New Delhi. ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION (AIDWA) has welcomed the verdict and the impassioned call of the Delhi High Court in Nitish Katara’s Case to treat “Honour Killing as a separate offence”. On Wednesday the Honourable Court upheld the trial court’s order of life sentence to three convicts in this case and labelled it a case of ‘Honour Killing’. While announcing the judgement Justice Gita Mittal also called for a serious examination as to why such murders are not categorized as a separate offense in the penal code.
Malini Bhattacharya, President, Jagmati Sangwan General Secretary, and Kirti Singh, legal convener of AIDWA said in a joint statement, “The observation of Honourable High Court case has vindicated the stand of AIDWA which has been consistently struggling for and demanding a separate law to address killings and crimes in the name of ‘honour’. AIDWA has been fighting several cases of Honour crimes and killings in various parts of the country and on the basis of its experience it had prepared a draft law which it submitted to the law ministry more than 2 years ago. In this comprehensive standalone law it has suggested that all cases of violence associated with crimes in the name of honour be addressed as this acts against the right to a marriage or relationship by choice. It has suggested that both khap panchayats who sanction a range of violent actions in these cases and individuals including family members who abuse and harass and subject couples to a series of coercive and brutal acts should be punished. The draft law outlines the various kinds of crimes which are common in these cases including social and economic sanction of the boy and his family and extradition of the couple from their village. The draft law also recognizes that the police often act in collusion with the girl’s family and level false cases of kidnapping and rape against the boy. The law thus provides for preventive and rehabilitative measures in these cases.”
“Further the specific nature of the crime separates it from a routine murder and categorizing it separately would also make the crime visible. It is deplorable that the present UPA government refused to pass a law on crimes and killings in the name of ‘honour’ due to narrow vote bank politics”, added Jagmati Sangwan.
AIDWA demanded that the process of making a separate law should be expedited as even Courts have recognized the necessity for this. This law is necessary to protect the precious life of young people who opt to go in for a choice marriage which cuts across caste and religion.