New Delhi: Severe punishment awaits those involved in dishonour killings as the government intends to bring a law on the matter in the current Parliament session itself,
Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Maintaining that such cases were bringing "dishonour to the families, the community and the country", he said the proposed law would identify the crimes and award punishment
with "more severity".
Refraining from naming `Khap (caste) panchayats`, he said, "Whoever is the cause of the crime, an individual or a collective, must be punished. My duty is to ensure that laws
adopted by Parliament are obeyed and enforced. Once the law is made, it must be enforced. Those involved must be punished."
Replying to a calling attention motion on the subject moved by Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), he said the Cabinet had set up a Group of Ministers to consider a draft bill.
"I am confident that the GoM will give its report shortly and my intention is to introduce the bill in this session itself," he said.
Maintaining that it would be a "strong bill", he said the proposed legislation would define dishonour killings and take within its sweep cases of forcing women to strip in public and
externing people from villages. "Acts which are humiliating will be punished with severity."
Strongly condemning the instances of murder of young couples married into different castes or driving them to commit suicide, he said the issue of whether it would be a
stand-alone law or would amend the Indian Penal Code or the Criminal Procedure Code would be debated by the Union Cabinet.
Speaker Meira Kumar too expressed serious concern over the growing incidents saying young people were being killed by those who are supposed to love them.
"It is a dehumanising process and we have to take it very seriously," Kumar said, as members belonging to most major parties sought stringent punishment for those involved in such crimes including the `Khap (caste) panchayats`.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad said an all-party meeting should be convened by the government on the "sensitive" issue involving castes. Countering him, Dasgupta asserted "criminality is criminality and cannot be condoned".
Describing all honour killings as murders, Chidambaram said such violence was usually committed by family members and were "rooted in antiquated traditions and social values. Moreover, it is difficult to identify or classify an `dishonour killing/crime` ... since the reasons for such killings often remain a closely guarded private family secret."
Noting that there was no separate law at present to deal with such violence which was dealt under IPC or CrPC, he said "government is actively considering a proposal to amend the existing law or to enact a separate law" to tackle such crimes.