Honour Killing: SC rules out “Khap Panchayaths” do not have authority to take action against marriages

New Delhi: Sending out a stern message to Khap Panchayats, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that an assembly intended to scuttle the marriage of two consenting adults will be deemed illegal.

The ruling was pronounced while hearing the matter related to Khap Panchayats in connection with cases pertaining to so-called honour killing.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud stated that punitive measures to deal with such an unlawful assembly would be in force until legislation is implemented.

The top court also disposed off a petition filed by the NGO, Shakti Vahini, against Khap Panchayats seeking directions to the Centre and state governments for preventing honour killings.

The Supreme Court in February had cracked a whip against Khap Panchayats and told it to “not become conscience keepers” as the “law will take its own course”.

The apex court had further stated that it is in the jurisdiction of the courts to decide if marriages are legally valid or not, and pulled up Khap Panchayats for taking law into their own hands.

Further to this, the Centre on Wednesday told the top court that states must provide police protection to those couples facing life threats over inter-caste or inter-gotra marriages.