This article is written by Shivani Sharma, a second year student, at Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA. The topic of the article is Khap Panchayat.
In the rig vedic time we are able to find out one ancient concept that is KHAP panchayat. The Khap Panchayat generally comes under the social political groups, and the members of the Khap Panchayat are from the upper caste and from the elder people of Jaat community, which is based on the geography of that area or the majority of the cast lived in that area.
The members of the Khap Panchayat consolidate their power and position by covering a large area like many villages, and set their own rules. Generally Khap Panchayat comes under the social institution but they have no legal status, that is these institutions are not sanctioned and governed by the law.
The purpose of these Khap Panchayats are generally to regulate the Khap formed under the same gotra or different gotra in the same villages. These Khap Panchayats are generally demands to done again the amendments in the Hindu marriage act 1955, which allowed marriages in the same gotra or even in the different gotra in the same villages, because these people think that the boy and the girl of the same gotra are considered to be a brother and sister and they also not appreciate love marriages and called this “Taboo” in the villages, where these Khap Panchayats actually works.
In India, the Khap panchayat mostly exists in the western Uttar Pradesh, Eastern Rajasthan, but it is mostly widespread in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat, Bhiwani, Karnal, Jind, Kaithal and Hisar district of Haryana.
Functions of Khap Panchayat
Generally there are 10 or 15 members, who constitute Khap Panchayat, and who make the control on the lives of the young people by taking decisions on the basis of their old customs. There are many people who are the supporters of these Khap Panchayats because of their efficiency to take decisions immediately in a single city, instead of filing a case in court in which the case becomes pending for so many years. The villagers possess and undeniable faith on the decisions of the Khap Panchayat because, everything is cross-checked to ensure neutrality in the final decision that’s why these Khap Panchayat are still working besides the fact that there is no statue in the law, and the people also think that these Panchayats are better than the court where some times the innocent people are make a subject to harassment by the police.
But, sometimes the decisions of the Khap Panchayat are very difficult for the people to accept like heavy fines and penalties or even kills the victim and forced to commit suicide, and this is also a reason that lot of young couples are killed because of these stupid decisions.
In the whole incident the girls/females are mostly harassed rather than the boys/males. In many districts of Haryana, the young girls are easily make the subject to jeopardy and harassment and the decisions of the Khap Panchayats forced them to commit suicide and this is very surprising that even the families of the girls forcibly feed them with the pesticides and burn their bodies to get away from this very secretly, without giving a single hint to the police about the incident.
As we discussed about the rights of women, so no one is concerned about the same, and if any girl fed up with the Khap Panchayat rules and do something against it, so the villagers forcefully convinced them to commit suicide, so we can say that the Khap Panchayat rules are made to bent the girls/females status in the society. In rare situations, where the boys are also the part of this.
If any couple run away and tries to escape from all of this, so according to the rules of Khap Panchayat, the families of the victims has to pay a large amount of money in the form of fine and the women/girls of that family has to faced a lot of insult and threat from the villagers.
Because of these ruthless rules the villagers keep away their young boys and girls to avoid these kinds of incidents with them. As a precaution the school timings of the girls and boys are set out to be different and the families of the girls marry their daughter at very early age and this is one of the reasons to give birth to a new crime that is child girl marriage.
- Why is “Honor Killing” promoted by Khap Panchayat?
In the article “Unlawful interference of Caste Panchayats etc. with marriages in the name of honour: A suggested legislative framework” by law commission of India discussed about the rate of increment of Honor Killing rule by Khap Panchayat. There are many incidents of murder and other offenses committed against marriage in same gotra or in the other lower cast and this is the reason that many of the cases are unreported or unrecorded by the police because of the fear of the villagers and its hazardous effects. There are many Khap Panchayats being created by every community or cast in their villages and they forcefully impose their rules on the young boys and girls. Because of this the freedom and other life making opportunities are also missed by the young girls for their bright future.
It is not advisable to interfere marriages of adult girls or boys who are willingly getting married in inter-caste or same caste or same gotra. It is widely explained in constitution and law to follow the Hindu marriage act 1955. People believes that it will impact on their honor and respect in the community which is solely a wrong perception of so called society. In a case – Arumugam Servai vs. State of Tamil Nadu [reported in (2011) 6 SCC 405], the supreme strictly passed an order to abolished Khap Panchayats because they are taking the law in their own hands and due to this the life of young couples are effected and indulging in offensive activities is like, honor killing and murder of the who are willingly to get married in the same gotra or in another cast.
The Commission also suggests that in the Section 300 IPC should not be amended because the existing provision gives fair justice to the victim of honor killing.
- Why Khap Panchayat promoting forced marriages and female foeticide?
In the article “Khap Panchayat- an overview” by Legally India, discussed about the forced marriages is done by the ruthless rules of khap panchayat. A marriage performed by pressurizing one or both the social affairs and without their total opportunity and full concur is said to be a compelled or forced marriage. Khaps mentioned and believed that marriage between two adults fitting in with the same village or gotra was illegal and obliged female accomplices to marry another person who has a spot with different gotra. It is believed to be a kind of forceful conduct at home. Regardless, paying little respect to extending the number of such cases society, police and law is turning an outwardly disabled eye to such scenes. People falling prey to such obliged social associations need to encounter both mental and physical torment.
Starting late one more pronouncement issued by the khap panchayat of Uttar Pradesh town in India, which helped affront the successfully ruined picture of khap panchayats. According to their declaration, women who are under 40 years of age should make unimportant use of mobiles besides restricted fondness marriage. This pronouncement made waves all through the country besides voices are raised about what is the legal authenticity of such an announcement issued by affirmed khap panchayat. These sorts of declarations make doubt in our mind whether we are genuinely living in the 21st century?
- Why are political parties supporting the Khap Panchayat?
According to a article “Why political parties are reluctant to ban Khap panchayats” in The Hindustan Times, an old spouse loses her appeal, cell phones and pants utilized by ladies are against Indian culture – only a little choice of comments from noticeable lawmakers which sounds the assumptions regularly communicated by the infamous Khap Panchayats and political parties crosswise over north India.
These so called kangaroo courts will presently need to watch their words since the Supreme Court has blasted them saying: “If individuals choose to wed, they are grown-ups and you are no one to meddle.” While the court’s conclusions are praiseworthy, it will take significantly more to get the Khaps to fall in line, secure as they are in the political support they appreciate. There are two purposes behind this help. One is that numerous legislators, even a few ladies pioneers, are against rank and between religious relationships especially as the Khaps may be. The other is that the khaps control sizable vote banks and can be called upon to accumulate support during the elections. The zenith court has prior too stood up emphatically against these khaps, which appear to hold the intensity of life and demise for the individuals who face them. Numerous youthful couples have been nagged out of their homes and some killed, all for the sake of the respect of the family.
These homicides, awful as they may be, appreciate a lot of social assent in the towns where they occurred and even the groups of the some political relations have regularly turned out in help of the killings.
Regularly, this is on the grounds that the observers are hesitant to approach and there is political weight on the police to go moderate or mess up the cases. But, instead of this some political parties who would prefer not to turn out in help of khaps have limited themselves to stating that they are a piece of customs and culture. Be that as it may, it is the activity of any chosen politician guarantee that convention does not convert into the homicide of youngsters who have carried out no wrongdoing other than to practice their opportunity of decision of an accomplice or a lifestyle.
The Supreme Court’s most recent order was in light of a supplication before it to boycott khaps out and out. There is little probability that they will change into transformation developments sooner rather than later. As nefarious as bans may be, there is some legitimacy in the recommendation that they be killed before they do further harm.
The term, Khap Panchayat, is that term which is used for all the khaps, in which 10 or 15 members who are from the upper cast and from the jat community who take decisions on the basis of the old customs and traditions. Generally these khap panchayat people want the re-amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, which allows marriage in the same gotra or even the different gotra but in the same villages. Because they think that a boy and girl from the same gotra or even from different gotra but in the same villages have a relationship of brother and sister, so they should not be married.
The existence of Khap Panchayat is more painful for the women because of the male dominated society people always considered them as a defaulter instead of men. In rare situations the men also become a part of the same.
Nowadays, the Khap Panchayat converts into dirty forms like honor killing, forced marriages etc. This is very shocking for us that even the political parties are supporting Khap Panchayat because of vote bank benefits in the elections. The Khap Panchayat is also active hence there is no any legal status of these Khap Panchayats and as per Supreme Court these Khap Panchayats should be banned for always.
From the ethical point of view, it is not right every time the target should be only a woman and there should not be always put restrictions on the female side and no obligation on the dress code of the women and their lifestyle, it should be pure justice to everyone in India.
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