‘Cops must play active role to check khaps’

The police and the law should take the initiative to prevent khap panchayats from coming out with “illegal” declarations which may endanger lives of young couples,SC amicus curiae told the apex court

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 17, 2012 12:19:04 am

The police and the law should take the initiative to prevent khap panchayats from coming out with “illegal” declarations which may endanger lives of young couples,SC amicus curiae told the apex court on Monday.

Raju Ramachandran and counsel Gaurav Agrawal,appointed by the apex court to suggest measures to tackle social evils like honour killings,said it was up to the SC to issue directions and ensure law enforcement agencies and district magistrates take a proactive role to thwart the khap panchayats’ illegal diktats by providing timely help to the potential victims until Parliament enacts a law.

“In cases of khap panchayats,it is necessary for the police to take timely steps so as to prevent any physical harm to the couple. Any gathering which instigates commission of an illegal act is an illegal gathering,” the amicus told a Bench led by Justice Aftab Alam.

The court had appointed the amicus in a case filed by NGO Shakti Vahini,which highlighted increasing “honour killings” and other human rights violations triggered by institutions like khap panchayats.

The report by advocates said states should be directed to identify districts,sub-divisions and villages which have had instances of honour killing and/or assembly of khap panchayat in the past year. “The officer-in-charge of police stations of the areas so identified should be issued directions… to immediately report if there is any instance of inter-caste marriage… or if there is any attempt to hold a khap panchayat. It would be the duty of the SP,as also of the district magistrate,to ensure the safety of the couple,” the report said.

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