Honour Killing

Honour Killing

This article deals with ‘ Honour Killing (UPSC) .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .


According to Britannica , Honour Killing is the murder of a woman or girl by male family members. The killers justify their actions by claiming that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family name . 


Problem of Honour killing is quite complex & reasons vary in different areas.

  • Feudal Mindset  :  woman marrying outside her community brings dishonour to the family and it is better to kill them and set example for others .
  • Strike against Dalit Assertion  especially when women is from OBC caste & boy from Dalit caste .
  • Inter religious marriages : Politicisation of matter  especially in  UP  and ‘Love Jihad’ campaign by Hindutva ultra right wing.
  • Same Gotra Issue in Haryana : In Haryana, marriages between couples belonging to the same gotra  are not recognised leading to incidents of honour killing.
  • Law Commission of India observed that one of the reasons of honour killing is change in economic status of women and taking a stand against the male-dominated culture.

Law regarding this

But, inspite of the increase in the number of crimes in the name of honour there is

  • no definition of the crime
  • no protections legally afforded to  couple

Special law like Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act could render some justice to the victims of honour killings.

Judgements wrt Honour Killing

1 . Shakti Vahini Case (2018)

  • NGO Shakti Vahini filed PIL in Supreme Court.
  • Supreme Court gave various guidelines to end honour killings like
    1. State Government should identify districts where honour killing happened in last 5 years .
    2. Khaps  should not act as they are conscience-keepers .
    3. Police should help couples . 
    4. Safe Houses for couples (1 month to 1 year) .
    1. Fast Track Courts should be made to decide case within 6 months .

Earlier Judgements regarding Honour Killings

2. Supreme Court Judgement on Khap Panchayats (2011)

In 2011, Supreme Court termed

  • Khaps were termed as “kangaroo courts” .
  • They were declared them illegal .
  • Court wanted them to be stamped out ruthlessly. 

3. Lata Singh v. State of U.P.

  • Inter-caste marriages are in fact in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system.

4. Bhagwan Das v. Delhi  (2011)

  • Supreme Court deemed honour killings in the “rarest of rare” category of crimes that deserve the death penalty.

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