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HONOR KILLING: A SACRED CRIME IN INDIA

Author: Sukriti, II Year of B.A.,LL.B from KIIT Law School.

Co-author: Palak Nigam, II Year of B.A.,LL.B from KIIT Law School.


INTRODUCTION

Honor killing is a cultural crime or practice that is widespread in societies that view women as the carriers of family honor. This would be the unethical behavior of family members who place caste and gotras over one's life. Every year, a large number of young people in India are killed as a result of 'Honor Killings. It’s because so-called honor killings are founded on the notion that women are things and objects, rather than human beings with rights and respect, which is firmly ingrained in Indian traditions. The majority of honor murders take place in India, where women are viewed as a conduit for the family's name. Honor murders are common in rural India, particularly in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. However, such occurrences are not limited to remote regions. They are also known in our capital and in southern states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 251 honor killings occurred in India in 2015, indicating a substantial increase in those who believe they are acting in defense of their families' dignity. In India, there have been over 300 incidents of honor killing documented in the previous three years. Under the political blessings of political parties primarily concerned with the vote banks of these communities and the assistance of the khap panchayat, honor killings and other crimes have flourished. Officials frequently encourage or overlook the use of abuse and cruelty against women due to discriminatory societal attitudes and extreme gender views. As a result, the vast majority of so-called honor killings go undetected, and those who commit them suffer little, if any, repercussions. At the national level, particular legislation is required. Specific legislation at the national level would not only give more trustworthy statistics, as well as a sense of urgency and efficacy in protecting couples at risk of honor crimes, but it would also show society's depth of religious and caste divisions.


WHAT IS HONOR KILLING? INTENTIONS BEHIND IT

Human Rights Watch defines, “Honor killing” as the acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against a female family member, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. Mostly, it involves the murder of a woman or girl by a male member of her family. The origin of honor killings can be traced from tribal customs. Women have scrutinized the property of male relatives and are seen to pacify the honor of the men to whim they ‘belong’. The bodies of women have been contemplated as the repositories of family honor. Honor killings occur where the notion of male status and family status is of particular importance and where women are considered responsible for upholding the honor of their family. A woman or a girl may face brutal retaliation from her relatives if she is accused or suspected of engaging in behavior that could blemish male or family status which could even result in violent death. The recognized dishonor is the result of the following behaviors or the suspicion of such behaviors:

  1. Dressing clothes which are against the custom of the community,

  2. Wanted to marry of her own choice and prevent arrange marriage,

  3. Engaging in sexual acts with either opposite or same gender.


Intentions for Honor Killing

  1. The reasons for honor killing up to 3% are gotra according to the Supreme Court and the remaining 97% are faith and other motives.

  2. In the Khap Panchayat, the absence of the official bodies as a panchayat smiti or a legal assembly leads to the callous administration of the unlawful panchayat.

  3. The basic reason for the increase of crimes is the illiteracy and lack of awareness of rights to freedom and constitutional rights to safeguard their protection from exploitation and also the risk of losing reputation and respect in society.

  4. Honor killing is volatile of Article 14, 15(1) & (3), 19, 21, and 39(f) of the Indian constitution.


KHAP PANCHAYAT

Khap Panchayats are the ego-manifested leaders of caste courts in a village. In the medieval era, khap panchayat was an endogamous, gotra-centric clannish body, became a powerful organization in the region around Delhi in the face of the fragile existence of law and order as a result of the repeated incursion of foreign invaders in that belt. The khap leaders bear supremacy and power within their caste group as a steward of honor. The control of khap panchayat must be abolished so the villages can help to resolve matters.

Is a different caste has different customs where a male or female cannot marry another male or female of distinctive groups? The endogamy principle implies the rule that proscribes marriage to individuals from the same race, region, status, or another social gathering. Many people assert that its main work is based on a permanent stuffy part of Hindu culture that would not change. This type of intuition provides consistency for the institution in our general public of khap panchayat.


The truth about Khap

  1. In Laxmi Kahhwaha vs. The Rajasthan State, a PIL has been filed in Rajasthan High court, focusing the court’s attention to unconstitutional panchayat status administration on the weaker section of the population especially women. According to court observation, there has no position to pass social blacklists or impose any fine on someone and neglect the basic rights of a person.

  2. The Supreme Court has punished the three people that are accused of honor killing the six people in the case of UP vs. Krishna Master.


PROVISIONS IN THE INDIAN LAW

Sections 299–304: Any individual found guilty of murder or culpable homicide that does not amount to murder is sentenced to death. Murder is punishable by life in jail or death, as well as a monetary fine. The penalty for non-murder culpable homicide is life in prison or up to ten years in jail, plus a fine.

  1. Section 34 -35: Penalizes multiple-person illegal conduct committed in service of a single goal.

  2. Section 307: Penalties include death threats, as well as up to ten years in jail and a fine. If a person is wounded, the penalty can be as severe as life in jail.

  3. Section 120A and 120B: Everyone who is a part of a criminal conspiracy should be punished.

  4. Sections 107116: Abetting killings, including murder and culpable homicide, are punishable.


REFORMS SUGGESTED

  1. Prevention of Crimes in the Name of ‘Honor’ and Tradition Bill, 2010- The Supreme Court ruled that meddling in an adult couple’s marriage decision is unconstitutional for parents and khap panchayats. The new ruling upholds the Supreme Court's 2010 mandate that the government take efforts to prevent honor killings.

  2. Implementation of a full, stand-alone piece of legislation- The subsisting provisions in the IPC are scarce in dealing with honor killing mentioned by the planning commission of women and child’s rights in the 12th five-year plan. The board will penalize anybody who publicly praises or idolizes anyone who harasses or kills in the name of honor.

  3. An amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, not allowing same gotra marriage.


CONCLUSION

The elimination of misconceptions in people's thoughts is a major part of the answer to this problem. They must be taught about the terms of the Hindu Marriage Act, as well as the types of weddings that are considered invalid. The case of Shakti Vahini v. Union of India, 2018, was a landmark decision in which Justice Dipak Misra said a proverb, “Liberty, taken in its practical sense, implies the right to choose.” Without a doubt, people's attitudes and societies have evolved in many ways, yet the roots of the past remain in people's thoughts, causing their behavior to fluctuate and defy their own remarks at times. The right to live in freedom must be constantly and passionately protected in order for it to grow in strength and splendor. Bypassing the Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honor and Tradition Bill, 2019, the Rajasthan government implemented severe restrictions and modifications. To save the honor of a family, honor killing is done but in killing any person there is no honor. For killing the women, ‘Religion’ and ‘culture’ cannot be taken as an excuse because religion and the laws which procure from it are always personalized expositions. On the basis of morality or honor, no culture has the right to kill and harm women. The freedom of belief does not give freedom to kill. The Right to life with dignity and equality is given to everyone. Hence existing laws are the only antidote to such unacceptable and dishonorable practices.