Indian society is a culmination of different cultures where a lot of faith and beliefs regulate the human life of the citizens. The caste system in India has been the model of thinking pattern on the people, they are influenced by it. Indian people consider "Honour" invaluable. Women are regarded responsible of honour of the family in a patriarchal society. This viewpoint is so well rooted that any effort by women to breach their rights is seen as offensive on the cultural norms of the community and the revenge taken by the members of her family in the name of honour is called honour killing.
WHAT IS HONOUR KILLING?
According to Human Rights Watch the definition of honour killing is as follows:
Honour Killing are act of vengeance, usually death, committed by family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family. A woman can be treated or targeted by her family for a variety of reasons including refusing to enter in an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce-even from an abusive husband or committing adultery.
The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that brought dishonour to her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life. In some cases, men can also be the victims of honour killing by the family members of the family of a woman with whom they are perceived to have an inappropriate relationship, or by the involvement of homosexual activity.
HISTORY OF HONOUR KILLINGS:
This has been coming from ancient origins that predate all written religions, Many a years ago in dessert tribes, custom regarded woman and their capability as representative of family honour. In this tradition followed it has been a belief that a man has responsibility to protect the honour of his whole family by killing any female relative involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship.
Today however the scenario has broadened in many ways such as marital infidelity, flirting, premarital sex, seeking a divorce, being raped, becoming pregnant or failing to serve a meal, can affect family's honour. Containing a large social dynamic, honour killing presently embodies the same traditional notion that a woman is a belonging to her male representative or relatives, which defines their family's social status and pride. Moreover, honour killing remains subject to culturally influenced laws and practices that gives exceptions to standard aspects of justice.
HONOUR KILLING/ HONOUR CRIME
This both words are being loosely used as a convenient expression to describe the incidents of violence and harassment caused to the young couple intending to marry or having married against the wishes of the community or family members. They are used more often as match and catch phrases and not as precise or accurate expression. It is very much unjustified to call cold blooded murders of youth as honour killing. The ratio of honour killing in our country from last decade has led the government to think of new, regulatory and strict laws that should not only restrict this kind of crimes but bring the criminals and crime a full stop.
Matriarchs may be motivated not by personal belief in the misogynistic ideology of woman as property, but by pragmatic calculations. Sometimes a mother may be also in support to this kind of crimes of an "offending" female family member in order to preserve the honour of family and its members. Many so-called men's will refuse to marry the sister, daughter of a family who has been seemed to be guilty for bringing shame and dishonour to family and they have not punished her for her so-called sins. Therefore, sometimes men also become the victims of honour killing for even keeping a relation with woman who has brought shame to her family.
PLACES WITH HIGH RATE OF HONOUR KILLING IN COUNTRY:
The Indian state Punjab is famous for such cases and crimes of honour killings. According to the data and information compiled and collected by the police department of Punjab, 34 cases of Honour killing were reported between the year 2018 and 2010. In 2008,10. Then in 2009 and 2010, 20 and 4 respectively. Their have reported cases from country capital Delhi too. Haryana is one of the hotspots for these crimes and cases of honour killing and most important mainly it happened due to the blind verdicts of so called Khap Panchayats. The Supreme Court has declared such Khap Panchayats which often spreads threat or decree or encourage "Honour Killings" illegal. Supreme court bench of justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra has further said that there is nothing honourable in killing or other atrocities acts to define or preserve the honour of family without introspecting the real scenario of situations. In fact, it is nothing but a shameful murder.
Supreme court of India in 2018 stated that " when two adults marry with the volition/partner whom so ever they want to, they choose their own way, own roads to walk with each other, they consummate their own relationship; they feel that it is their goal and they have chosen a right path to achieve it. And so, they have a right to do so. Any kind of torture/ ill-treatment in the name of honour that tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by an assembly, whatsoever nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence. The consent, permission is not necessary to the couple who decided to be in wedlock, said the three judges bench compressing Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
In the case of Shakti Vahini and Supreme Court of India had given various norms to prevent, restrict the honour killing. These guidelines of the court are as under:
• There will be fast-track courts for fighting against honour killing cases.
• The disposal of cases can be exposed within 6 months.
• Immediate FIR against Khap Panchayat if they order any diktat against any couple.
• There will be provision of safe houses for the couples by the government along with the security if needed.
• DM/SP will supervise the safe houses.
• The safe houses will cater young bachelor-bachelorette couples along with married couples whose relationship is being opposed by the Khap Panchayat.
INITIATIVES TAKEN AGAINST HONOUR KILLING:
The issue of honour killing for the first time was heard in Parliament in 2009. The Rajya Sabha went into discussions on this issue. In July 2009, the members in the parliament demand for separate laws for honour killing. In March 2010, there was a landmark judgement in Manoj and Babli honour killing case by Karnal District Court which gave life sentence to Khap Panchayat head for ordering killings and for taking laws in its hands. The issue was later referred to Law ministry, which gave certain recommendations in 2010. In August 2010, the legal cell drafted a comprehensive law named as The Prevention of Crimes in the name of Honour and Tradition Bill' and gave it to government. This Bill addresses the violation of the rights of young couples and lists various types of crime in addition to murder. It included Khap Panchayat or other bodies in the name of caste or community and accountability of police and administration.
In March 2018, the Supreme Court gave preventive measures to combat honour crimes in India. Though the Supreme Court has framed guidelines, there is a need for proper and strict law without delay as delay in justice could lead to denial of justice.
GUIDELINES TO PREVENT KHAP INCIDENTS:
• All the governments should find out districts, villages where incidents of honour killing have been reported in the past. And to look that it should happen in present or future.
• The governments should also identify villages with the presence of Khap Panchayats in the last few years and to stop the operations of this panchayats.
• Advisories must be issued to the superintendents of police and the department by the home department of the concerned states in order to be extra attentive, careful when an inter-caste marriage or couple scenario under the jurisdiction occurs.