‘Honour killing’ cannot be allowed a moment of existence, declares SC

Assertion of choice is an insegregable facet of liberty and dignity. That is why the French philosopher and thinker, Simone Weil, has said: - “Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense consists in the ability to choose”: CJI Dipak Misra

GN Bureau | March 27, 2018


#Khap Panchayat   #Manoj and Babli   #Supreme Court   #Honour Killing  


Eight years after the brutal murder of Manoj and Babli by their own family members a movie named NH10—loosely based on latter’s life and more importantly their death, was released.

‘Honour Killing ‘which is a morbid misnomer of a pathological act of murder, once again became a talking point of debates and newsroom discussions.

Now more than a decade after the killing of Manoj and Babli that was preceded and succeeded by many similar cases, the Supreme Court of India has cracked the whip, hard and loud.

Pronouncing its judgement in Shakti Vahini Versus Union of India and others, a bench headed by chief justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra categorically ruled that any attempt by Khap Panchayats or any other assembly to scuttle or prevent two consenting adults from marrying is absolutely “illegal”.

Dwelling on the issue of ‘honour killing’, in the 54-page judgement, the court makes a very important point.

It reads, “When the ability to choose is crushed in the name of class honour and the person’s physical frame is treated with absolute indignity, a chilling effect dominates over the brains and bones of the society at large”, following which the judgement poses an important question : “The question that poignantly emanates for consideration is whether the elders of the family or clan can ever be allowed to proclaim a verdict guided by some notion of passion and eliminate the life of the young who have exercised their choice to get married against the wishes of their elders or contrary to the customary practice of the clan”.

The judgement gives an ‘emphatic’ “No” as an answer, as “sea of liberty and the ingrained sense of dignity do not countenance such treatment inasmuch as the pattern of behaviour is based on some extra-constitutional perception”.

Stating categorically that any sense of ‘feudal’ and mistaken sense of honour has to bow down before the wishes of legally consenting adults, the judgement states, “Class honour, howsoever perceived, cannot smother the choice of an individual which he or she is entitled to enjoy under our compassionate Constitution. And this right of enjoyment of liberty deserves to be continually and zealously guarded so that it can thrive with strength and flourish with resplendence. It is also necessary to state here that the old order has to give way to the new. Feudal perception has to melt into oblivion paving the smooth path for liberty”.

Dwelling precisely on the issue of ‘honour killing’ the judgement reads, “It is necessary to mention here that honour killing is not the singular type of offence associated with the action taken and verdict pronounced by the Khap Panchayats. It is a grave one but not the lone one. It is a part of honour 35 crime. It has to be clearly understood that honour crime is the genus and honour killing is the species, although a dangerous facet of it. However, it can be stated without any fear of contradiction that any kind of torture or torment or ill-treatment in the name of honour that tantamount to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage by any assembly, whatsoever nomenclature it assumes, is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence”.

Read the full judgement here



 

Comments

 

Other News

On a personal note: DIVINE

An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention. The Hindi film ‘Gully Boy’ is inspired by their lives and gr

The role model for an IAS officer

Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book publis

Reform of the civil services: At home and away

The question of reform of the civil services has been debated extensively at all levels at least over the last five to six decades after independence. Indeed, it was soon perceived that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) may not be well equipped to deal with the problems of an emerging developing coun

The greatest challenge for any government

Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government

The mysterious case of CBI’s legality

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came into existence, based on a Resolution of the home ministry, dated April 1, 1963 – a sheer coincidence that it also happens to be April Fool’s day. Over the past few months, we have seen the CBI live up to its founding day with great zeal, being i

The Evolution of Modi

Gujarat was passing through a turbulent phase in the 1980s. The decade began middle class agitations against new reservation policies, and the caste friction turned communal under the watch of chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, alienating majority of urban population on both counts. The ground was ripe for

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter