HONOUR KILLING – “a heinous crime”


Honour killing means killing a family or clan member in the name of family pride or protecting once family’s honour.

Such killings are sadly on the rise across the world as more and more couples marry outside their caste (as in the case of India) or against their families wises or having extra marital or pre-marital relationships. Hundreds, is not thousands of women are murdered by their families each year in the name of family ‘honour’. Honourable Supreme Court also view honour killing as “rarest of the rare case”.

In this paper, I suggested the legislature to amend the related statues in order to prohibit such heinous crime and judiciary must take positive steps with regard to such cases. No logic, not a single argument can stand for this hateful offence. It is nothing but a atrocious joke with the young generation.

Honour killing is considered to be a crime that threatens the unity and harmony of the community and Now,it is time to stamp out these barbaric & feudal practices which are a slur on humanity.




“And much it pains my heart to think, what man has made of man.”

You will definitely relate to William Wordsworth after listening the horrible incidents I’m describing here: –


Case 1.Birbhumi District West Bengal

A 17 years old Adivasi girl for the “crime” of having relationship with a boy of another community was stripped necked and made to walk for 89 km. to the accompaniment of beating drums and made MMS recording which were done circulated on the internet.


Case 2.New Delhi

Nirupama Pathak, based journalist and Brahmin by cast wanted to marry her colleague of lower cast was held captive by her mother Sudha Pathak and later murdered through asphyxiation.


Case 3.Berlin

6 Muslim women were murdered by family members for different reason like not staying with 1 husband for living with open mindedness and independence and for marrying against family’s wishes etc.


Case 4.Cumbria

The decomposed baby of Shasilee Ahwed was found on the bank of Kent River. She was doing her A-level and wanted to be a lawyer. She was missing after complaining that her parents were trying to force into an arranged marriage.

These are only few examples of the dreadful face of society. In which one thing is common that all the victims are of young age and all the killers are there ‘so called close ones’ may be there parent, husbandand brother on villages.

This is not the result of any domestic violence or personal vexation, but this is killing for honour so called i.e. honour killing. It is gradually becoming a major concern with its cases rising each day in many countries where the world honoured seems to be losing its actual meaning.



Honour killing mean killing a family or clan member in the name of family pride on protecting one’s family honour.

Honour killing is defined as a death that is avoided to the women of the family for marrying against the parents’ wishes, having extra-marital and pre-marital relationship, marrying within the same “gotra” or outside’s one’s cast or marrying a cousin from a different cast.

So, honour killing are murders by families on family members of both males and females who were believed to have brought not only shame on the family name but also for society. No doubt in India it increasing day by day particularly in those areas where education has also changed the environment.



Honour killing is not newly originated social problem, but due to recent media attention the problem of honour killing has under increasing global scrutiny.

As per the historical background of Mexico from 150 BCE – 150 CE the punishment for female adultery was death by stoning or strangulation. According to interpretation of Leviticus and Deuteronomy the Halakha (Jewish Law) punishes certain sexual misconduct for both means women with capital punishment as approved by the court. Mathew gold stein has noted that honour killing where encouraged in ancient some, where male family members who did not take action against the female adulters in the family were actively persecuted.

Current Figure

We can easily consider the terribleness of honour killing by these figures:-

1. According to United Nations population fund 5000 women and girls were murders by family member each year.

2. In the “Asian Age” India has reported over1000 cases of honour killing every year in which 900 incidents are reported from Haryana, Punjab and V.P.

3. According to data compiled by the Punjab police. Total 34 honour killing reported in the state between 2008 to 2010.

4. The study commissioned by national commission for women 326 cases documented over the past one year involved couples that entered into inter cast marriage.

5. In Pakistan these figures are so terrible. According to human rights commission in the name of Karo-Kari (local name of honour killing) No. of victim is




1999 1000 women

2000 245 women, 137 men

2008 574

2009 647

*Pakistan Bureau


Hundred’s, is not thousands of women and men are murdered or driven to suicide by their families each year in the name of ‘honour’. It is difficult to get precise no. on the phenomenon of honour killing the murders frequently go unreported, the perpetrator unpunished, and the concept of family honour justifies the act in the eyes of sum societies.



According to Marsha Freemen, director of International Women’s Rights action watch at the Humphrey institute of public affairs at the university of Minnesoca “most honour killing occur in the countries where the concept of women as a vessel of the family reputation pre-dominates marriage against FAMILIES WISHES is one aspect of honour killing.

There can be different motives behind such a ghastly act, some of which are:-

1. Marrying Against Social Structure


a) Marrying outside own caste or inter-caste marriage.

b) Marrying within own clan or inter-gotra marriage.

c) Inter-Religious marriage.


2. Courtship


Courtship also has led to honour killing merely falling in love has also resulted in numerous cases of honour killing.




Khap Panchayat, karo-kari etc.


3. For Asserting Independence


For leaving a modern an independence existence and for making their own decisions and for not obeying their husbands or families wishes, many young women are killed every year among Hindu’s and Muslim’s.


4. To Control Female Sexuality


This is also a reason in which misconduct with a person against the family’s consent or extra marital or pre-marital relationship has led to cold blooded murders.



5. To Prove Honour Bound

In distorted brand of social mobility and assertation, it seems that a section even among oppressed communities like Dalit’s and tribal too are indulging in “honour” crimes in a bid to prove that they are no less “honour bound” than the upper caste.



By various countries throughout the world reports submitted to the united nations commission on human rights so that honour killing occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and Syria.

In countries not submitting reports to the United Nations the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan and has been reported in India and Iraq.



In India too the Plethora of cases registered in the recent past has worried many NGO’s across the country who refer it as-“Talibanisation of society”

The national commission for women has recently made a plea for shunning the term “honour” and coining another suitable term highlighting the heinousness of the crime.

We have had a tradition on honour killing. This tradition was first viewed in its most horrible form during the partition of the country in between the years 1947 to 1950. When many women where forcefully killed so that family honour could be preserved and after. So many decades as I said every year one thousand’s women and girls are murdered. The honour killing has become common in many parts of the country particularly Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu.



Recently Punjab and Haryana High Court awarded death sentence to four accused on March 11, 2011. In the Manjo-Bubli. Honour killing case.

On May 9 in the significant ruling, the two judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising justice Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra held that honour killing within the rarest of rare cases deserving the death penalty. The bench delivered the ruling while upholding the live sentence of a man for killing his daughter as she had “dishonoured the family”. The court observed that “it is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilised behaviour all person who are planning to perpetrate honour killing should know that the gallows await them.

In the ruling Bhagwan Das V/s state (NCT) of Delhi. The bench declared honour killing as a nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by bigoted person with feudal minds. In bench opinion “if someone is not happy with the behaviour of his daughter or other person who is in his relation or his caste; the maximum he can do is to cut off social relation with him or her.”

The home ministry has made proposal to amend section 300 of IPC to define honour killing as a separate crime. There is also a proposal to amend the Evidence Act, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Special Marriage Act to check the menace of this honour killing through a draft bill-the Indian Penal Code and certain other laws (amendment bill 2010).



Therefore, it may be concluded that society must take a serious note and should brought up issues before the local Panchayat to find a harmonious solution otherwise through proper legal action families must be punished.

We all know one molecule of water that is H2O has to hydrogen atoms bonded to single oxygen item. In nature hydrogen and oxygen are abundant, but they do not form water automatically there must be a chemical reaction between the two and for such a chemical reaction a certain amount of temperature and pressure etc. is required.

In the same way if we want a child according to our social and ideal scale, this will not happen automatically. They will be end product of better guidance with value based education, sense of responsibility, sense of social structure, ideals and priorities.

So we can’t made allegations against one side, they who are the part of honour killing are also “so called accused” as they think the couples are.

To prevent such a thing from happening in my opinion the steps should be taken are:-

 Firstly, the mentality of the people has to change, the must understand the actual meaning of honour.

 Honour killing is a violation of article 21 of the Constitution of India. There must be sum major amendments in IPC, Evidence Act and HMA as that there could be strict laws regarding honour killing.

 Like Punjab establishment of protection home/centre at district levels to provide protection to the inter-caste newly married couples.

 The government, international community, the NGO’s and local community need to integrate and function as a unit.

 Having women in higher position of legal authority and in empowering women with dissent to speak out on these issues has a tremendous impact on halting.

As rightly has been said by Jacobo Timerman:

“It is very easy to hate a Nazi, a guardian in a Gulag but the real danger is not them. It is the decent people who compromised with evil.”

TRIAL BY MEDIA-“a legal dilemma”



The media is the gatekeeper and watch dog of the society. The media acts as multifaceted institution with multiple activities.

It takes the message simultaneously from all the parties involved and builds the opinion on an issue,with definitely threatens the establishment from violating rights with the growth of the number of news channels and in increasing popularity of” breaking news” Electronic Media has come to play a major role in stirring public opinion and consciousness public advocacy outside the court through well- established mechanism like lobbying, negotiations and mobilization of public opinion has been effectively undertaken by the media.

The current trend of media on reporting cases commonly known as “Trial by media” has witnessed the sensation of self- manifested stories, half- baked truth resulting in the violation of right of individuals, resulting media reporting transforming into media circus.

Trial by media is a phrase popular in the last few decades to describe the impact of television and print media coverage on a case by creating a wide spread perception of guilt on part of accuse regardless of any verdict in a court of law and hence the accuse is held guilty even prior to his trial. The blatantly violate the code is sell their story and boost their TRP, leaving far reaching injury to the reputation of the accused. The media involves itself so intensely and during such high publicity court cases the media sensationalises the case and provokes atmosphere of public hysteria which not only makes a free and fair trial impossible but also maligns in the reputations of the accused to such degraded level that their rest of life comes under public- hatred and had scrutiny.

Suspects and accused apart, even victim and witnesses suffer from excessive publicity and invasion of their privacy rights.

On the other facet, the trial by media interferes with the administration of justice and tends to lower the authority of courts and finally hampering the functioning of democracy because an independent judiciary to dispense justice without fear or favour is necessary and it strength is the faith of the public in general in that institution.

Further the media meddles with into the investigation thereby, misdirecting the investigation or hindering the functioning of investigating agencies.

Examples –

The media has effectively undertaken the cause of justice for the cases of Jessica Lall, Priyadarshini Mattoo, Nitish Katera, BMW case, Arushi murder case and many more simultaneously, it has on one hand without considering about the inherent or intended effect interfered with the rights of people involved in the case and on the other hand tried to usurp the prerogative of the courts to try the cases.

Freedom and restrictions on freedom of press-

In words of Blackstone “The liberty of press indeed essential to the nature of a free state. Every free man has an undoubted right to lay what sentiment he pleased before the public, to forbid this is to destroy the freedom of the press. But if be published what is improper, mischievous or illegal he must take the consequence of his own temerity.”

Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution of India grant freedom of speech and expression to the citizens of India. The freedom of press is a necessary concomitant of the freedom of expression that involves a right to receive and impart information without which democracy becomes an empty slogan.

But the right is not absolute and is subjected to the reasonable restrictions of defamation and contempt of court among other mentioned in clause(2).


The law of defamation seeks to protect individual reputation. Its central problem is how to reconcile this purpose with the competing demands of free speech. Both interests are highly valued in our society, the one as perhaps the most dearly prized attribute of civilised man, the other foundation of a democratic community.

Without restriction under article 19(1) it is well settled principle of equity at that once freedom to move his arm ends where somebody’s nose starts.

The freedom of speech and expression does not entitle the per cent to injure another in his trade and or to lower him in the esteem or the fellow- beings or to expose him to hatred ridicule or justification.

Truth is the defence in a suit of defamation, but truth cannot be pleaded as defence for publishing derogatory, scurrilous and defamatory material against a private person where no public interest is involved.

The media has to publish that is in public interest and not what “public is interested in.”

Contempt of court and right to free and fair trial-

Under the cover of freedom of speech and expression know no party can be given a licence to misinterpret the proceedings and order of the court and deliberately paint an absolute wrong and incomplete picture which has to tendency to scandalize and bring it into this repute and ridicule.

Lord Denning in Times case observed

“We must not allow trial by a newspaper, a trial by television or trial by any other medium other than a court of law. But in so stating the law, I would emphasise that it applies only when litigation is spending and is actively in suit before the court.To which I would add that there must appears to be a real and substantial danger of prejudice to the trial of the case or the settlement of it”.

A judge is not immune from the society and he’s also suspect able to aura created by the media against the accused.

There is immense likelihood of bias creeping into judges’ mind subconsciously. A judge has to guard himself against any such pressure and he is too guided strictly by rules of law. The malicious and slanderous publication inculcates in mind of people a general dissatisfaction on the judicial determination and indisposes year their elegance to obey them, if the people allegiance to law is fundamentally shaken, it is the most vital and dangerous obstruction of justice.

Right to privacy-

The right to privacy an independent and distinctive concept, like the concept of defamation originated in the field of ‘Torts’.

In trial by media the trend shows that suspects and accused apart even victim and witnesses suffer from excessive publicity and invasion of their privacy rights.

If a private person or agency unilaterally conducts a string operation, it would be violating the privacy of another person and would make it liable for action at law.

Media should refrain from making public any activities or materials related to an individual’s personal and private affairs or which invades an individual’s privacy unless there is an identifiable large public interest.


Media forms the backbone of the society, as many authors say “eyes and ears of the general public”.

A responsible media needs to take into the consideration the reliance intrusted on it by the general public and confidence and faith as to blindly accept that truth of the news published by media.

In doing so the media should follow certain norms in reporting a crime which is globally accepted:

1. Accuracy and fairness shall be maintained in reporting.

2. Factual accuracy of the report shall be verified before publication.

3. Every caution shall be undertaken against defamatory writings.

4. Right to privacy shall not be intruded or invaded unless over weighted by genuine overriding public interest.

5. Due care shall be exercised in making fair criticism of judgement and reporting court proceedings.

6. Reports shall not be published based on conjecture or surmises or in suspicion.

7. Glorification of an act of violence shall be forbidden.

8. The heading shall not be sensational or provocative and it must justify the matter printed under them.

9. Correction shall be made or published without any delay in cases of error.