NCW wants more teeth for law on honour killings
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to the Union home ministry to increase the ambit of 'murder' in honour killing cases to include driving people to suicide for bringing dishonour to families.
Pressure from caste panchayats, clans and families often drive young couples to self-destruction.
The government has been deliberating on terming honour killing as murder.
The NCW has also called for a separate category of crimes to be defined as honour crimes. The commission has also proposed that such crimes be investigated only by officers of the rank of deputy superintendent of police or above.
An NCW official said the commission noted that "all dishonour-related acts by a caste panchayat may not end in killing of the victim. But they may subject the victims to other forms of violence such as gang rape or the woman being paraded naked". The official added that: "Women, at times, may be subjected to long-term physical abuse for bringing perceived dishonour to her family or clan. Such crimes need to be specifically dealt with separately and needs to be made punishable."According to the NCW, existing legal provisions under the IPC have failed to deter such crimes. So, specific legal provisions are needed to combat honour killings. Community groupings, clans or caste panchayats who drive couples to self-destruction should also be considered guilty of 'murder' under Section 300 of the IPC, the commission felt.
"In most cases, the police don't help the couple as they are from the same caste or clan. So, these cases should be investigated only by gazetted officers," the NCW official said.
According to the NCW letter, honour crimes are triggered by as 'trivial' a thing as talking to a man or even suffering a rape. These crimes are "premeditated" and "open" but perpetrators are hardly convicted or punished.
The commission has informed the home ministry that the "underlying purpose" of such honour crimes is to "maintain male power in the family and communities by denying women basic and internationally recognised rights" to make autonomous decisions about issues such as "marriage, divorce etc".