Khap Panchayat:“Killing for Honour or for The Ego”

Khap Panchayat:“Killing For Honour Or For  The Ego”

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवता : II

यत्रेतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफला :क्रिया : II

It is well said by Indian philosophers (the Rishis) considered that the seeds of divinity grow and blossom in a truly cultured society where women are given due respect and equal opportunities of rise and dignity.[1] It is still present in the developing or developed society: Questionable?  21st century known for the well developed society where everyone has their own way of life , whether it is related to the food, dress up, retreating, education, prestige, etc. Today there is one more condition which is not as a daily going matter but require most concern towards it , that is “THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN” about their life, dignity, liberty, right to choice, and more than it . It is applause able matter or feel shame it is on the particular person who will take it as according to his/her views. But Can it taken as up to one’s necessity  or towards whole society as hallmark.

Whether Shamefulness of the people or their(who favour honour killing ) pride it should be on the whole democratic Janta ( PEOPLE who known for the people ,by the people and of the people) for Honour killing .

A well-dignified human being puts all his efforts for acquiring the prestige, fame and a position in the society, treat well  everyone according to various situations. But when this prestige , fame , reputation in the society is going to be ruin or finish  in a few seconds, due to did of someone(girl member of the family), results a 29-year-old youth dragged his sister out on the street and cut off her head with one stroke of the sword.[2] For the protection of the honour of the family to be as Precedent so no one dare to do it again, it is valid step to result as such. I think the position was far better in the Vedic period where the woman (Mahadevi: Parvati) was respected more than the man,  The reason in itself have proud ,to defeat Tarakasura , a demon only possible through the lord Shiva- Parvati’s son Kartikeyan, for which Devi Parvati prayed the Lord Shiva to get married , her powers of penance such , she soon gave up all food, water or even air , never noticed anyone.[3]   Goddess Kali portrays the destructive energy, Durga the protective, Lakshmi the nourishing, and Saraswati the creative.  Women had a very significant position in our ancient Indian society. In fact they were superior to men. There are literary evidences to suggest that woman had power which could destroy kingdoms and mighty rulers.

Honour Killing: Unfair Practice

In Honour Killing , the dishonour of the family or community leads to the murder of a member of a family or social group by the others members, dishonour  due to marrying inter-caste[4], intra-caste, in-relationship with other , rape, or abduction are reason to dishonour. In India, it is mostly in Northern India, mainly in the Punjab , Rajasthan, Haryana and Bihar. It is true that every present has a past, here past was not brutal as today w.r.t honour killing, it has been continuing since the partition of the India in between the years 1947 and 1950 when many women  were forcefully killed so that family honour could be preserved. It was a time , where a lot of forced marriages, which caused women from India to marry men from Pakistan and vice-versa. And then there was a search to hunt down these women who were forced to marry from another country and another religion and when they returned home, they were killed in that manner to preserve the honour.[5] That was the need at that time, situation was fully different, they had no other choice, but today what people are doing in the name of the honour is worse.

The country is known for the development, improvement in each and every field, as such infrastructure, technology, transportation, etc but would they really work if the status of the cultural, societal, as such where still problem of equality, freedom rights, right to life. Women are facing inequality w.r.t to the every field, accepted or not but still present, even in the honour killing too.

The reason behind honour killing is undemocratic form of panchayat ‘Khap Panchayat’. Every village has its own Panchayat or council. Whenever there is a problem or dispute in

the village, Khap Panchayat or Caste Council covers 84 villages. The Khap Panchayats have unwritten laws, and their decisions are clearly illegal and extra-consitutional. The Khap Panchayat is a creation of the Jats. Each caste has a seperate caste council and a leader for every gotra or lineage.[6] Where it has written in the constitution that result to fall in love is Murder, or there is no other way to resolve it to get the honour, it’s really a honour of someone.[7]  There are many reason behind it , which are not such hard to cure , by the contribution and analysis the various situation easily get solved. Even here also one can easily get the straight instance of inequality and cruelty towards the women and about her rights.

Reasons to Honour Killing

v  Stratification: Sociologist believes that the honour killing continues to take place is because of the continued rigidity of the caste system. Hence in the fear of losing the caste status, which they gain many benefits, makes them commit this heinous crime.

v  Mentality: The mentality of the people till now such that they will not be ready to accept the marriages which have taken place in the same gotra or outside.[8]  The society still negatives the right of choice in marriage. Even the honour killing rises where choice is strictly prohibited. There is no valid reason inspite vague view that for mobilization of the caste and restrict to other community to interfere.[9]

And especially for the women it is illegal to right to choice of marriage even imagine it. The right of marriage of own choice today results to a head of a sister in the brother’s hand.

v  Lack in Governance: The root of the cause for the increase of it is because the formal governance has not been able to reach the rural areas. It is not wrong to say that for better development on should start from zero this progress will never ever defeat in the future, the focus for the development of the country very rare in an according to present demands.

v  Khap Panchayat: The absence of the formal institutions as panchayat Smiti or a constitution gathering leads to the brutal governance of the illegal and extra-constitutionalized panchayat. It is not true that the role of the Khap Panchayat in the past is also as same as today, various judgments given by them were for the betterment of the society but it was good at that time beside no strict rule to abolish the wrongs but today situation, position of the country is different everyone has same rights as other even a right to animals too, if anyone will prohibit he/she will be punished. And at present the matter is related to the right of life of human being. Khap Panchayats were primarily called upon by the affluent and upper caste people who desired to consolidate their power and position way back in 14th century India. They have become highly male-dominated.

If one supports this constructive approach of the past, a question naturally arises: why the same caste Panchayats is giving such regressive judgments now? In spite of being illegal bodies, they are functioning openly and violating law and order of the country. From where are they deriving so much of power? Why they are not scared of police and law? We cannot forget our past while living in the present. But while doing so, we should be governed by reason. There has to be an end to a blatant violation of the basic rights of the people sanctified by the law of the land. However, strangely, these Khap Panchayats are rearing their ugly heads in the 21st century with the government not doing too much to curb the menace, which threatens to escalate beyond any sort of logic behind it.[10]

v  Sex ratio: The increase in the difference in sex ratio is reason to it. Due to which they used to marry outside the caste or gotra. Honour killing are happening in the area where the sex ratio is low and girls are being bought for marriages.[11] Girls are treated as commodities To understand both the timing and inten­sification of Khap Panchayat activity against various types of marriages and the virulent nature of the response, one has to look beyond surface explanations offered in terms of violation of customary norms and interpreted as violations of the community’s honour. One important ex­planation may lie in the gender imbalance in the society signified by the very low sex ratios which are being further exacerbated by the fewer number of girls being born in the region. In Haryana and in western UP, the Jat caste which dominates the region is suffering especially from what demographers call a “male marriage squeeze”. With sex ratios in the low 800s, there is an accumulated male marriage squeeze; as smaller female cohorts are born and there are more men left unmarried in preceding and new cohorts, the greater the marriage imbalance. In Haryana, currently, at least one in every four men stands to remain unmarried and may have to resort to bringing a bride from Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and a myriad other states.

v  Illiteracy : Unknown about the  rights which are made to protect them in our constitution incapacity due to lack in education. The honour crime  violates Article 14, 15 (1) & (3) 19, 21 and 39 (f) of the Constitution of India. It is against various international commitments of India. It is against the spirit of the UDHR and ICCPR. Shamefully, even today there is no legal definition of honour crime in India. In the Indian Penal Code, penalties for such crime find ground in sections 299-304, 307, 308, 120A and B, 107-116, 34 and 35.

v  Politician future: Reason to protect  Khap Panchayat by politician is  mostly for their own future votes because majority in that areas  are  ironically basis for their livelihoods. Member of Parliaments’ (MPs) like Naveen Jindal and Chautala who pretend to take these Khaps seriously, actually supports them. These Kangaroo Courts function in inhumane, illegal and arbitrary manner.

v  Inter, intra-caste marriage:  Love in itself is considered as a social crime. Here reputation and ideals of once as draconian who will not allow that marriages.

v  Status : A person’s ascribed status is more important than the achieved status.

v   Prestige of every caste: it is not limited to the higher caste but in a section even among oppressed communities like Dalit’s and tribal too are indulging in “honour” crimes in a bid to prove that they are no less “honour bound” than the upper caste.

v  Decision by male community.

v   “Murder is born of love, and love attains the greatest intensity in murder” says Octave Mirbeau.[12] The reason behind honour killings is indeed love, love for the extremity of

religion, the sanctity of tradition.

Restrict to Talibanization

There is a misconception that is limited to the rural area but it is wrong to say as isolated to rural area. it has believed that rural people for past pride usually involve in the honour killing but one will be so ashamed when it is present in the well developed urban areas, where father or whole family is well educated but only due to effect on the fame and reputation of the family in society , these well-educated family is turned into the talibanization.

Violation of the rights, all the provisions are worthless to social evils.  It is still strange that, the National Crime Records Bureau does not able to collect the  separate data on honour killings.  But various questions related to it are still in the queue , waiting for answers or it will be as such  in position where the innocence of victim people is made invisible  without any outline that something has happened in a minute before, where the victim is treated as  he/she is  never lived or not ever on the earth. Whether laws of the India Constitution validate to play with blood of the innocent. The law which play with one’s emotion, will not be a law , it is against his/her rights. How can one small groups ( Khap Panchayat ) has right to hold rest of the country through demand or order by ransom in the democratic country? Its pride of where, in which ‘honour’ preservation stands or calculate or achieved by pay to death. It is save of what, either Pride of one, to show power, authority over others or ‘Honour’. In real it is nothing to deal with keep safe honour but only for Ego.

That is how one has to suffer by others to protect the society and it development, then under develop is far better than the developed form through heinous crime. The position was far better in the Vedic period where at least women and everyone has a right to express their views to do something own choice.[13]

Law and honour killing

v  In Bachan singh v. State of Punjab[14] and Maachi singh v. State of Punjab[15] rendered the decision of death penalty, or sentence due to departure from the principles   which are firmly entrenched in our the criminal jurisprudence

Bhagwan Das V/s state (NCT) of Delhi[16], 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.”

Smt. Laxmi Kachhwaha vs. The state of Rajasthan (1999) a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Rajasthan High Court, drawing the attention of the Court to illegal regimes of Caste Panchayats on the weaker-sections of the  concerned communities, especially on women. The court observed that these Panchayats had no jurisdiction whatsoever to pass social boycott order, or impose fine on anyone and to violate the basic rights of an individual. It ordered the State authorities to take steps for preventing the abuse of social influence by restraining such Panchayats from functioning and ensuring arrest and punishment to its members.

v  For implementing this order, strict guidelines were issued by the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission, in its communication letter (No.P6 (69) nodal/state government/circular/2000/2102-2140 dated April 27, 2001), to the higher police authorities of the state. It directed the administration to collect the record of the Panchas participating in the illegal Khap Panchayats and to proceed against them under the National Safety Laws. The names of such persons should be enlisted in the Black list and made available to the district administration to ensure that they remain devoid of governmental amenities and other benefits. Recently   in one honour killing case a policeman DIG of Saharanpur range, Satish Kumar Mathur, Uttar Pradesh , Kill your daughter if she elopes: Saharanpur DIG told them if she was her daughter and sister he would do the same thing .

v  Five of the seven convicts in iniquitous Manoj-Babli murder case were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Court also ordered action against the police officers who delayed the case.[17] But by The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday commuted the death sentence awarded to four convicts in the Manoj-Babli honour killing case to life imprisonment. Ganga Raj, said to be the prime conspirator, and another convict Satish were acquitted.  In the reference of the commuted decision  AIDWA president stated that, “Apart from the fact that two innocent children were killed mercilessly and brutally, it was a crime against society and hence was ‘rarest of rare’ in nature. Unfortunately very few cases of honour killings com e to light and even fewer reach a courtroom. But if justice is curbed like this; the message is very clear — Khap Panchayats are above law,” said Dr. Sangwan.[18]

v  In the renowned case of Armugam Servai vs. State of Tamil Nadu (2011) the Apex Court interpreted law on this matter of public concern, as: “once a person becomes a major he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes. If the parents of the boy or girl do not approve of such marriage the maximum they can do is that they can cut off social relations, but they cannot give threats or commit or instigate acts of violence and cannot harass the person.” The Court observed that Khap Panchayats often decree or encourage honour killings or other atrocities in an institutionalized way on such boys and girls, who wish to get married or have been married, or interfere with the personal lives of people. This is wholly illegal and has to be ruthlessly stamped out.

v  The Court sternly directed the administration and police authorities throughout the country to see to it that if any boy or girl who is a major undergoes inter-caste or inter-religious marriage with a woman or man who is a major; the couple are not harassed by anyone nor subjected to threats or acts of violence. If anyone does so, he is taken to task by instituting criminal proceedings and stern action is taken in accordance with law. Apart from this, the State Government is required to immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and SSP/Sub-inspector of Polices of the district as well as other officials concerned and charge-sheet them and proceed against them departmentally if they do not (1) prevent the incident if it has not already occurred but they have knowledge of it in advance, or (2) if it has occurred, they do not promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them, as in the Court’s opinion they will be deemed to be directly or indirectly accountable in this connection.

v  Tracing the lines of judicial activism, our Courts seem determined to curb this social evil. In many cases viz. Geeta Sabharwal vs. State of Haryana (2008), Diwan N Mahemadsha vs. State of Gujarat (2011), Asari Manishaben Jivabhai vs. State of Gujarat (2011), Asmitaben vs. State of Gujarat (2011) etc. The police protection was provided to the couples who were major and faced threats from their family. Bails were also refused in cases of honour killing (Ramjee Yadav vs. State of Bihar, 2010).

v  Recently, Justice P.V. Reddy, former Supreme Court Justice submitted a report of Law Commission of India : ‘Prevention of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances (in the name of Honour and Tradition): A Suggested Legal Framework, Report No.242 on 22nd august 2012, which has been stating about various issues, autonomy of choices and liberty – a value to be protected, Whether ‘honour killing’ to be included in Section 300 IPC, Burden of proof to prove honour killing, honour Crimes Bill: Responses and suggestions, counselling and awareness, registration of marriage, who got married in inter-caste, sagotra, etc., a recent Supreme Court Judgment, and more.[19]

Cure To Heinous Crime

v  Media :  Role of media in raising burning issues is very brilliant and effective too. One can easily express their views in the front of whole of society, without any fear, even there is a right of freedom to express is also given in our Constitution. As now coming shows as  Balika Vadhu , Punhar Vivah, Satyamave Jayate, has a great effect on the  people to change their mind set on the established culture. Even recently a person, Abdul Hakim , killed by Uttar Pradesh[20] , Khap Panchayat decision, who has expressed his anguish in the  Satyamev Jayate which resulted in his death who has one girl child and other one is in fear to come in a society where, there is no concern for human feelings.[21] This is how , expressing a views for improvement, results.

v  Female foeticide : The mostly areas, as Haryana , Punjab , so on ,are the place where female low in number and still practicing the foeticide, which results nothing but against the rights of the women, creates a problem for them, for which she is paying in the form of murder in Honour killing, fight for own rights. It is very necessary to  improve the sex-ratio; gender issue  across Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab , it has been increasingly felt that focus on gender issues are needed there. These are the regions where the patriarchal society has still maintained its hold over women lives.

v  Education: Education is used as arm that has a  potential to curb all this social issues. So for remove the misunderstanding and wrong prediction from the human mind set , this can be a one or foremost step for remove them.

v  Ngo’s & Government interest:  The concept of women movement and women’s rights have to reach over  these regions. It is  imperative for the state to focus on such programmes and projects which help in gender equity. There are the voices of the dissent in the communities where honour killing has been reported. These voices has to be get strength. The agencies like the women and child department, social welfare department and the State Women’s Commission should work on these issues proactively.

v  Valid laws : The laws should be clear as detailed in the recent report: 242 law commission of India, issues related to the validity of The Khap Panchayat should be clear to people .

v  Women in the Khap Panchayat : Women problems can only be sort out when it will be discuss with the another women . If Khap Panchayat people would like to continue to the their panchayat communities then according to the equality rights, there should be a provision of one or two women sitting in the Khap Panchayats so that equality right also follow.

v  Casteism:  Casteism is discussed in the various Supreme Court decision too. That the outmost problem for all these upcoming reasons, all outrages directly or indirectly related to it. And  it can be remove only when the inter caste marriage, such events happen.

v  Mentality: Out of the sample of 600 persons ( which included rural and urban) interviewed 46% agreed that Khap were raising  the right issues, 485 agreed with the Khap Panchayat 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.[22]

v  Favour by politician : a strength to Crime :- the work of a politician should be in  interest & in the welfare of whole  inspite of himself.



[1] Manu Smriti , Ch 3./Verse56.

[2] Honour killing in Kolkata: Man beheads sister in public view, takes severed head to police station, The Time Of India accessed on 08-09-2013.

[6]  Sapna  Dhanwani, HONOUR KILLINGS (Khap Panchayats on Same Gotra Marriages)’s%20dpshts/sapna%20dopsht.pdf .

[7] Manoj- babli honou killing case: honour killing of Indian newly-weds. In June 2007.

[9] Shakti vahini, Promoting And Defending The Human Rights,


International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences Vol 6 Issue 1 & 2 January- June / July – December 2011 (Combined Issue)

[11] Ravider Kaur, KHAP PANCHAYAT, SEX RATIO AND FEMALE AGENCY,  June 5, 2012 Vol. XIV EPW Economic &Political Weekly.

[12] Octave Mirbeau, the gardens of the tortures.

[13] Lord Shiva- Parvati marriage , Parvati herself chose  Mahadev Ji to get married, in fact which was inter-caste marriage.

[14] (1980) 2 SCC 684

[15] AIR 1983 SC 957

[16] [(2011) 6 SCC 396].

[17] Manoj-Babli case 2007.

[18] A death sentence commuted in Manoj-babli case,

[19] Government Of India, LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA , “Prevention of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances (in the name of Honour and Tradition): A Suggested Legal Framework.” Report No.242 AUGUST 2012.

[20]Man who spoke against honour killing on Satyamev Jayate killed by ‘in-laws’, November 26, 2012,

[21]  Abdul Hakim  and Mehwish interview, .


[22] Shakti Vahini, Promoting And Defending The Human Rights,

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