Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Khap at­tacks on cou­ples il­le­gal: SC

- Bhadra Sinha bhadra.sinha@htlive.com Casteism · Crime · Society · Discrimination · Human Rights · New Delhi · Supreme Court of India · India · Dipak Misra

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tues­day warned it would step in if the gov­ern­ment didn’t bring a law to ban il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties of khap pan­chay­ats, say­ing no one had the right to ques­tion an adult’s choice of a mar­riage part­ner.

At­tacks on those opt­ing for in­ter-caste mar­riage were “ab­so­lutely il­le­gal” and khap pan­chay­ats can­not threaten adult women and men for mar­ry­ing each other, the court said.

“If they are not bring­ing a law, we will de­velop the con­cept and see to that these types of il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties are not car­ried out,” a bench led by Chief Jus­tice of In­dia Di­pak Misra said, pulling up the gov­ern­ment for not re­spond­ing to an eight-year-old pe­ti­tion seek­ing a ban on khap pan­chay­ats.

Khaps are caste or com­mu­nity groups that wield con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence in ru­ral ar­eas of north In­dia. They are known to hold kan­groo courts that dis­solve mar­riages, dic­tate dress code, mostly to women, ban cell­phones and even force rape vic­tims into mar­ry­ing rapists. Their op­po­si­tion to mar­riages on the ba­sis of caste or reli­gion has also led to mur­ders.

When the bench took up the mat­ter, a khap leader present in the court said it was in­cor­rect to term the vil­lage body il­le­gal.

Khaps were chang­ing and should be heard be­fore pass­ing an or­der, he said. “What we are con­cerned is about the rights of an adult girl or boy. They can get in­volved in a mar­riage. No pan­chayat, in­di­vid­ual, so­ci­ety, or par­ents can ques­tion it,” the court said.

 ?? SONU ME­HTA/HT FILE ?? The Supreme Court said that the khap pan­chay­ats can­not threaten adult women and men for mar­ry­ing each other.
SONU ME­HTA/HT FILE The Supreme Court said that the khap pan­chay­ats can­not threaten adult women and men for mar­ry­ing each other.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India