New Delhi: Two noted advocates, appointed by the Supreme Court to assist it in tackling the malady of "dishonour killings" of young couples by `khap` panchayats, have recommended a proactive role for the police and district magistrates to curb it.
The key recommendation forms part of the guidelines, formulated by senior counsel Raju Ramachandran and counsel Gaurau Agrawal, appointed by the apex court as amicus curiae to help it, to tackle the recurring social evil, often rearing its ugly head in the northern states.
The two counsel has urged a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai to convert the guidelines into its directions to all states and Union territories until Parliament enacts a law on the issue.
According to the guidelines, the police should play proactive role to thwart the khap (community) panchayats’ illegal diktat by providing timely help to the potential victims.
"Section 149 to 151 of the CrPC lay down the duties and powers of the police to prevent the commission of cognisable offences. The police have been empowered to arrest a person, even without a warrant, if the police officer knows of a design to commit any cognisable offence.
"In cases of Khap Panchayat, it is very necessary for the police to take timely steps so as to prevent any physical harm to the couple. Any gathering, which instigates commission of an illegal act, is an illegal gathering. It amounts to instigation to commit a crime, which may result in death of an individual.
"The state/ police officials have to take preventive action/ remedial action to ensure that the Fundamental Rights are protected, for which adequate powers are available in CrPC. The need is to effectively exercise those powers by the state officials," it said.
The apex court had earlier appointed the amicus curiae while adjudicating a petition filed by NGO Shakti Vahini, which highlighted the growing phenomenon of "honour killings" and other human rights violations by extra-constitutional bodies like as khap panchayats.