Parallel justice systems like the khap panchayats that promote killings in the name of honour should be banned, says an online petition doing the rounds lately.
The petition, which has gathered signatures of scores of people from all walks of life, will be submitted to President Pratibha Patil.
Led by the Centre for Social Research, a non-government organisation (NGO), the petition says: “It is unfortunate that the government is still allowing this medieval system (of parallel justice system) to co-exist along side the panchayati raj institution and Indian judicial system.”
“The tyranny unleashed by the khap panchayats on the pretext of safeguarding tradition needs to be quelled under threat of severe punishment. We urge you to ban such extremist rural justice systems as they not only violate human rights, but also bring shame to our country,” the petition, circulated online a day back, adds.
Kanta Singh, who signed the petition, said: “I strongly condemn the killing of young people in the name of community ‘honour’. The burden of this honour is always placed on either women or young men from relatively poor households.”
“These khaps don’t dare to touch anyone from rich families. Also, the political patronage enjoyed by these unconstitutional bodies is making us lose our faith in democratic institutions,” she added.
Vibhuti Sharma, a professor, added: “It is distressing to note that even the state and criminal justice system miserably fail to provide adequate protection to couples who fall victims to the Khap’s rule against the same-gotra marriages.”
“We need a social reform movement of the kind in the 19th century,” she added.
The khap panchayat has come under severe criticism following several media reports on honour killings of young couples who dared to go against their diktat against same-gotra (lineage) marriage