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  • Writer's pictureStambh Organization


Updated: Mar 14, 2022



I LAKSHMI MADHUSOODANAN do hereby declare that the blog submitted to the Stambh organisation is a bonafide work carried out by me.


With great pleasure, I expressed a deep sense of gratitude to my guides, the members of the stambh organisation for their valuable guidance, suggestions, immense assistants and patience throughout my work.

Last, but not least, I express my sincere and humble gratitude to my parents for their moral support and worthy advice


Honour killing is one of the biggest problems of gender violence which are often decided by the khap panchayats of the villages. It violates various fundamental rights of a human-like [1]Article 14, [2]Article 21 and [3]Article 15(1) and [4]Article 15(3). Women are often considered as some kind of possession in this patriarchal society and are deprived of their sexual choices and rights. The term ‘Honour’ in this heinous crime is often misleading as people think that it is some crime to save a person's honour in a community or a specific ritual which has to be done so that it becomes a lesson for other individuals and families, in short, it is somewhat considered as a ritualistic form of murder. The victims of honour killing are often considered as a black dot to society and are called the agents of shame. One of the major reasons for honour killing is the caste system whereby birth a person is given his caste and sub-caste which leads to a hierarchical order in the community and is considered taboo if he/she mingles with someone of lower caste. As much as it is a violent crime externally it is also a vigorous thought process internally.

The following article will solely focus on honour killings in India.


People of underdeveloped/rural areas often think that a women's chastity is tied to a family's honour and involvement in pre-marital sex, marrying someone of girl's individual choice, divorcing or having a relationship with a person without the family’s consent is considered as a highly degraded act. The act of honour killing is done by men and the victims are mostly women where they are shot, stoned, burned, buried alive, strangled, smothered and knifed to death with horrifying regularity. According to the United Nations, 5,000 women and girls are victims of honour killings every year, Even males are sometimes victims of honour killings as well but the ratio of women being the victims of honour killing exceeds 90 per cent. The tradition of honour killing activates the caste and gotra culture which continues to stigmatize the society.

In the recent case of ankit Saxena, where the boy ankit was stabbed to death by the family members of the girl with whom he was in love for 3 years. The tension boiled up when the Muslim family of the girl realised that she was in love with a Hindu boy. The girl had a heated argument with her parents and went on to meet her boyfriend ankit. Ankit was captured by the family members of the girl on the way to meet his girlfriend and was stabbed to death by slit his throat with a knife by the girl’s father and brother, his mother was also badly beaten up. The father, mother and minor brother were held guilty and chief justice Deepak Mishra stated that two adults are free to marry and “no third party” has a right to harass or cause harm to them.

The accused of these kinds of cases often claim that this kind of crimes happens because of the so-called caste or gotra system and the children born out of this kind of inter-caste relationships will face genetic deformity. [5]There were almost 251 cases of honour killings in the year 2015. Honour killings are mostly reported in places like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttarpradesh and widespread in many areas of southern India.

Penalties under IPC (Indian Penal Code)

· Sections 299304: Penalises any person guilty of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The murder penalty is life imprisonment or death, and a fine. The penalty for non-murder culpable homicide is life imprisonment or imprisonment for up to 10 years, and a fine.

· Section 307: Penalises threaten to kill for up to 10 years of imprisonment, and a fine. If a person gets injured, the punishment can extend to life in prison.

· Section 308: Penalises attempt to commit culpable homicide by imprisonment for up to 3 years or with fine or with both. If it causes injury, the person shall be imprisoned or fined for up to 7 years, or both.

· Section 120A and 120B: Penalize whoever is a participant in a criminal conspiracy.

· Sections 107116: Penalizes people for abetting murders, including murder and culpable homicide.

· Section 34 and 35: Penalizes several-person criminal acts in support of common intention.

As you can see several penalties can be applied for committing honour killing but there is no specific law dealing separately with it. There is always a lack of implementation of domestic laws and the violence faced by women. Implementation and execution of these laws can be hard if the authorities overlook this problem stating that it is the fate of the victims and several politicians also support the idea of the khap panchayat being the ultimate authority for deciding the fate of the innocent couples who marry out of their gotra or cast. Khap panchayats are the ego-proclaimed leaders of caste courts in a village and they were considered as the custodians of honour in the medieval era but now further encouragement on the role of khap panchayat will only bring mishap to the society and they are no one to establish their patriarchal guidelines on women.

In [6]Arumugam Servai vs. State of Tamil Nadu ( 19th April 2011) the Supreme Court strongly deprecated the practice of khap/Katta panchayats taking law into their own hands and indulging in offensive activities which endanger the personal lives of the persons marrying according to their choice

[7]There is severe under-reporting of such honour crimes. Families are often ashamed to report such crimes

Does Honour Killing Bring Any Honour?

Honour killings are done due to the disgrace bought upon a family. But is it honourable to murder innocent lives and who gave the so-called seniors of the community to decide the fate of individuals? Honour killings were practised since the ancient period and are done when women break the patriarchal code imposed on them.

If u think that honour killings are done between the illiterate people in villages, then you are wrong, it is also done between the highly educated people residing in urban areas and the major reason is their mindset. No matter if u sit in a well-furnished home or a home with a broken roof it is your mindset that defines the kind of person you are. If we look around there can be prime examples of such mindset around us no matter how established the area is. There can be hundreds of laws that ban honour killing but the real challenge is to change the perspective of people.

The majority of the culprits believe that honour killing brings honour to the family and they must take law into their own hands and do such atrocious activities.

Horror Killings

§ Hyderabad: A man attacked his daughter and son in law with a machete badly injuring them.

§ Haryana: Abody of a 25-year-old newlywed man, allegedly abducted along with his wife by her relatives was found near the Rajasthan canal.

§ Andhra Pradesh: A 19-year-old beaten to death over a relationship with a "forward caste" girl by the latter's father and uncle.

§ Haryana: ABA final year student was murdered and quietly cremated by her father and relatives in the Jhajjar district.

§ West Bengal: Couple Arrested in West Bengal for Suspected Honour Killing of Teenage Daughter

§ Chhattisgarh: Women Set Ablaze by Boyfriend's Family in Chhattisgarh; Suffers 80%, Burns


Honor killing is nothing but horror killing and there is no presence of 'honour' in an honour killing. This is not something that should be neglected by people or some shameful matter to keep mum about. The obsession of castes and gotras by the superior members of the community must stop and the arrogance of the khap panchayats should also be held down. Anyone who does such hideous crimes is a shame to mankind and humanity. The role of khap panchayats should be changed into an advisory body than a punishment body where they educate the people about the evils of the caste system. Capital punishments for honour killings are moreover given to rarest of rarest cases and only countable cases are reported where some cases don't even see daylight and vanish over time. These types of cases should be properly considered and adequate action should be taken. By law, every individual has the right to make his/her decisions. Moreover, no human beings have any right to write a death sentence for a fellow human being on such frivolous issues.




[1] Right to equality [2] Right to life [3] The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. [4] Special provision for children and women [5] National crime records bureau data [6] 6 SCC 405 [7] As stated by Annie Raja in the National Federation of Indian Women

Submitted by

Lakshmi Madhusoodanan,

Research Intern

Stambh Organisation

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1 Comment

Feb 10, 2022

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