Khap Panchayat and Honour Killing
In the 20th century, the court had observed that every person who is major, has the Right to choose his life partner and this right is also recognized by the Constitution and once it is recognized by the Constitution, it needs to be protected from any kind of violation and the same cannot be taken away in the name of Honour. Killing of a relative, generally a female, who is supposed to have brought dishonor to the family through the acts like Inter-caste/ Inter-Religious marriage is defined as Honour killing. In 2015 alone, 251 honour killings were registered in India and the Honour killings have been reported mainly in the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, while it is also widespread in South India and the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. These killings are often sanctioned by the Khap panchayats in the rural areas. In areas governed by Khap panchayats, Love marriages are considered taboo and those living in a Khap are not allowed to marry in the same gotra or even in any gotra from the same village. Supreme court in 2011, termed such khap Panchayat as “kangaroo courts”, and declared them illegal and court wanted them extinguished. Although, Honour Killing violates Article 14, 15 (1& 3), 19, 21 and 39 (f) of the Constitution of India and it also Infringes right to live with dignity as per article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is a disgrace to peace that this kind of heinous crime is being committed within our society. India is a very diverse country with many cultures and languages, however, the rigidity of the caste system, Illiteracy and unawareness about the rights, Khap Panchayat, Danger of losing Prestige and Status in society are the major causes which leads to Honour Killing. This highlights that the caste system is deep rooted in our society and still traditional pattern in marriage is followed. To conclude this article, if inter-religious marriages are allowed with consent of both the parties then this caste system which is deeply rooted within our society will be eradicated. Media can play a major role by condemning such kind of crimes and should create awareness in the society about such kind of heinous crimes. Also, literacy can be used as a tool to curb this menace and people should be made aware about the validity and authority of the Khap Panchayat and the laws related to that.