Khap panchayats, which have come under judicial scrutiny for their diktats, have submitted to the Supreme Court that they do not pass any order for honour killing and are against any ban for use of mobile phones and wearing of jeans by women.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, Sarvjatiya Sarv Khap Panchayat submitted that it has never violated law by passing such orders.
It, however, told it has reservation in same gotra (sub-caste) marriage and submitted that Hindu Marriage Act for debarring such marriages.
“The Sarvjatiya Sarv Khap Panchayat strongly condemns the honour killings and fully assures the administration to assist it in bringing the culprits to book. The Sarv Khap Panchayat also condemns the ban or fatwa etc, regarding the use of mobile and jeans etc, by women/girls as the panchayat respects the rights of individuals,” the affidavit told.
It said decisions are taken by khap panchayats like out-of court justice like Lok Adalats and they deliver justice to poor and illiterate people who cannot approach courts.
“Most of the people residing in interior parts are poor and illiterate and have no means to approach the court of law and therefore, they seek justice through their respective khap panchayat/sarv khap panchayat/sarv jatiya sarv khap panchayat,” according to it.
The affidavit was filed in compliance of apex court’s order directing various khap panchayats to respond to a PIL seeking its intervention in restraining them in passing diktats against women.
Earlier, the apex court had said khap panchayats’ diktat on dress code for women and asking them not to carry mobiles is unlawful.
The PIL was filed by NGO Sahakti Vahini seeking court’s direction to the government to take action against khap panchayats for allegedly harassing and killing couples, particularly women in name of family’s honour for entering into inter-caste or intra-gotra marriages.
The apex court posted the PIL for final hearing on March 5.