New LIVE Course: Learn the Practical Nuances of IPR Drafting by Adv. Gautam Matani. Register Now!
LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     12 May 2010


It is extremely unfortunate that someone who had projected himself — and had come to be seen — as a young, educated politician has now chosen to side with regressive social forces in Haryana. That Congress MP Naveen Jindal has decided to champion the cause of khap panchayats and take up their demand for amending the Hindu Marriage Act is deplorable. It is one thing when politicians like INLD chief OP Chautala justify the existence of khap panchayats and defend their so-called role in maintaining 'social harmony' — no one expects anything better from him and his ilk who have traditionally factored in khap panchayats in their electoral calculations. But if young MPs like Mr Jindal — who are supposed to represent the new generation of youthful, forward-looking politicians — start making common cause with khap panchayats then there is every reason to criticise such short-sighted, cynical, competitive electoral politics. For, there is no debate about the fact that these self-proclaimed guardians of social mores are a manifestation of a medieval mindset. Those who justify crimes such as 'honour killings' in order to enforce their writ under the guise of 'safeguarding' our social fabric have no place in 21st century India. There is absolutely nothing pious about their intentions. Khap panchayats are of the same mould as the Taliban: Both use terror to enforce their writ on hapless innocent people; both claim their actions are sanctioned by religion; both take recourse to fanaticism. Those politicians who claim to stand for a modern, forward-looking India must desist the temptation of garnering votes by extending support to khap panchayats; political parties must denounce them and keep a distance.

The demand of khap panchayats to amend the Hindu Marriage Act in a manner so as to reflect their narrow outlook deserves to be rejected without debate or discussion. The Hindu Marriage Act is one of the most egalitarian civil legislations ever enacted and has worked very well since it became law in 1955. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to tamper with this Act, least of all at the behest of khap panchayats. Moreover, capitulating before the khap panchayats will only encourage other negative forces in society to force their demands through violent means. The price that those who defy the diktats of khap panchayats have to pay is well known — several cases of targeted murders in the name of 'family honour' have surfaced in recent months. To even consider their demand would be to legitimise them. Indeed, any attempt to convey the demands of khap panchayats to Government in order to initiate a 'debate' would be tantamount to granting legitimacy to what is patently unacceptable. The Constitution and not khap panchayats must rule supreme in India.

In any event, khap panchayats do not represent significant opinion, leave alone majority opinion. Their 'influence' is limited to parts of Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. It is absurd to suggest that khap panchayats represent the 'aspirations' of the Hindu community as a whole — nothing could be farther from the truth. It is welcome that Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily has asserted that the Hindu Marriage Act will not be amended according to the wishes of khap panchayats and that the Government will bring in a new law to punish those guilty of honour killings. This is exactly the kind of firm approach that is needed to keep backward forces at bay.




 1 Replies

Prabhakar (Asst.Manager - legal)     13 May 2010

Dear Mr.Rajkumar,

I fully agree with your views.  Honor killings are on the raise.  The suspicious death of Nirupama Pathak a Journalist  is also hovering around "Honor Killing"  .    It is very sad that Youngsters like Mr. Naveen Jindal who is expected to be rationalistic are supporting the Khap panchayat and decides to take up their cause for an amendment in the Hindu marriage act which is unwarranted.

The government should bring a new law and should punish those involved in "honor killings" .   Maximum sentence should be awarded to the guilty.  It is shameful that India, is turning out to be a taliban state because of the raise in " Honor Killings"

Leave a reply

Your are not logged in . Please login to post replies

Click here to Login / Register  

Related Threads