Curbing the khaps

Curbing the khaps

Many crimes committed in the name of defending the honour of a caste, clan or family may have their origin(उत्पत्ति/स्रोत) in India’s abominable(भद्दा/घिनौना) caste system, but there are other contributing factors as well. Entrenched(आरोपित हुआ) social prejudices(पक्षपात/पूर्वधारणा), feudal(सामंती) structures(संरचना/बनावट) and patriarchal attitudes are behind what are referred to as ‘honour killings’. While these cannot be eradicated(जड़ से उखाड़ना) overnight through law or judicial diktat, it is inevitable(अनिवार्य) that a stern law and order approach is adopted as the first step towards curbing(नियंत्रण करना) groups that seek to enforce such medieval(मध्यकालीन) notions(विचार/ख्याल) of ‘honour’ through murder or the threat(आशंका/ख़तरा) of murder, or ostracisation. It is in this context that the Supreme Court’s strident(कठोर/तेज़) observations(निगरानी/टिप्पणियों) against khap panchayats and guidelines to deal with them acquire significance. It is not the first time that the apex court has voiced its strong disapproval of khaps, or village assemblies that assume the authority to discipline what they deem behaviour that offends their notions of honour. Previous judgments have made it clear that the life choices of individual adults, especially with regard to love and marriage, do not brook any sort of interference(हस्तक्षेप) from any quarter. In the latest judgment, a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has located the problem as one that violates the liberty and dignity of individuals, and something that requires preventive, remedial and punitive(दंडात्मक) measures(उपाय कार्यवाही).

The High Courts of Punjab and Haryana and Madras have laid down guidelines to the police on creating special cells and 24-hour helplines to provide assistance and protection to young couples. The Supreme Court has now gone a step further and asked the police to establish(सिद्द करना/स्थिर करना)safe-houses for couples under threat. The direction asking police officers to try and persuade(समझाना/यक़ीन दिलाना) khaps to desist from making illegal decisions may appear soft. But in the same breath, the court has also empowered the police to prohibit(रोकना/निषेध करना) such gatherings and effect preventive(प्रतिबंधक/निवारक) arrests. How far it is feasible to videograph the proceedings of such assemblies remains to be seen, but it may be a deterrent(बचाने का/रक्षा का) against any brazen flouting of the law. The verdict is also notable for dealing with some points made often in defence of khap panchayats, rejecting outright the claims that they were only engaged in raising awareness about permissible marriages, including inter-caste and inter-faith ones, and against sapinda and sagotra marriages. The court has rightly laid down that deciding what is permitted and what is not is the job of civil courts. While these guidelines, if they are adhered(पालन/दृढ़ रहना) to, may have some salutary effect on society, the government should not remain content with asking the States to implement these norms. It should expedite its own efforts to bring in a comprehensive(विस्तृत/सर्वग्राही) law to curb killings in the name of honour and to prohibit interference in the matrimonial(वैवाहिक) choices of individuals.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Abominable(भद्दा/घिनौना)
Synonyms: abhorrent, atrocious, awful, contemptible, despicable
Antonyms: attractive, delightful, desirous, good, great

2.Prejudices(पक्षपात/पूर्वधारणा)
Synonyms: animosity, bias, bigotry, chauvinism, discrimination
Antonyms: fairness, good will, impartiality, love, tolerance

3.Notions(विचार/ख्याल)
Synonyms: approach, assumption, concept, conception, image
Antonyms: being, concrete, reality, ignorance, misunderstanding

4.Eradicated(जड़ से उखाड़ना)
Synonyms: abolish, annihilate, eliminate, erase, expunge
Antonyms: bear, build, create, ratify, construct

5.Strident(कठोर/तेज़)
Synonyms: blatant, jarring, loud, raucous, vociferous
Antonyms: quiet, silent, soft, subdued, low

6.Punitive(दंडात्मक)
Synonyms: disciplinary, penal, punishing, retaliatory, vindictive
Antonyms: beneficial, rewarding

7.Establish(सिद्द करना/स्थिर करना)
Synonyms: authorize, base, build, create, enact
Antonyms: destroy, end, prevent, remove, ruin

8.Preventive(प्रतिबंधक/निवारक
Synonyms: precautionary, defending, defensive, protective

9.Deterrent(बचाने का/रक्षा का)
Synonyms: disincentive, hindrance, obstacle, bridle, check
Antonyms: assistance, help, encouragement, catalyst, incentive

10.Prohibit(रोकना/निषेध करना)
Synonyms: ban, block, constrain, enjoin, forbid
Antonyms: advance, aid, allow, approve, assist

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

Many crimes committed in the name of defending the honour of a caste, clan or family may have their origin in India’s abominable caste system, but there are other contributing factors as well. Entrenched social prejudices, feudal structures and patriarchal attitudes are behind what are referred to as ‘honour killings’. While these cannot be eradicated overnight through law or judicial diktat, it is inevitable that a stern law and order approach is adopted as the first step towards curbing groups that seek to enforce such medieval notions of ‘honour’ through murder or the threat of murder, or ostracisation. It is in this context that the Supreme Court’s strident observations against khap panchayats and guidelines to deal with them acquire significance. It is not the first time that the apex court has voiced its strong disapproval of khaps, or village assemblies that assume the authority to discipline what they deem behaviour that offends their notions of honour. Previous judgments have made it clear that the life choices of individual adults, especially with regard to love and marriage, do not brook any sort of interference from any quarter. In the latest judgment, a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has located the problem as one that violates the liberty and dignity of individuals, and something that requires preventive, remedial and punitive measures.

The High Courts of Punjab and Haryana and Madras have laid down guidelines to the police on creating special cells and 24-hour helplines to provide assistance and protection to young couples. The Supreme Court has now gone a step further and asked the police to establish safe-houses for couples under threat. The direction asking police officers to try and persuade khaps to desist from making illegal decisions may appear soft. But in the same breath, the court has also empowered the police to prohibit such gatherings and effect preventive arrests. How far it is feasible to videograph the proceedings of such assemblies remains to be seen, but it may be a deterrent against any brazen flouting of the law. The verdict is also notable for dealing with some points made often in defence of khap panchayats, rejecting outright the claims that they were only engaged in raising awareness about permissible marriages, including inter-caste and inter-faith ones, and against sapinda and sagotra marriages. The court has rightly laid down that deciding what is permitted and what is not is the job of civil courts. While these guidelines, if they are adhered to, may have some salutary effect on society, the government should not remain content with asking the States to implement these norms. It should expedite its own efforts to bring in a comprehensive law to curb killings in the name of honour and to prohibit interference in the matrimonial choices of individuals.

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