Posted on: March 20, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Author: Sundarabharathi, Student at Sastra school of law, Thanjavur.


Honour, shame, pride these things are correlated with the one word that is “Women”. Yes, this perception of thinking resulted in endless honour killing in India. Two people who are from different caste, married without the consent of their parents were being killed by their own family. The government also provided various laws to protect the couples. But there is no separate law for the crime “Honour killing”. The thing called Love being destroyed by the barbaric and brutal act named “Honour killing”. Women and men both fell for the prey for the honour killing. Half of the couples who marry outside the caste are receiving threats form their family. Caste is nothing but a curse to society. Both Rural and urban areas are affected by honour killing. But the crimes happening in the villages goes unnoticed due to lack of media coverage. Tracking down the honour killing in villages is a big challenge. Though people are punished by the Indian penal code for their barbaric acts, that is not enough. India is in urgent need of  reforms. Only separate laws will save the rights of the people who are all suffered by honour killing. This immoral act is done because of the belief in the caste system and gotras. This article concentrates on various legal aspects of honour killing and need for the separate laws. Focusing on the main reason for  honour killing this article establishes the cruelty of honour killing. It also mentions several provisions which prohibit  honour killing.

Keywords: Honour killing, caste, laws, order, judgement, NCRB, Panchayat, love, couple, gotra, violation, barbaric, prohibition.


India is a country with the huge number of traditions and customs. We follow traditions in everything. The rules and regulations of tradition never expected to be violated.  One of the customs is Marrying inside their caste. This is  practiced from the olden days to now. But in the modern age, people started to marry they people love irrespective of caste. So that created problem in many Traditional and casteists families. Some of the marriages don’t have a problem. But some of them lead to Honor killing. The parents and relatives of the adults will kill their own son/daughter for marrying outside the caste. The Recent killing of 28-year-old man by his wife’s father gave chills to everyone. In the mid of the lockdown, we heard of that honor killing in Andhra Pradesh. A young man named Hemant killed by his father-in-law who married without their consent. The intention of the honour killing is blind pride in the caste and gotra. The NCRB (national crime records bureau) in 2015 reported 251 honour killings in India. In reality, most of the honour killing goes unnoticed by the Media and people. It is very tough to track the killings happening in rural areas. Women are the victim of honour killing in most of the cases. The act of violence is used as a weapon to silence the Love. In 2018 NCRB reported, because of Love relationships 10,773 people eloped. [1]


Most of the cases go unnoticed in the rural areas because of a group like this. Khap panchayat is an organization or a group of caste leaders who runs caste courts in the village. They settle the disputes in the village. In khap panchayats, the endogamy principle is followed and nobody is allowed to marry outside the caste. At first, the Khap Panchayat followed common principles and resolutions are politically correct. But in the time being the area of Marriage is seen as the ultimate custom. The boy and girl in the village are not allowed to marry outside of the clan. If they didn’t follow the customs means, the people in khap panchayat took Law into their own hands and indulge in the activities to separate them. In a supreme court statement justice, Markandya katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said, “This is wholly illegal and has to be ruthlessly stamped out. Honour killing is a barbaric and feudal act that is a shame to our society and nothing honour in honour killing. These atrocities which are interfering personal lives of people deserve harsh punishments. The way of strict punishments can reduce the feudal mindset and barbaric act. Moreover, these activities which take laws into their own hands considered as kangaroo courts and completely illegal ”. In the case of  Lakshmi kachwala vs the state of Rajasthan,  public interest litigation was filed in the court against the khap panchayat. The petition stated that it violates the individual basic rights. The court restricted the activities of panchayat and ordered the arrest of the members. Another case is Arumugam sevai vs the state of Tamilnadu, the court held that the decisions held in khap panchayat violate the individual right to marry and encourages honour killings. There are several judgements which restricts khap panchayat activities. The role of khap panchayat plays a major role in northern India.


Honour killing directly violates the constitutional rights of the individual. It violates,

  • Article 15(1) prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of age, sex, caste, race, religion)
  • Article 14 right to equality
  • Article 19 (1) freedom of speech and expression
  • Article 21 right to life and personal liberty
  • According to our Indian constitution honour killing violates the basic fundamental rights of the human being. Though the constitution states this many violation of honour killing. Lack of separate law, awareness kills many life even today.[2]
  • Indian majority act 1875: According to section 3 of the Indian majority act 1875, a person who has attained the age of majority have right to marry anyone they want. A person should be completed 18 years of age. This acts prohibits the activities of Khap panchayat who forcibly splitting inter-caste marriages. In the case of Surjit Kumar vs U.P, the court said that both of them completed the age of majority that is clear by their school certificates and they have the right to marry and live separately. Their parents don’t have any rights in this regard. And the court also directed the police to prevent the barbaric act called honour killing.
  • Protection of Women from Domestic violence 2005: Under this act, women guaranteed protection from the violent and cruel activates against them. The threatening and abusive activity by the families to the girl will be prohibited under this law. In most of the honour killing cases, women are the victims.
  • Special Marriage Act 1952: This act performs marriage between two-person irrespective of caste, religion, and faith. But the procedure for the Registration of special marriage act is a long process because of that lot of couples suffering in fear of Honour killing.
  • The schedule caste and schedule tribe ( prevention and atrocities) Act, 1989: This act was enacted to give protection to the SC/STs from violative and abusive activities. The honour killing happens in the rage of casteist people. In some cases, the victim may be killed because of their caste. That will be prohibited under this act. India has its examples like the murder of Pranay by his father-in-law Marauti Rao in Hyderabad and the murder of shanker in Udamalaipettai.[3]
  • Protection of Human rights act 2006: Honour killing is a huge violative act of human rights. This act was enacted to protect human rights. The barbaric crime by the families and communities to couples will be prohibited by the act.

There are a lot of reasons but there are one or two things that give them prime a reason to kill. The Caste system is a curse to Indian society. Yes, we are living in 2020, but still the customs and traditions of caste are followed. People are not allowed to marry a person from another caste. Some people are bought up like that. Fear of honour killing increased in this generation. It is applicable in cities also, there is a wrong perception that people in the cities won’t see caste. May be yes in some cases, but most of the time is not. We should not forget that Murder of Hemanth happened in Hyderabad by his wife Avanti’s father who is also from Hyderabad. The caste pride is the matter of the fact not urban or rural area, rules are same everywhere.

Patriarchy is another important thing in this barbaric act. The women are considered as an honour to the family. As I mentioned earlier, more than 90 percent victims are women. If a girl is married to another caste man means, it is considered one of the shameful acts.  They abandon the girl or involves in violent activities. The patriarchal mindset of the family members is the reason for many [4]


Though there are some legal aspects to this crime. It is increasing because lack of strict and separate laws. This legislation is not enough to tackle the problem of honour killing.   The NCRB report registered 71 killings in 2016 and 92 murders in 2017 every year it goes on increase. Pratiksha Baxi, associate professor, center for the study of law and governance, JNU said, “sociological and political reasons in the society mixes with the caste, religion and prevent the individual from choosing their life partner”. Most of the households bought up their son/daughter that they should not marry outside of the clan. Parent unwillingness to tolerate the decision of the child ends in violence. The central government formed a committee to tackle the situation and to create new laws but it also raised several questions. New laws will help the legal enforcement to execute the procedures regarding honour killing. At the same time law is not going to help, the main problem is the social structure of the marriage, cast, community in India. But, we can’t leave just like that because honour killing is one of the most inhuman, brutal, and barbaric activities. One of the landmark judgement in this issue is the shakti Vahini case. In Shakthi Vahini vs Union of India (2018)[5], the supreme court of India suggested several reforms, to prevent honour killing the only solution is the enactment of standalone law. The amendments in the Hindu Marriage act and the Indian penal code should be made. Control the activities of khap panchayat and protect the couples from them. Justice Deepak Mishra concluded in his judgement that “  article 21 the security of life and freedom and the safeguarding of basic human rights and equality of the status has been shown abruptly by the acts of these panchayats without the slightest pain of conscience, subscribe to the honour killing. Because of the judgment, In Rajasthan, The Rajasthan Prohibition of interference with the freedom of Matrimonial  Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019 was passed in the parliament.

Recently the madras high court also asked the state government to submit the report about the steps taken to prevent the honour killings and protection of couples doing inter-faith marriage. The landmark judgement in the case Shakthi Vahini vs Union of India is the only ray of hope in recent times. But not all the state governments has taken steps to control it. Some of them are under the procedure. Rajasthan is the only state to create a law against honour killing immediately. Codified and separate law for honour killing all over India only can help young couples. The law commission in 2012 submitted its version of honour killing bill. But the recommendation by the Law Commission is still pending.[6]


There is no “Honour” in killing. It is a subject which people often forgot. But it is happening everywhere. Yes, in some places inter cate marriage happening without any ruckus. In my own family, it happened, but it doesn’t mean everyone is safe. In Divya and Ilavarasan case, four villages have been burnt just because they both from a different caste. We could not easily avoid Shankar Honour killing by his father in law, (now HC acquitted him because of lack of evidence) but he also tried to kill his daughter[7]. She got heavily injured and escaped from death. So, the rage and revenge in the parent’s mindset to kill their daughter is the real problem here. The separate law for honour killing will bring justice to the people who are all get killed brutely. But we also should take care of the reforms made in society. I still remember one thing, while Kausalya shankar case was going on the news, I was discussing with one of my co-interns who is elder to me but he surprisingly supported the violent act by the father. By stating the reason that, Kausalya’s father had to face a lot of “shame” because of the act of the girl. It was a very big shock to me because he is also a law student. The mentality of the young man from a rural background who also a law student supports this kind of barbaric act. I’m not saying people in a rural area only like this. Anyone proud of their caste and clan feels the same way. As long as the concept of Pride, Honour, Shame is connected with women these things will happen. Separate and strict laws can at least act as a silver lining.


[1] Anugraha sundaravelu, why India needs separate law for honour killing, THE SWADDLE ( April 2020)

[2] Pradeep Singh, Honour killing: violation of fundamental rights, IJJSR, Vol 2 issue 1 (June 2020)

[3] Husband was hacked to death, what did you do? She asked her father, NDTV (August 21, 2019)

[4] Sanhati Banerji, Honour killing: India’s own pandemic of casteist patriarchy, FEMINISM IN INDIA (May 6 2020)

[5] Shakthi vahini vs union of India S.C 231 (India)

[6] Ibid

[7] P.V. Srividya, Udamelapet honour killing , THE HINDU (June 27,2020)

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