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You Cannot Justify Murders In The Name Of Honour: Moily

Against the backdrop of increasing instances of diktats being issued by caste councils on marriages involving couples belonging to same sub-castes, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday  said murders in the name of honour
PTI May 11, 2010 23:02 IST
PTI

Against the backdrop of increasing instances of diktats being issued by caste councils on marriages involving couples belonging to same sub-castes, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday  said murders in the name of honour cannot be justified.

"You cannot justify murders in the name of honour," Moily told reporters here.

When asked whether his ministry is working on a proposal to amend the Hindu Marriage Act to ban marriages within the same sub-caste (gotra) as demanded by caste councils or 'khap panchayats', he said he has not received any representation or proposal in this regard.

To a question on whether he would look into the demand if he receives such a representation, he said: "As a Law Minister I cannot comment on something about which I have no detail."

Moily's remarks came soon after Congress MP Naveen Jindal and INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala expressed their support for the 'khap' system.

In a move aimed at dealing with the problem of honour killings, the government has mooted proposals to amend the law to classify such incidents separately under Indian Penal Code which will also arraign a caste panchayat which orders such acts.

As per the amendment, bodies like caste panchayats can be brought under the ambit of the crime as they are accused in many instances of ordering killings in the name of protecting honour of a community.

The Law Ministry has recently given a go-ahead to a proposal of the Home Ministry to insert a separate section in the IPC to define the crime.

The Law Ministry had asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to give his opinion on whether honour killing could be brought within the purview of the term murder.

 Vahanvati, in his opinion, said that IPC could be amended to insert a separate section on honour or customary killings.

He also said the Evidence Act could be amended to put the onus of proof on the accused.

According to the AG, caste panchayats ordering the killings can also be accused of the crime and all members of such bodies can be deemed guilty, whether or not they have favoured the killing.

Honour killings -- where men and women are killed by their kin or members of their caste for defying traditions -- are rampant in western parts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

The violence is committed in the name of saving the honour of the community, caste or family. However, there is no data of such killings as their records are not kept separately. PTI