Khaps’ dress code for women unlawful: apex court

Such diktats violate the law; how can someone ask others not to carry mobile, asks Supreme Court

PTI | January 14, 2013



Khap panchayats’ diktat on dress code for women, and asking them not to carry mobile phones, is unlawful, the Supreme Court observed on Monday.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said such diktats are against the fundamental right to life and asked Khap Panchayats to file their replies on the issue. “It (such diktat) also violates the law. How can someone ask others not to carry mobile?” the bench asked when the Centre told the court that such orders are being passed by the khaps against women.

Leaders of various khap panchayats of Utter Pradesh and Haryana appeared before the apex court on Monday in response to its invitation, extended during its last hearing to them to express their views. They told the bench that “very distorted facts” have been projected about them in the court.

Top police officers from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana also appeared before the apex court and submitted that though khaps issued some socially retrograde resolutions, they were never directly involved in ‘honour killings’.

Additional director generals of police (law and order) of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh said khaps also play positive roles at times like passing resolution against foeticide.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Sahakti Vahini, an NGO seeking the court’s direction to the government to take action against khap panchayat for allegedly harassing and killing couples, particularly women in name of family’s honour for entering into inter-caste or intra-gotra marriages.

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