The government on Wednesday formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into issues related to honour killings, including the home ministry’s move to amend the existing laws to check such killings.
The group, comprising 8 ministers, includes Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Others in the GoM are Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath and Minister of State for Textiles, Panaba Lakshi.
The union cabinet, in its meeting on July 8, had declined to approve the proposal mooted by the home ministry to amend the existing laws to check honour killings.
The ministry wanted to amend the 150 year-old Indian Penal Code to redefine the offence of murder by adding a new clause to section 300 IPC to classify honour killing also as an act of murder. In the proposed stringent measures to curb such killings, it wanted all the members of caste panchayats (khaps) present when such killings are ordered to be charged with the offence of murder, and not only those who actually carried out the killing.
In a related move, the ministry proposed to scrap the mandatory 30 days notice period required for registering marriages solmenised under the Special Marriages Act, 1954. Under this law, mainly inter-religious and inter caste marriages are registered, which are resisted by the families of couples getting married.