaders with patriarchal mind-set. Ex : leaders of Khap Panchayats.
  5. Mindset : Society attach very little value to female life & view them as property which enable them to do such killing.
  6. Ideological : We are facing severe shortage of reformers after the independence, so despite modernisation such practices continues.
  7. Lack of awareness amongst people regarding various provisions for their rights and punishments.
Laws which exist to prevent such practices :
  1. Section 302 of IPC : Perpetrators, family members & khap panchayats can be punished under it.
  2. Special Marriage Act 1954 : specially enacted to prevent atrocities arising out of marriages in India.
  3. Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act 2006 : to protect individual & constitutional rights of citizens.
  4. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 : to protect against violence occurring within the family.
  5. Article 14, 15.3, 19, 21. India has signed various international conventions like Human Rights, ICCPR, UN CEDAW
Plus there are SC guidelines like outlawing the honour killing by Khaps, treating such cases under rarest of rare cases and so award death penalty, not to arrest the couple based on reports filed by the family of other party if they are majors and not till a prejudicial statement is recorded, provisions for suspending district administration if they had advance knowledge and did nothing, provisions for police protection.
We need:
  • political representation of women for empowerment,
  • illegal Khaps be stamped out,
  • judicial reforms for swift justice delivery,
  • helpline with immediate action,
  • awareness via media like a documentary in Pakistan over this issue won Oscars, NH10,
  • NGOs acting as eye and ears,
  • include honour killing in Section 300 of IPC,
  • local leaders to act as agents of change.
Lately some khaps have liberalised a little by allowing caste exogamy with riders, but overall grip remains vice like.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top