There is legal merit in AAP leader’s remarks: not khaps but their crimes need to be targeted
Shantanu Datta | February 3, 2014
Yes, khaps should be banned, if you ask me. But don’t ask me, for I will say religion, too, should be banned – and for more or less the same reasons that supreme court offered while calling them kangaroo courts in 2011: "Atrocities with respect to personal lives of people, committed by brutal, feudal minded persons deserve harsh punishment."
So let’s take a deep breath, keep our emotions from running over and keep the prejudice locked away while contending that Kejriwal ‘supports’ khap. He said, as quoted by Reuters, “Khap panchayats are a group of people who come together. There is no bar on people to assemble in this country.” That is, unless you impose section 144 CrPC across rural swathes where khaps are reported to operate from.
Kejriwal also said, “(But) whenever they take a wrong decision, whenever they take an illegal decision, they ought to be punished."
The problem, so far as the central government is concerned, is khaps issuing diktats on inter-caste, -religious, -clan etc marriages, and ordering ‘honour killing’, as the murders of the young victims are dubbed. That is why the supreme court, in July last year, asked the UPA government to “make its stand clear on a plea seeking action against the diktats of 'Khap Panchayats' such as harassing young couples for entering into inter-caste or intra-gotra marriages in the name of family or social honour”. "Why don't you file an affidavit and make your stand clear on the issue? You say as to what action you propose to take on the law commission's report," a bench of justices CK Prasad and Ranjana P Desai said, as reported by PTI).
The law commission has sought enactment of the Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill, 2011.
Besides various other measures, here’s what the proposed law says: "no person or any group of persons shall gather with an intention to deliberate on, or condemn any marriage, not prohibited by law, on the ground that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned."
Now, on whom is the onus to ‘ban’ khaps? The central government or states? Has any state banned khaps?
If the law commission’s jurisdiction is restricted to barring only “gathering” of people “with an intention to deliberate on, or condemn any marriage, not prohibited by law”, who is Kejriwal to seek a ban on the whole idea – even if it’s a bad idea, like fellow undemocratic ideas such as prohibition – of khap panchayat? Why, indeed, should he be expected to propose any such ban?
Whenever a khap decides to “condemn” any such marriage – with or without the diktat of ‘honour killing’ – it would be a criminal case, once the bill is passed, and would be dealt under criminal law. And Kejriwal’s stand is clear on that: “...whenever they take a wrong decision, whenever they take an illegal decision, they ought to be punished."
This is not to condone what khaps do – they are a regressive, anti-women, even misogynistic, obscurantist bunch of men gathered, purportedly with an aim to run their gun. Unfortunately, that’s the brief many religious organisations and agents, as well as some socio-cultural-political outfits hold. And, fortunately or unfortunately, per se they cannot be banned in the name of democracy.
The telecom regulator`s decision to cut international termination charges (ITC) to 30 paise from 53 paise will hit the incumbent operators (Airtel, Idea and Vodafone) the most. At present, the annual revenue of the industry from ITC is approximately Rs 4,500 crore. It may also, as incumbents say, impact go
Additional borrowing of Rs 20,000 crore, and not Rs 50,000 crore, is being considered by the government to meet financial needs. Upon a review of trends of revenue receipts and expenditure pattern, it has been assessed that an additional borrowing of only Rs 20,000 crore of gov
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently made her maiden visit to the Bangalore complex of Navratna defence PSU- Bharat Electronics Ltd and was briefed on both the ongoing and futuristic projects of the enterprise. Sitharaman was given a corporate overview covering th
State-owned NTPC will showcase its expertise and technical knowhow to execute power sector projects and explore business opportunities at the World Future Energy Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi. India`s largest power generation company with an installed capacity of over 51
Will India ever be able to achieve the dream of making best use of its demographic dividend? That question becomes relevant again with the release of the Annual Status of Education Report
The Campaign for judicial accountability and judicial reforms (CJAR) has written to five senior supreme court judges over alleged misconduct by chief justice of India Dipak Misra. The CJAR has appealed to the judges -- justices J Chelameswar, R Gogoi, MB Lokur, K Joseph, AK Sikri -- t