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Honour killing in India

Honour killing is killing a person , maybe a male or a female who chooses her marital life according to his/her wish. Thinking about the honour of the family , the supreme authority of the family looks about the reputation and status of the family but forget about the love and affection towards the members of the family. In the research paper, the honour killing in India and the role of law in honour killing is defined. These matters happen because of certain triggers of the society.

For instance, if the husband is of the lower section of the society, it eventually reduces the status of the family which induces the male member of the family to kill the girl. They should keep in mind that their girl s life is more than caste and the caste is not important than the love and affection towards their child. Therefore, no person can be left free if they violate the rule of law.

Honour Killing In India:

Honour killing is basically an act of murder by the family members . It is the dirty behavior of the members thinking about the purity of their family instead of the life of one. It is done to eradicate the dishonour and shame brought by family member. The male member or any family member kills the one who looks to love the person not matching with their social status. We can also say that it is a pre-planned murder for which caste and religion are the main reasons.

We have gained our independence and now after more than 70 years some people think the cast more superior than the life of a child . India is a democratic country where every citizen has right to equality and right to life as well. But here we see that caste, society and narrow minded thinking of the people led to this shameful act of Honour killing.

Mostly these types of acts are caused due to trigger done by the relatives, society, neighbours by whom the accused fells dishonoured and gets provoked. In all over the world, women proved themselves equal to men but when it comes of honour killing then these occur mostly with female who are assumed for sexual and marital offences. In situation everyone should be a support for that particular member are against her and brings the situation where they should not exist.

Caste and status are the main reason for honour killing in present time. This study target to educate the society and bring out the seriousness of the crime Honour killing .

The aim is:
1- To understand honour killing as the serious crime .
2- To study the role of law in honour killing.
3- To educate the society about the consequences of Honour Killing.

Honour Killing In India:
Honour killing is the act of shame cause to one member of the family by the other members . The term Honour killing is also defined as shame killing . This act of killing a person happens when he/she does not accept for arranged marriage or marrying a person of different caste/religion or a person disapproved by the particular family. In India from the olden days it has become a practice. The shameful act is done to those who performed inter-caste marriage or marrying to a person of other religion.

This type of activity is brutal and unlawful. In India where we talk about the largest constitution and biggest democracy of the world to have fundamental rights and right to life as well, the study shows that the honour killing has become a spreading crime in our country. It has become a common practice in india. Supreme court has brought a decision against honour killing which shows the act is illegal and punishable. Killing or physical assult made over a girl or a women who marries to the boy (disapproved by the family of that girl) is illegal. In india , the state of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh contain more cases of honour killing . The study shows that these type of cases are increasing year by year in northern India. A large number of honour killing cases occur every year in India . This is very shameful for modern and developing India.

The prime factor of the crime is – majority caste members do not accept inter-caste marriage to maintain the decorum of their caste or status of their family in the society. Due to the complex socio-cultural problems the crime of honour killing is divulging at the high rate. The honour killing also takes place when the matter of same Gotra came.

The killing is done to restore the honour and respect which the family lost due to the one who was in love with the person of different caste . In India several crimes such as Sati practice is completely ban but here we have the numbers in cases of Honour killing whereas both the crimes are committed only by triggering.

Role of Law:
Each and every citizen of our country has his own rights. According to the Indian Constitution, rights are vested in every citizen irrespective of their caste, religion and gender. The Constitution of India also states that India is a secular State, where we have the right to adopt any religion and chose the life partner of our choice as well.

Somehow the honour killing is similar to that of homicide. Section 299 and 301 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 which means culpable homicide amounting to murder because the act of killing the victim is made with the intention to kill them to bring the honour of the family.

The Constitution of India talks about equalty before law under article 14 and equal rights before law under Article 15 which means every citizen of India would be treated equally before law irrespective or without any discrimination of caste, creed, sex, race, and religion.

In case of honour killing the act is done to a female more than a male of a family, which shows that there is no equality before law. A female is been murdered which forms gender violation.

Article 19 and Article 21 of Indian Constitution deals about Right to Freedom and Right to Life respectively. In the case of honour killing both rights of a person is been violated . It is the right of a person to chose his/her life partner. No person has the right to take away one s freedom and life.

According to Hindu Marriage Act, 1857- every citizen shall become major after attaining the age of 18 defined in Section 3. As in case of honour killing there is the violation of law . If a person is not accepting the marriage arranged by her family, then anyone have no right to kill that person in the name of the dishonour to the family.

One of the landmark judgment on Honour killing.

Manoj –Babli Case [1]

Manoj and Babli were the victims of the case. They had loved each other and thus eloped and got married to each other. The family members on knowing this got furious and found the victims. The family had taken the case to the khap panchayat who initially stated that any person who has contact with the victim would have to pay 25,000 and hence no person should contact them. After finding their whereabouts, the family had brought them before the khap panchayat who was also against the marriage.

They gave the decision against the victim because the victims belonged to different caste. The decision was religious- caste based for the interest of the society. The khap panchayat was also the accused who involved in killing of the victim due honouring of the family. Relatives of babli were involved in the murder as babli's grandfather was the khap leader. Nevertheless, the victims were abducted and killed by them.

Court Decision: However, when this matter went before the court of karnal district, they had sentenced five perpetrators who were involved in the murder to life sentence. This is the first honour killing case hitting as landmark judgment on giving life sentence to the accused of honour killing. The driver who involved in the abduction was sentenced to imprisonment of seven years. Honour killing is also considered as the most serious offence.

Case law:

Shakti Vahini v Union of India, 2018[2]

The State of Jharkhand has filed its response stating, inter alia, the measures taken against persons involved in such crimes. Apart from asseverating that honour killing is not common in the State of Jharkhand, it is stated that it shall take appropriate steps to combat such crimes.

A counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of NCT of Delhi. The affidavit states that Delhi Police does not maintain separate record for cases under the category of Honour Killing.

However, it has been mentioned that by the time the affidavit was filed, 11 cases were registered. It is urged that such cases are handled by the District Police and there is a special cell functioning within Delhi Police meant for serious crimes relating to internal security and such cases can be referred to the said cell and there is no necessity for constitution of a special cell in each police district. Emphasis has been laid that Delhi Police has sensitized the field officers in this regard so that the issues can be handled with necessary sensitivity and sensibility.

The Department of Women and Child Development has also made arrangements for rehabilitation of female victims facing threat of honour killing and efforts have been made to sensitize the society against commission of such crimes. A circular dealing with the subject Action to be taken to prevent cases of “Honour Killing” has been brought on record.

The State f Maharashtra vs Eknath Kisan Kumbharkar [3]

(6 August, 2019)
It was further held that honour killings have become common place in many parts of the country, particularly in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Often young couples who fall in love have to seek shelter in the police lines or protection homes, to avoid the wrath of kangaroo courts.

We have held in Lata Singh case that there is nothing "honorable" in honour killings, and they are nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by bigoted persons with feudal minds. In our opinion honour killings, for whatever reason, come within the category of the rarest of rare cases deserving death punishment. 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, uncivilized behavior. All persons who are planning to perpetrate "honour" killings should know that the gallows await them".

[1] Smt. Chandrapati vs State Of Haryana And Others on 27 May, 2011

Written By: Ishant Bhardwaj - K.R. Mangalam University

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