SC says khap interference in marriage between consenting adults is illegal: Here are the guidelines
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SC says khap interference in marriage between consenting adults is illegal: Here are the guidelines

The Supreme Court on Tuesday banned any interference by illegal assemblies like ‘khap panchayats’ into their marriages, terming the intrusions as “absolutely illegal”.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2018 17:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent, New Delhi
Khap Panchayats,Honour Killing,Supreme Court
A view of the Supreme Court lawn, in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the interference by khap panchayats in marriagesof inter-faith or inter-caste couples, who often face threat to their lives due to their relationship, was “absolutely illegal” and laid down guidelines to prevent such intrusions.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the norms laid down by it would remain in force till a suitable legislation is enacted by Parliament.

Guidelines to prevent honour killing

(a) Governments should identify districts, sub-divisions and/or villages where instances of honour killing or assembly of khap panchayats have been reported in the recent past, eg in the last five years

(b) Home department of the states shall issue directives or advisories to the superintendents of police and other police officers to be extra cautious if any instance of inter-caste or inter-religious marriage within their jurisdiction comes to their notice

(c) Police shall inform khap panchayats that convening of such meeting or gathering is illegal

(e) Khaps will be personally criminally liable if any harm is caused or decision is taken harm the couple or their family members

(f) Police will invoke various provisions of law, including by invoking prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure and also by causing the arrest of the participants in the assembly under Section 151 CrPC to prevent meetings of khap panchayats.

Read |Khaps oppose SC ruling, say can’t allow marriages in same ‘gotra’

Remedial measures

(a) Immediate registration of FIR against khap panchayat if they pass any diktat against a couple or their family of an inter-caste or inter-religious marriage

(b) Security must be provided to the couple or their family and, if necessary, to remove them to a safe house within the same district or elsewhere keeping in mind their safety and threat perception

(c) The state government may consider establishing a safe house at each district headquarter for that purpose. Such safe houses can cater to accommodate:

(i) young bachelor-bachelorette couples whose relationship is being opposed by their families or local community/khaps and

(ii) young married couples (of an inter-caste or inter-religious or any other marriage being opposed by their families/local community/khaps).

Punitive measures

(a) If police fail to comply with the court’s directions, it shall be considered as an act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct for which departmental action will be taken

(b) State governments are directed to take disciplinary action against the police if it is found that they did not prevent the incident

(c) State governments shall create Special Cells in every district comprising of the superintendent of police, the district social welfare officer and district Adi-Dravidar welfare officer to receive petitions/complaints of harassment of and a threat to couples of inter-caste marriage

(d) These special cells shall create a 24-hour helpline to receive and register such complaints and to provide necessary assistance/advice and protection to the couple.

(e) Fasts track courts to be set up for honour killing cases

(f) The trial in such cases must proceed on day to day basis and to be concluded preferably within six months from the date of taking cognizance of the offence.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 17:49 IST