The Supreme Court on 16 January 2018 termed the attack and interference by Khap panchayat or similar associations against an adult man and woman opting for marriage, especially inter-caste marriage as ‘absolutely illegal’.
The apex court stated that no khap panchayat, individual or society can question an adult man and woman once they decide to get married. The ruling was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
Court Ruling: Highlights
The court asked the Union government to give its response on suggestions given by senior advocate Raju Ramachandran on the ways to prevent harassment and killing of young couples, who opt for inter-caste or intra-clan marriage, in the name of family honour.
The court has issued a strict direction to the government to control such attacks and warned that if the centre does not act towards banning Khap Panchayats then, it will step in.
The case has been listed for further heading on 5 February 2018.
The court was hearing a petition against khap panchayats, which boast of great authority and influence in the villages across north and south India and are viewed to be responsible for the growing frequency of honour killings of couples who defy traditions to get married.
The court had earlier sought suggestions from an NGO 'Shakti Vahini', amicus curiae and 'Khap Panchayats' on the issue.
The NGO had moved the top court in 2010 seeking directions to the central and state governments to prevent and control honour crimes by taking a number of measures.