The Supreme Court said that if the Centre does not enact a law banning khap panchayats, it will step in.

No khap panchayat individual society can question marriage of adult man to woman SCPTI
news Court Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 13:04

Condemning ‘honour killings’, the Supreme Court observed that no khap panchayat, individual or parent can question the marriage of an adult man to an adult woman.

On Tuesday, a bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud pulled up the Union government for not protecting couples who choose to marry outside of their caste or gotra.

“An adult girl or boy can get into marriages of their choice and no khap panchayat, individual, society or parents can question it,” said CJI Dipak Misra.

Social ostracism or any attack by khap panchayat against men and women opting for inter-caste marriage because of their own volition is “absolutely illegal”, the court said.

The court has asked the Centre to give its response to suggestions earlier provided by amicus curae (friend of the court) Raju Ramachandran. Raju had earlier given suggestions to protect couples from harassment and killing in the name of family honour, reported PTI.

“If the Centre does not act towards banning khap panchayats, then the court will step in,” the court said, according to ANI.

The bench led by the CJI said that if the government does not enact a law, it will lay down guidelines.

The matter dates back to 2010 when an NGO had moved the apex court seeking directions to the centre and state governments to prevent honour crimes.

According to PTI, the Supreme Court had asked for suggestions from NGO Shakti Vahini, Raju Ramachandran and khap panchayats. The court had also invited khap panchayats to hear their view.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 5.

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