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.”