Honor Killing- A Critical Analysis
Author By Ishaanvi
An Honor killing or shame killing is a profoundly intolerable crime that remains existing in the 21st century in defiance of contemporary outlook and thoughts. It is the utmost exasperated form of honor crime which is ubiquitous substantially in all the parts of the world. Several countries have put a blanket ban on honor killing considering it a vicious crime but countries like India lack appropriate laws to cope with such criminalities. Thus, declaring the Indian legal system non-liquet. While incidences of honor killing are uncommon in the capital, such incidences are prevalent in states like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Societal and time-honored morals are considered as the asset of every society. All the acts and deeds of humans are usually governed by the laws, locally set by our forefathers. Someone who tries to break them gets punished. With the change in society comes a change in the laws. Only a couple of practices are now accepted while others have now become a part of history. But traditions have such a great impact on the society that they cannot be neglected. They are still practiced and sometimes serve as a threat to society.
The society has always been male dominating and for several years, it has been insensitive towards women. From domestic abuse, rape to trafficking, women are continuously vulnerable to such heinous crimes, and Honor killing is one of such heinous crimes.
Honor killing is the delusive term for a formalistic form of murder instigated by the perpetrators’ perceived loss of honor or in other words, killing of a person in the name of honor or dignity and to set an example of deterrence for others.
In India, Punjab has the highest rate of honor killing cases. “Khap panchayat” or “caste panchayat” is one of the most important reasons for honor killings here.
1. Inter caste/inter-religion marriage. This is a very common reason behind an honor killing. Marriage is a connection between two hearts but when there is an involvement of society in the context of religion or caste or rituals, it becomes heinous.
2. Fashion sense. Still, there are some people who have not modified their mental attitude with the dynamical era. Many folks still consider contemporary fashion as inappropriate and unacceptable.
3. Homosexual/heterosexual acts. Women are the most targeted ones as compared to the men in this situation.
4. Extramarital affairs. People fearing public humiliation opt for honor killing as a solution.
5. Birth to a third gender: When a child of the third gender is born, the family decides to disown that child to safeguard themselves from ignominy.
6. Birth to a girl child. The killing of a girl child is also an honor killing.
Laws against Honor killing in India
In 1990 the National Commission of Women established a statutory body to discuss the issues of honor killing in India by analyzing constitutional, legal, and other provisions as well as objections faced by the women.
Though there is no specific law against honor killing, there are some laws that are taken into consideration if such a crime takes place.
The Indian Panel Code
1. Section 299-304: deals with a culpable homicide which means illicit kill of a person with/ without the intention to murder. The punishment is capital punishment or life imprisonment or imprisonment of up to 10 years depending upon the type of crime committed.
2. Section 307: deals with an attempt to murder. The punishment for this is imprisonment of 10 years with fine and if this act hurts any person then the punishment is life imprisonment with fine and if an attempt is made by a life convict to murder then the punishment is the death penalty.
3. Section 308: deals with an attempt to culpable homicide. The punishment is imprisonment of up to 3 years or fine or with both. And if this attempt causes hurt to any person then the duration of the imprisonment increases up to 7 years.
4. Section 120 A and B: deals with a criminal conspiracy that means an agreement between two or more persons to do an illicit act and the punishment is imprisonment of up to 2 years or up to 10 years depending upon the type of crime committed.
5. Section 34 and 35: deals with criminal acts committed by several persons with a common intention or with a similar intention.
The Indian Constitution
1. Article 14: provides Equality to every Indian citizen no matter what caste or creed he/she belongs to.
2. Article 15: protects the citizens for discrimination based on caste, religion, gender, race, or birthplace.
3. Article 19: is the right to freedom of opinion and expression to everyone.
4. Article 21: protects the life and personal liberty of everyone.
The Indian Majority Act, 1875
Every Indian should be of or above 18 years old to be legally considered as an adult. This act comes into consideration when honor killing involves age-related matters.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954
This act allows a special form of marriage for the Indian Citizens to marry no matter what their religion is.
It is quite evident that various initiations are required to efficaciously counter patriarchal crimes against women. Undeniably, there has been a change in the mindset of the folks and also the society. However, the old customs and traditions are still present within them and this may compel them to go against their lifestyle. So far, what we have observed is that there is nothing “honorable” in honor killing and is merely a peculiarly atrocious and impious murder by bigoted people with feudalistic minds. It is time to eliminate these brutal practices that brought ignominy to our nation. This will set an example of deterrence for horrendous, uncouth behavior. The ones planning to instigate “honor killing” should realize that the gibbet anticipates them.
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