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Report suggests compulsory filing of cases

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An assessment report submitted to the Supreme Court by amicus curiae appointed by it in the “Honour Killings” and “Khap Panchayats” diktat case has recommended that the top court should issue direction to the Centre and the states for compulsory registration of cases on “illegal” diktat issued by such extra-constitutional entities.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran was asked by the top court to have a detailed assessment of the issue in the wake of various incidents of honour killings, allegedly forced by khap panchayats especially in the states in north, highlighted by NGO, Shakti Vahini, working for welfare of women.

Mr Ramachandran placed the report before a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai on Monday and the judges said they would consider it and adjourned the hearing on the PIL filed by Shakti Vahini in 2010.

The report stated that top court direction on registration of cases was necessary as there are no separate penal provisions in Indian Penal Code to deal with the heinous crimes, like “honour killings” and khap panchayats’ diktats.

Till the Union government comes out with the proposed law to deal with such crimes, the apex court direction could act as “court directed legislation” as was done by the top court on sexual harassment of women in work places in Vishakha case.

The SC, while asking Mr Ramachandran to have a detailed study of the problem, essentially arising due to caste and social “conflicts”, had earlier issued notices to the Centre and the states of UP, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

While detailing a series of administrative measures required to be taken by the district authorities under direct supervision of district magistrates and district police chiefs, “if the members of khap panchayats still plan to hold a gathering on issues like inter-caste marriages, which may cause reasonable apprehension of harm to the couple, the SP of the district would be duty-bound to cause arrest of the members of khap panachayat,” the report said.

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