India: Government Plans New Legislation on So-Called “Honor” Killings
Monday, March 1, 2010 3:00 PM

India is considering new legislation that would specifically address so-called “honor” killings and provide stringent punishment in order to curtail the rise in the number of cases. While there are no official figures for the number of honor killings, activists say that hundreds of young men and women die annually. The practice is particularly prevalent in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh states, where men and women are either driven to suicide or killed by their family members for marrying outside their caste and thus bringing “dishonor” on their communities. Khap panchayats, which order the death penalty to such couples, are often tacitly approved by village councils that hold considerable political power.

"We are seriously considering amending Indian Penal Code to make honor killing a separate and distinct offence and provide deterrent punishment," a top home ministry source told AFP. (AFP)

The new legislation would seek to distinguish so-called “honor” killings from ordinary murder, a move initiated by the Punja and Haryana High Court, which have received numerous applications from young couples seeking protection from caste panchayats and caste-blinded relatives. “The HC had said that it was time that society protected such harassed couples.” (The Times of India)

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