Honor Crimes – A Harsh Truth of Uncivilized Society

Author: Shivanjali Mane

Co-Author: Ramkishan Naik

Honor Killing or Killing Honor? ‘As far as I know, she did not lose her heart to anyone because she did not want the society called custodian of culture to win.’


Every society have their own Norma, ethics, freedom to individuals. If these elements were absent it will lead to disturbance. One of the major element need to make a shape of society is custom. Honor crimes emerging from such a basis. They are inspirited from when a person tends to marry to the partner of their own choice, or seek divorce, or commit adultery. Such acts o the violence or threats or harassment are wholly illegal and must be severely punished. With the fast paced urban lifestyles, we have ignored the blot that has been continuing since ages in the name of custom

Concept of Honor Crimes      

Honor crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. Women can target by variety reasons like sexual assault, seeking divorce. The mere perception that a women has behaved in a way that ‘dishonor’ her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life[i]. India needs new law to tackle the so-called ‘honor crimes’ which attempts to control women’s sexuality and choice.

In other words, honor crimes is somewhat misleading tem for aritulaists murder prescribed by aggressor who perceived loss of honor. It leads to uttered shock and surprise that even in the modern society, such crimes is prevalent and is practiced as a matter of necessary to preserve the honor of family. As per the united nation population fund, merely 5000 women are killed annually for reasons of honor. This type of cases normally found in Bihar, utter Pradesh in village area but now it spread in metro cities also.

Comparative analysis of Position in India & in different nations

In March 2016, parliament of Pakistan passed a bill to penalized honor crimes and was unanimously passed but that too didn’t come up to the expectations.[ii] Lack of administration on grass root level has been a persistent hindrance in the way of the bill. Such crimes often go either unreported or are passed off since families show them as a case of suicide neutral death. Police officials also bow down to the religious or local leaders. This is the reason why there has been no credible record for the number of cases of honor killing. Other countries like Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and Libya are some countries that have penalized the offence of honor killing. UAE, Germany, Afaganiastan, have also seen a consideration growth of this offence in recent times. Even India has also not enacted any specific law in this regard. Despite having various laws for crime against women, we still do not recognize an honor crime. For these cases Indian courts rely upon the provision of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. These provisions are taken up as a contributor to the offence go honor killing. Some of the time it is easy difficult to even identity the accused because the victim is subjected to a mob lunching In India states like- Haryana, Utter Pradesh, Bihar etc rampant cases go honor crime. The exact date is not available since mist of the cases is left unreported. In Indian context, honor killing is seen because of religious restrictions. For egg Spend and Gotra concepts as per which two people of some Gotra or Linega are considered siblings and their marriage is prohibited. In 2010 Prime Minister P Chidambaram tried to drag the attention of parliament towards the issue, but no significant towards this issue, but to significant steps were taken.[iii] In the absence of such legislation, Khap Panchayat and other such authorities continue to discharge its functions which are not justified by law.

Cases of Honor Killing in India

The landmark judgment met of Bombay high court where it declared that same gotra marriages were legal. The case was Madhavrao vs. Raghvendrarao[iv]; it was held that the marriage in question between a husband and wife belonging to the same gotra was valid. The court also referred to the eminent author PV Kane, ‘History of Dharmashtra’, the mass of material on’gotra’ and ‘pravara’ in the sutras, the puranas and digest is so vast and full of contradiction that it is almost an impossible task to reduce it order and coherence.

In the case of Shakti Vahini[v], the SC of India had given various guidelines to prevent honor crimes are;

  • There will be fast track courts for fighting against honor killing cases.
  • The disposal of case can be expected within 5 month.
  • Immediate FIR against the khap panchayat if they order against any diktat against any couple.
  • There will be provision of safe houses for the couple by the government along with security needed.
  • DM/SP will supervise the safe houses.
  • The safe houses will cater young bachelor bachelorette couples along with married couples whose relationship is being opposed by Khap.

The Indian legislation seems to have finally awoken to these problems after it has come into the limelight and people are speaking up against such cruelty. Finally, after the killings according to the UPI led central government proposal to amend the IPC and make the honor killing a distimct offence[vi]. although how that will make any difference to the present condition still needs to present condition still needs to be scrutinized as honor killing amounts to murder which is punishable under law[vii]. The government has also made proposal to revoke the 30 days notice period presently required under the Special marriage Act for inner community marriages[viii].


Honor killing is an issue of mentality and social outlook of the individuals.  Honor killing into the way of happiness and freedom, the same must be thrown away into the dumpster of paralyzed rituals in 21 century era if we are not providing freedom to ably and girl, then what the use of adopting modern society. We live in democracy setup where the freedom, liberty is important to look at. We need to stand against such evil practice. Because ‘it is evil for humanity, for freedom, for ethics and moreover to the society……….”

[i] Definition of human right watch

[ii] http://www.hrw.org/news/2017/0/9/25/honor-killing-continue-pakistan-despite-new-law

[iii] https://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100328/main4.htm

[iv] AIR 1964 Bom 377

[v] Writ Petition(Civil) No.231 of 2010

[vi] Vibha Sharma (28 march 2010); ‘who gave the khaps the right to kill: PC (the tribune)

[vii] Section 302 – Indian Penal Code

[viii] Section 5- Special Marriage Act 1954