NEW DELHI: TAKING a serious view of growing incidents of honour killings in the country, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and nine states on a plea alleging governments’ inability to deal with the menace for political reasons. The court asked the governments to furnish their stand on the issue and explain why they cannot come out with a stringent law to curb the growing menace of such killings. A vacation bench comprising Justices R M Lodha and A K Patnaik sought responses from the Centre, states of Delhi, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan on a PIL filed by an NGO, Shakti Vahini.
This comes in the wake of suspected honour killings in Bhiwani and Delhi on Sunday in two separate incidents and one such alleged killings of a couple from Bihar in Punjab a few days ago.
According to police, Monika (18) and her lover Rinku (19), both from Jat families, were “killed for honour” at Nimriwali village, near Bhiwani. The father of the girl, her brother, uncle and cousins are suspected to be behind the crime and are absconding.
In a similar incident, a young couple from different castes were murdered in Ashok Vihar area in Delhi allegedly by the relatives of the girl who had married against the family wish. In yet another suspected incident of honour killing, throats of a Bhumihar girl and a Yadav boy were slit in Punjab after they had eloped.
Advocates Ravi Kant and Prakash Kumar Singh, on behalf of the petitioner, sought direction to the governments to come out with a stringent law to prevent the incidents of honour killings in the country. The counsels stressed the need for making the incidents of honour killing a heinous crime for which a special law was needed.
The petition alleged that government’s inertia to deal with the menace was on account of its vote bank politics, adding, such killings allegedly carried out at the instance of khap panchayats (caste councils). “The states have remained mute spectators to such crimes and have remained completely silent on even strengthening the law to combat such crimes. The states have not drafted any monitoring mechanism for keeping a watch on such crimes” , said the petition filed through counsel Prakash Kumar Singh.
It said: “In many cases they (governments) have failed to prosecute the people who are involved in disturbing public tranquillity. This has resulted in severe violation of fundamental rights under Article 14 (equality before law) and Article 19 (freedom of expression and speech) of the Constitution of India” .
The brutal killings under the garb to save the honour of the family were against the constitutional provision of Article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty), said the petition.