Khap panchayats have no legal status: Tirath

New Delhi: Noting that the Khap panchayats do not have any legal status, government on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that a detailed advisory has been sent to the state governments to take appropriate measures in cases of crime against women including the so called "honour killings".

In written reply to a question in the House, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said, "A Khap Panchayat is a gathering of members of particular caste or clan of village or from a group of neighboring villages and are informal bodies, they don't have legal status."

Home Ministry has sent detailed advisory to all state governments advising them to take appropriate measures in cases of crime against women including violation of women's rights or so called "honour killings", she said.

On dowry related cases, the Minister quoted the figures of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and said there has been a "marginal increase" in these.

"As per NCRB data, a total number of 8172, 8383 and 8391 cases were registered under dowry death during 2008, 2009, 2010 respectively, showing a marginal increase," she said.

Noting that the Ministry undertakes awareness programmes on issues related to dowry, Tirath said, "Section 498-A was incorporated in the IPC in 1893 to provide for adequate punishment for any cruelty inflicted on a married woman by the husband and relatives for dowry."

Replying to a query on widows, Tirath informed the House, that as per 2001 Census, there are 34.3 million widows in the country.

Tirath informed the House on a report launched by UN Women- a United Nations entity for women empowerment, which has highlighted various ways through which injustice is committed against them, government told the Rajya Sabha today.

Replying to a question on the report, Tirath said, "It offers a comprehensive global review of women's rights around the world. It highlights the ways in which injustice against women still continues in homes, work places, politics and justice system."

A report titled "Progress of the World's Women: In pursuit of Justice 2011-12" was launched by UN Women in July.

On complaints received by the Ministry regarding violation of child rights, she said, "The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has received 2206 complaints of violation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education between 2010-11."

The Commission resolved 110 complaints during this period, she said.

The nature of complaints include denial of admission, charging of various fees, conducting screening tests, expulsion, detention, corporal punishment, lack of basic amenities in school, denial of mid day meal, scholarship, uniforms and text books, Tirath said.