OPINION in Q&A : Honour Killing

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What is honour killing?

·         Killing of a person by kin, social groups like caste because they believe that victim has brought dishonor upon them.

Reasons for honour killing ? 1. Strong hold of primordial identities (caste and religion) as compared to rationalism & nationalism.

2. Supreme court rightly observed that inter-caste marriages are in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system.

3. Choosing one’s own partner is one’s fundamental right.

Arguments against honour killings? 1. Supreme Court ruling in Lata Singh v. State of U.P. (2006) “There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve harsh punishment

2. There is a fear that aadhaar database will be breached which affects right to privacy of citizens.

3. Government has created 2 exceptions that permit the government to access the database in two separate ways.

a. One way is if a district judge orders disclosure of information.

b. Second is, a Joint Secretary authorised by the government can direct disclosure of information “in the interests of national security”.

4. Nothing in the legislation compels any kind of public or independent oversight that may help ensure that there is no abuse of power.

5. The bill has offered citizens no guarantee of compensation or recompense if its poor choices endanger them.

Any steps taken to stop this menace? 1. Supreme court in Bhagwan Dass v. Delhi in May 2011, deemed honour killings in the “rarest of rare” category of crimes that deserve the death penalty.

2. Law Commission has drafted the Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill, 2011 that sought to declare khap panchayats unlawful.

3. The All India Democratic Women’s Association had demanded enactment of a comprehensive law on honour crimes that goes beyond just the act of murder and focusses on aspects such as compensation to and rehabilitation of the affected family.



On March 13, 2016 22-year-old V. Shankar and his 19-year-old wife Kausalya were attacked by a five-member gang in broad daylight in Udumalpe, in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur district. Sankar died and Kausalya barely survived.The attack was later confirmed as a case of honour killing.Shankar, a Dalit, and Kausalya, who hails from the OBC Thevar community, married eight months ago in defiance of her family’s objections.

Relevant for Essay, social issues of GS:2, sociology paper-2 (caste violence; violence against women)
For further detail refer article titled “of love and honour killings” from Indian express dated march 17, 2016