A week after Naveen Jindal, the Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kurukshetra, backed the khap panchayats’ (self-styled community councils’) demand to ban same-gotra — a family’s ancestral lineage — marriages, Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja slammed the demand on Monday.
“What are these panchayats?” the Congress MP from Ambala asked mediapersons here when they elicited her views on the khap panchayats.
On the khaps’ demand for amending the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 to ban same-gotra marriages, she said there was no need to amend the Act. “The law of the land is supreme. It has to prevail,” the minister said, referring to the hype surrounding
the khaps, which are known to run a medieval and often barbaric system of community justice.
On Jindal’s statement favouring the khaps’ demand to ban same-gotra marriages, Selja only said the Congress’s stand on the matter was clear. She declined to comment on the views expressed by Jindal.
The demand for an amendment of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 to ban same-gotra marriages was highlighted by khap panchayats after a local court in Haryana’s Karnal district recently awarded the death sentence to five persons and life imprisonment to a khap panchayat leader for the killing of a couple who had married despite opposition from the Jat community.
The couple belonged to the same gotra.