Honour Killing in India

Honour Killing in India

Honour Killing in India
Honour Killing in India

Honour killing is defined as a death for women or men by their own family members for marrying against their wishes or having a pre-marital relationship, marrying within the same gender, or marrying outside their caste, as indicated by her or his wish, which lowers the family’s honour, so the individuals from the family care for the family’s name and end up killing the victims for the sake of honour.

This is practiced across the world on a vast basis. This form of homicide occurs because of stated triggers which are moreover investigated with the assistance of legislation in an honor killing. No individual can be allowed free if they misuse the law and in such a case, this is negative behavior ignoring several rules set up for the existence of the resident.

Women of our nation are the primary casualties of this behavior. Not just individuals including in marriage situations succumb to this crime although furthermore different circumstances, for example, young women raped, looking for a divorce, or at times even homosexuality succumb to this wrongdoing.


Honor killing may be depicted as a murder of a family member that is respected with a woman of the group to marry against the parent’s preferences, extramarital, early connections, wedding inside the same family or outside one’s place or wedding a cousin from a substitute position. Honor killing has arisen as sex-based transgression. There are continuously instances regarding honor killing of a tiny girl and child in-law and never about male honor killings.

Most honor killings occur in nations like India where the concept of women is viewed as a symbol of the family reputation. In 2000 it is un-estimated, that there are 50000 honor killings every year worldwide (united nations 2000). Indeed some say that this figure is reasonable to estimate the prevalence of honor killing in Pakistan alone.

The individuals who take an interest in honor killing usually excuse their demonstration by expressing that their activity will give prevention to others and will keep them from submitting such a demonstration which will convey dishonour to their family and society. From the past, the cost to insure the honor of the family was consistently paid by woman people, who were considered as powerless and ward, are borne with the task to keep up with the honor of the family.

The principal explanations for the event of honor killings incorporate resisting the clothing regulation given by the local area to females, refusal to organize marriage, wedding individuals outside the station or religion, taking part in lesbian and gay connections, or participating in early or extramarital sexual action whether consensual or non-consensual. Many young persons in India have been done to death every year because to ‘Honor Killings.

It is because so-called honor killings are based on the concept, firmly established in Indian traditions, which see women as things and commodities, and not as human beings endowed with dignity and rights. Most honor killings occur in nations like India where the concept of women is viewed as a symbol of the family reputation. 

Research objective:

To study the concept, historical background, reasons

To examine several concerns and measurements related with honor killings in India.

What are the constitutional and statutory laws relevant to the issue”?

Whether honor killing equal to murder or culpable homicide?

Definition of honor:

“Honor killing” is the homicide of an individual by a family member or an employed executioner upon the doubt or implication that the individual has undermined their ethicalness and hence stained the family’s honor (or at the end of the day, upon the doubt or hint that one has been engaged with something unethical and consequently, shamed their family).

The casualties of honor killings, too as the culprits, can be male or female; the offense might be done for various illegal motives. In the cases roused by apparent sexual offense, the objective of an honor killing might be the person in question or the culprit (i.e., attackers, survivors of assault, gay people).

Numerous youngsters in India have been done to death consistently because of ‘Honor Killings.’ It is on the grounds that alleged honor killings depend on the conviction, well established in Indian societies, which think about the ladies as articles and products, and not as people blessed with pride and freedoms. Most honor killings happen in nations like India where the idea of ladies is considered a mirror of families.

Historical background:

Honor killings have been known since the Roman period, when the pater families or senior males inside a family, held the option to kill an unmarried however sexually active girl or a two-faced spouse. Honor-based violations were known in medieval Europe where early Jewish law commanded demise by stoning for a two-faced spouse and her accomplice.

Honor killing in India has had its starting point since ancient ages. Since ancient times, individuals submit crimes of their relatives and depict these killings as a demonstration done to ensure the honor of the family. Honor killings since the past have arisen for the most part as sexual orientation-based wrongdoing and have been utilized as an instrument to hold male-centric strength in the general public over ladies people. In any case, this doesn’t imply that the man has been left totally untouched by this evil.

There are moreover incidents of killing of men society generally for the explanation of them taking part in gay demonstrations or might be a result of refusal for organize a marriage. Be that as it may, an abundant of cases can be seen where little girls, girl parents in law, spouses, and so forth are being killed generally for reasons like conversing with another man, including in two-timing connections, early issues, wedding all alone will, and so forth. Honor killings are accepted to have begun from ancestral traditions.

However, all kinds of people submit and are casualties of honor killings, in numerous networks adjustment to moral guidelines infers diverse conduct for people, including stricter principles for chastity for women. accepted to have begun from ancestral customs. They are predominant in different regions of the planet, just as in outsider networks in nations that don’t, in any case, have cultural standards that support honor killings Honor killings are regularly connected with the country and ancestral regions, yet they happen in metropolitan regions too.

Factors influencing:

Despite the fact condemned by laws and human rights organizations, honor killings are regularly practiced supported by different communities. There are many reasons and intentions behind this evil act, these thought processes are developed in people’s minds which are unavoidable in nature. The principal idea which remains behind this is a patriarchal society where men will, in general, be more prevalent than women in the general public which at last prompts male control and at the present circumstance, women need to pay attention to men. Secondly, the religious-based or caste-based society, religion, and caste play a prominent role in performing the act, The concept of dominant religion or caste is that a caste is dominant when it is numerically higher than the other castes and religion. In a country like India people are asked to marry within the religion or caste, if not it is an assumption that this might affect the family members’ name and fame in the society. Thirdly is the illiteracy in most people in urban areas who are not aware of doesn’t and doesn’t.

Factors triggering:

This evil act is triggered or provocations the killers by some acts by the victims, these said acts are believed to bring dishonor to the family. The acts include intercaste or inter-religion marriage where the victims marry the bride or bridegroom from another caste or religion, Honor killing is most widely practiced due to this reason which instigates the family members to attempt this kind of act because marrying another caste which is lower than the respective caste or religion brings dishonor to the family members. Other grounds include women wanting a divorce from their husband and thus affects the deal within the family, rumor or allegations on the victim, victims of rape, homosexuals like these there are several reasons that could trigger but the above-mentioned acts are the most executed.

Case law:

Manoj- Babli Honour Killing case (2007):

Manoj and Babli’s families lived in the Karoran Village of Kaithal. Manoj was the only earning member of his family. Manoj and Babli fell in love and decided to marry but they were restricted by the members of the village on the ground that they belonged to the same clan and marrying in the same clan is considered to be incest in the village. Manoj and Babli flew from the village and did court marriage and when the news broke out to the people in the village, the leader of the Khap panchayat who was the relative of Babli, murdered both of them in June 2007.

In March 2010 a Karnal district court sentenced the five perpetrators to be executed, the first time an Indian court had done so in an honor killing case. The khap head who ordered but did not take part in the killings received a life sentence, and the driver involved in the abduction a seven-year prison term. According to then Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the UPA-led central government was to propose an amendment to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in response to the deaths of Manoj and Babli, making honor killings a “distinct offense.

Shakti Vahini v Union of India, 2018[2]

The State of Jharkhand has filed its response indicating, inter alia, the measures taken against those implicated in such acts. Apart from asseverating that honor killing is not frequent in the State of Jharkhand, it is mentioned that it shall take proper actions to counteract such crimes.

A rebuttal affidavit has been filed on behalf of the NCT of Delhi. The affidavit adds that Delhi Police does not maintain a separate record for cases under the category of Honor Killing. However, it has been noted that by the time the affidavit was filed, 11 cases were registered. It is urged that such cases are handled by the District Police and there is a special cell functioning within Delhi Police meant for serious crimes relating to internal security and such cases can be referred to the said cell and there is no necessity for constitution of a special cell in each police district.

Emphasis has been emphasised that Delhi Police has sensitized the field officers in this regard so that the issues can be handled with requisite care and compassion. The Department of Women and Child Development has also developed measures for rehabilitation of female victims facing the threat of honor killing and attempts have been made to alert the society against the commission of such crimes. A circular dealing with the subject Action to be taken to prevent cases of “Honour Killing” has been brought on record.

In March 2016, a young Dalit man in Tamil Nadu, Shankar, was savagely slashed to death at a public crossroads in the presence of his wife Kausalya – Kausalya’s parents had ordered the murder because she was from the dominant Thevar community. Kausalya also was gravely damaged. But when she came out of the hospital, she refused to return to her parents. Instead, she has become a determined anti-caste crusader, traveling on her motorbike addressing talks against caste and sexism, and offering support to other women in similar situations, whose spirit is in risk of being broken.

But the Tamil Nadu state government has just published a circular rendering women like Kausalya very susceptible to violence: it makes parental consent required for marriages to be registered. In a state where right-wing groups are pursuing a campaign encouraging violence against inter-caste marriages, especially those when the guy is Dalit, such a circular is perilous. 

Laws against honor killing

Constitutional framework:

The Constitution of India provides clauses declaring rights of a person to go his/her wish irrespective, of religion or sex and assurance against honor-related breaches like honor killings. Such killings likewise contravene Articles 14, 15 (1) and (3), 17, 18, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Article 21 states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” This right stated in the Indian constitution gives the right of a person to live and this right cannot be taken until a procedure is established by law.

A.K Gopalan vs. the State of Madras, 1951:

The Supreme court has chosen a restrictive interpretation of Article 21 in this case. It held that the protection under Article 21 is applicable only against arbitrary executive action and not from arbitrary legislative action. This indicates that the state can deprive a person of the rights granted in Article 21 based on a law.

Maneka Gandhi vs. UOI, 1978:

In this case, the SC reversed the ruling of the Gopalan Case by embracing a wider view of Article 21. It determined that the right to life and personal liberty of a person can be deprived by law on the condition that the procedure specified by that law is reasonable, fair, and just. Further, it stressed that the right to life does not only mean animal existence. It held that all those components of life which go to make a man’s life meaningful, complete, and worth living will be incorporated in this. 

This is the basic outline of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

Under Indian penal code:

Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Section 299 of the IPC deals with culpable homicide not amounting to murder while Section 300 deals with murder. Section 299 .culpable homicide- Whoever causes death by executing an act with the aim of causing death, or with the goal of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge, that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offense of culpable homicide.

The essential factors of responsible homicide are:

there must be a death of a person

the death should be caused by an act of another person

The goal must be to cause death or severe injury

reasonable knowledge that such activity will cause death.

Under this there are two circumstances:

culpable homicide amounting to murder

Culpable homicide amounting to murder (section 300) is where a death is caused with proper intention and motive(men’s rea) and performed with a pre-planned act(actus rea)

This is specifically labelled murder as indicated in section 300 of IPC and the punishment for performing such conduct is imprisonment for life or death sentence as is written in section 302 of the Indian criminal code culpable homicide not amounting to murder culpable homicide not amounting to murder(section 304) is a condition where death is caused owing to abrupt provocation of mind where the accused mind was out of control, or because of external reasons such as bodily harm, etc.

Under this circumstance, there is an exception that the death was unintended and not planned but it is a burden on the accused to prove, the punishment for such act is mentioned in section 304 of IPC which is life imprisonment or imprisonment for the description of a term which may extend to ten years.

Honor killing amounts to culpable homicide amounting to murder since the acts are done with the goal of murdering the victim ,as they have reportedly inflicted dishonor upon the family. The culprits can be punished as per Section 302 of the IPC which is life imprisonment or the death penalty

Case law:

Vasanth vs state of Maharashtra:

In this instance, there was hostility between the accused and the deceased, both of them were seen indulging in physical fighting subsequently they both were stopped by the public but later the accused rammed the deceased with his automobile at a high speed. In this instance, the supreme court decided, that this was done knowingly and amounts to murder under section 300 of IPC.

In the case of Reg. v. Govinda ( 1877) ILR 1 Bombay 342), the accused had knocked down his wife, kept a knee on her breast, and administered two to three hard blows with the closed fist on her face. This deed generated extraversion of blood on her brain and thereafter, the wife died due to this. The conduct was not undertaken with the aim of causing death and the bodily injury was not sufficient to induce death in the ordinary course of nature. The accused was liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Other statutory legislation of India:

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was enacted by the Parliament of India, in order to deter atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Act is linked to honor killings since numerous occurrences of honor killing are in relation to caste and religion.

The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006 establishes the provision for the protection of individual rights of human beings and the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commission, and Human Rights Courts for greater protection of human rights of persons.

The Protection of Women from Domestic abuse Act, 2005 provides for more effective protection of the rights of women provided under the Constitution who are victims of abuse of any sort occurring inside the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Dowry prohibition act 1961

Women’s being a victim of this horrible conduct (statistical data): violence against women in all aspects and notably in areas of sexuality and marriage is one of India’s most pervasive and tenacious types of sex brutality – and also the most un-perceived. It is a sort of violence that hides by not really trying to hide. violence (against all types of individuals) to deter women from practicing their decision in affection and marriage isn’t as predicted documented since India doesn’t have a particular statute against “honor” murdering. To spot such violence and go up against it, you wanted to go beyond the surface and set out to unearth the underlying tale of available documentation.

Women in between caste and religion links are vulnerable to immense attack pressure on account of their relatives, their networks, and gradually, traditional and fundamentalist ideological groupings in India. By and large, people surrender to the strain and depart the relationship – particularly if their partner has been killed. Political affiliations near India’s Hindu majoritarian administrative party are releasing coordinated savagery against between confidence connections in which a Hindu lady adores a Muslim man – they call such relationship.

In 2014, The Hindu monitored 583 assault cases chosen by New Delhi’s district courts in 2013. It tracked down that the single biggest classification of cases (nearly 40%) featured consensual couples who had run off, following which the guardians (as a rule of the womens’) had reported incidents of violence. This shocking reality revealed that assault was truly something different: intimidation and aggressive behavior at home against ladies’ sexual independence.

Severe curfews, prohibitions on utilizing cell phones, disciplines for being found conversing with a man, clothing standards forbidding “improper” or “western” garments, illuminating a lady’s folks in case she is found being cordial with a man – these are only a portion of the “security” rules forced on ladies in instructive organizations and work environments that assist with keeping up with the biological system wherein “honor” wrongdoings occur.

In mid-2007, according to a  Delhi-based survey report by the Indian Population Statistics Survey (IPSS), nearly around 655 homicidal cases of honor killings have been documented in India. As per the graph above, in Uttar Pradesh, the honor killing percentage is 25% which is fairly low as compared to Haryana where the honor killing percentage is as high as 35% and the entire North-Western India area is 40%. This graph compares honor killing rates of two North Indian States who are ill-famous for their high honor killing histories. As per this data, roughly 40% of honor killing occurs in northern portions of India. 

The Indian government did not record honor killings until 2014. Due to a lack of particular honor violence legislation, the killings were generally classified as homicides or suicides. For example, India’s Supreme Court documented 288 honor killings in India between 2014 and 2016. However, Evidence, a non-government group, reported that between 2012 and 2017 there were 187 incidents in the state of Tamil Nadu alone.

This misinformation encourages the government to assume that honor killings are under control, making them reluctant to create new laws to address the problem. Federal government measures aimed to safeguard at-risk couples from honor killings are nonexistent or ineffectual. In 2018, the Supreme Court moved to build call centers for at-risk spouses. However, the government assigned no budget or manpower to these phone centers. 


Honor killing being one of the most extraordinarily dreadful social evil in the general public which took countless blameless existence of young women and young men since ages comparable to the issue of integrity of the family or of the community. It has been trailed by the persons from the general public and as an issue of pride, while doing this the part’s thinks to clear the sins being submitted by other part by contrasting with the standard norms.

India there are no separate enactment equivalent to wrongdoing of honor killing, Indian courts applies the segments of Indian Penal Code in attempting instances of honor killing which is thus viewed to be insufficient. There has been several thoughts relating to presenting of new separate laws in towards honor killing nevertheless governing body to date shown unable make any legislation or separate enactment in such fashion. The explanation of non-presentation of new laws or then again enactment might be because of wistful portion of the folks from the general population, as honor killing is being drilled since ages and the politicians might be feeling that presentation of new law against those societal customs might make pressure among the broader population. Yet, in any case to the unsteadiness, the arrangement of honor killing ought to be destroyed from the general public as it is seen that more than massive number of people lose their lives following these practices. Besides, it comes as an obstruction to provisions of Fundamental liberties granted under the Indian Constitution. To Culminate instances of honor killing there ought to be a presentation of new demonstrations or enactments which ought to be extremely severe and get the degree to each individual whoever carries out this wrongdoing, punish them with severe discipline so it makes a dread in the personalities of individuals who attempts to submit it. Severe laws will debilitate persons in committing or carrying out such horrific conduct. Amending existing laws to ensure strict action against those involved in honor crimes.

The Haryana government altered its attitude on honor laws on crime. In the first affidavit, the State fully agreed with the Center to modify the Indian Evidence Act, the IPC, etc. for serious action against the accused then filed a counter-affidavit to eliminate the reference to its earlier pro-center stance. creating honor killings, a separate offense under the IPC to keep law enforcement officials aware. Another option was to alter the Indian Evidence Act to put the burden of proof on the accused.

The solution to this problem principally lies in the removal of myths in the minds of people. Cases such as these illustrate that more than half of the Indians still lead lives within the strong constraints of the caste system and even now teenagers don’t have the power to make decisions regarding their own life. To observe that even now, people blindly perpetrate such heinous atrocities and see it as an act of sanctifying the unclean indicates that India has genuinely not developed. Development has to be from the very base to the centre.


Author: Pradip Sharma , BA.LLB 9th semester Student of Jagannath University Bahadurgarh

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