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Honour Killings: Are we prepared to tackle the problem?

India needs a comprehensive law to deal with ‘Honor Killing’. Critically examine.

 Human Rights watch defines “Honor Killing” as the acts of violence, usually murder, committed by mostly male members against mostly female members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon family.

Why does it take place?

  1. Inter Caste Marriages.
  2. Refusing to enter into an arranged marriage.
  3. Separating from their spouse.
  4. Committing adultery.
  5. Becoming the victim of sexual assault etc.

Supreme Court in Lata Singh vs State of U.P. & Another observed that “Honor killing are nothing but barbaric cold-blooded murder and no honor is involved in such killings”.

Supreme Court once said there is “no honor” in honor killing. In fact, in 2006 ruled that “Inter caste marriages are in ‘national interest’ as a unifying factor in a nation where caste system is a ‘curse’.

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Problems in Honor killing cases:

  1. Murders come under the general category of Homicide or Man Slaughter.
  2. Sometimes they are done by mobile, in such cases it is very difficult to identifying the culprit.
  3. The collection of evidences become tricky and eyewitnesses are never forthcoming.

Existing laws through which these cases can be dealt with:

We have certain sections in the IPC,1862 which can be invoked such as sections 299-304, section 307, 308, 120A&B, 107-116, 34&35.

It also violates the following provisions like Article 14, 15(1) & (3) and 21 of the constitution that can be invoked.

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Need for a comprehensive law:

  1. Amendment in section 300 of the IPC,1862 by adding a new kind of ‘murder’ in the form of “Honor Killing”.
  2. Making the crime of Honor killing a separate offense would help to bring clear picture of the law enforcement agencies.
  3. The system of “Joint liability” must be introduced in the cases of honor killings. Normally these are the groups like Khap Panchayat who first order the killing in the norms of honor.
  4. We can also male amendments to the Indian Evidence Act,1872 by which “Burden of Proof” can be transferred over the family members over whom the guilt of honor killing has been bestowed on.

Way ahead:

The above-mentioned laws should be introduced in the society by means of formal governance and active policing. These measures with definitely help in reduce the spate of Honor Killings.

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