More than half of the 28 states have come out in support of the Centre’s move to amend existing laws to curb the growing menace of honour killings.Fifteen states have sent their views to the group of ministers (GoM), which is considering changes in the criminal laws, including booking all members of a gathering that orders such killings under murder charge, along with those who actually commit the crime.
Ten states did not respond at all and two responded with no comments. Haryana was the only state to have opposed the move, official documents show.
Of the five states most affected by honour killings, Haryana is the only one that has opposed the Centre’s move. Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have supported the decision for a strong deterrent to curb such killings. Punjab chose to remain silent.
The nine-member GoM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will take up the matter at its next meeting on Friday.
The panel had sought the states views on its proposal to add a new clause in Section 300 of the IPC to specifically categorise honour killing as murder.
Till now, honour killing is not a classified crime in India, and no separate data is available of such cases with the National Crime Records Bureau.
The new definition of honour killing will carry the same punishment as that of murder — ranging from a minimum of life imprisonment to a maximum of death sentence, including for those who order it.
The GoM has also proposed changes in the Special Marriage Act to simplify the procedure of marriage between consenting adults belonging to different religions, and also to the Indian Evidence Act to shift the burden of proving innocence in such cases on the accused.