Saturday, July 20, 2024


    This article on ‘SOCIAL STERILIZATION: HONOR KILLING‘ is written by Trishla Dwivedi. She is a Law Student from Banasthali Vidyapeeth, Rajasthan. Read her Blog Below.


    Society was earlier made as a group of likeminded people; who follow a particular ideology and live happily prospering; with time these societies become colonies and then Sates. And in this transition the believes were a major difference that separated the States. But with the time speeding up, as the people got stuck to their believes; so as to maintain their Statehood; and stood firm to the believes; it further it went to sterilization, i.e.; the existence of only the ones who have good to survive in the Clan; and the rest shall be denied the right to live.

    Honor killing is basically an act of murder by society members, on noncompliance with the term of the society. It majorly in this time refers to cases where; young men and women are killed for marrying outside the religion, clan, or the caste to restore the family’s honor. In India, this type of killing is been carried over many centuries.  Incidents of violence and harassment caused to the young couple; who are intending to marry against the wishes of the community or family members.

    A Merciless Crime

    Thinking about the honor of the family; the priority of the family is to look about the reputation and status of the family; but they forget about the love towards the members of the family. For instance, if the husband belongs to the lower section of the society; it automatically reduces the status of the family; which instigates the male member of the family to kill the girl. In Indian societies, a woman is considered to reflect her family’s honor. This crime is considered a merciless crime as they kill the member of their family without any mercy.


    Honor killing is done to get rid of the dishonor and shame brought by the family members. It is actually a pre-planned cold-blooded murder and the main reasons behind this are caste and religion. Honor killing is also called ‘shame killing’. It is a very sensitive issue. It is considered to be a crime that threatens the unity and harmony of the community.

    Reasons Behind Honor Killing

    The total estimation of honor killing is not possible; because data on honor killing is not maintained properly; and many of these killings are shown as accidents or suicide by their families. The method of killing includes stabbing, throat slashing, burning, etc. In fact, in many cases; the murder is performed in public to warn other individuals of the community not to perform the same act, otherwise; they might face the same consequences.

    Reasons Behind Honor Killing

    An act for fake dignity

    We got our Independence in 1947 and even after more than 70 years; masses still believe that the caste is superior to the life of an individual. Why is it the Indian society is unwilling to accept the choices that; young men and women make when it comes to their partner?

    In 2015, a woman was brutally killed by her father and brothers after she was gang-raped. Why? Because they believe that she brought disgrace and dishonor in their family.

    This fire will not extinguish that easily-

    251 honor killings cases were reported in 2015 that is nearly 800% increase from 2014 to 2015. Over 200 alleged cases were reported in 2018. The latest figures on honor killing in India is a  wakeup call for the nation. Many such cases go unreported for the fear of retaliation and to protect the family’s pride.


    India is a democratic country where every citizen has the right to equality; and the right to life but when it comes to caste and society; their narrow-minded thinking leads to this shameful act of honor killing. Mostly the culprits of these types of acts are relatives, society, neighbors, etc. Caste and status are the main reasons for the honor killing in the present scenario. This shameful act is done to those who marry a person of different caste or religion.  This kind of activity is brutal and unlawful. People who are playing with the life of human beings and infringe on their fundamental rights should be punished.

    Role of law

    Each and every citizen of our country has his own rights by birth irrespective of their caste, religion, and gender. In the Constitution of India, the ‘secular’ means a state with no religion; that is we have the right to adopt any religion and chose the life partner of our choice as well. Constitution of India talks about equality before the law under article 14; and prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race,  caste, sex or place of birth under article 15.

    Crime violates these provisions of law

    Honor killing is similar to that of homicide. Section 299 and 301 of IPC, 1860 which talks about culpable homicide amounting to murder because; there is an intention to kill the one who brings the dishonor to the family. There are certain provisions that have been violated due to this crime. Article 14, 15(1), 15(3),19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

    Supreme Court View on the Matter

    Supreme Court has brought a decision that; the killing of a girl who marries a boy outside her caste is illegal and a punishable offense. In India, the state of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have recorded more cases of honor killing; due to the complex socio-cultural problems in society. This kind of shameful act causes a decline in the growth and development of the country. Almost every year more than 100 cases come up where; young men and women are killed on the orders of the so-called ‘Khap panchayat’.  In cases of honor killing the act is done more often to a female; more than a male of the family. 

    Steps by Government Authorities

    In 1990, the National Commission for Women set up a statutory body in order to address the issues of honor killings among some areas in North India; and has contributed particularly towards the reduction of this type of heinous crime.

    In Punjab, 34 honor killings were reported between 2008 to 2010, 10 in 2008, 20 in 2009, 4 in 2010. Haryana is famous for such incidents mainly due to blind verdicts of the so-called ‘Khap panchayat’.

    Supreme Court in the bench of Justice Markandey Katju; and Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra said that; there is nothing honorable about Honour killings and in fact; it is nothing but a barbaric and shameful act of murder.

    Supreme Court remarked that

    “When two adults marry out of their volition, they choose their path; they consummate their relationship; they feel that it is their goal and they have the right to do so. Any kind of torture and ill-treatment in the name of honor; that amounting to atrophy of choice of an individual relating to love and marriage; by any assembly whatsoever is illegal and cannot be allowed a moment of existence”.

    Supreme Court of India in 2018

    The consent of the family or the community; or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into wedlock; said the three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud; while holding on to that any attempt by Khap Panchayats; or any other assembly to scuttle or prevent two consenting adults from marrying is absolutely “illegal”.


    In a landmark judgment in March 2010; Karnal district Court ordered the execution of the five perpetrators of an Honour Killing and imprisoned for life; the Khap (Local caste-based council) head who ordered the killings of Manoj Banwala (23) and Babli (19); a man and woman of the same clan who eloped and married in June 2007. Despite having been given police protection on court orders; they were kidnapped, their mutilated bodies were found a week later in an irrigation canal. This is the first honor killing case hitting as landmark judgment; on giving a life sentence to the accused of honor killing. 

    Human Rights define honor killing as “act of vengeance usually death; committed by a male family member against female family member in response to a belief that; the woman has offended a family’s honor and has brought shame to the family”


    Every human has the right to live their life as per their willingness.  Article 19 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution talks about the right to freedom and the right to life. Both rights of a person are been violated in case of honor killing. No person has the right to take away one’s freedom and life. In my opinion,  to prevent such crimes from happening; firstly the mentality and social aspect of the people have to be changed. The mentality has to be changed from this I mean, the parents should accept their children’s choices regarding marriage.

    In our country, the level of importance given to the culture; and status is not given to the members of the family. We have to change the mentality of the people on this superstitious belief. The court in Lata Singh case held that the caste system is a curse on the nation. This is a democratic country, once a person becomes major, he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes. So, it’s better to follow the policy of “live and let live”.

    Disclaimer: The opinions and views in the articles and research papers published on this website; are personal and independent opinions of the author. The website is not responsible for them.



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