Dishonour killings: States get more time to respond

Last Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 22:40

New Delhi: Members of a ministerial panel
examining the issue of defining `honour` killings today
expressed "dismay" at the delay by states in sending their
views on putting in place legislative changes to tackle the
problem.

The Group of Ministers, set up last month after divergent
views in the Union Cabinet on the issue, met here this evening
to take stock of the situation.

It was decided to give states further time till August 25
to send their opinion on the matter as the changes proposed
require putting a new law on the Concurrent List, which both
the Centre and the States would have to legislate, sources
said.

The group will meet sometime next week to further
discuss the issue.

Some members of the GoM expressed "dismay" at the delay
of the states in responding on the issue. They felt that
states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Haryana
should have responded fast as honour killings were rampant in
these states.

Some others said that since the issue involved stringent
laws, states were perhaps taking time to firm up their
response. Electoral politics was also cited as a possible
reason behind the delay.

Only two states had responded to the Centre`s request
for their views in the four week timeframe given to them
earlier.

Home Minister P Chidambaram was of the view that a law
was necessary to check the menace, sources said.

The government has mooted proposals to amend the law to
classify incidents of `honour` killings separately under
Indian Penal Code which will also arraign a caste panchayat
which orders such acts.

The matter came up for discussion at a meeting of the
Union Cabinet on July eight which brought forth divergent
views of the members. A section of the Cabinet favoured a new
law to tackle the issue instead of amendments to the existing
law. Following the differences, a decision was taken to set up
a Group of Ministers on the issue headed by Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee.

As per the amendment, bodies like caste panchayats can be
brought under the ambit of the crime as they are accused in
many instances of ordering killings in the name of protecting
honour of a community.

If dishonour killings are defined as a separate crime under
the IPC, those found guilty can punished with death or life
imprisonment.

Dishonour killings -- where men and women are killed by
their kin or members of their caste for defying traditions --
are rampant in western parts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and
Haryana.

The violence is committed in the name of saving the
honour of the community, caste or family. However, there is no
data of such killings as their track is not kept separately.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 22:40

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