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In the traditionally male dominated society have always captivated human mind to think and act within cultural boundary. The world is moving ahead yet our societies are reversing back to the traditionally old mind set. It has hampered rational thinking while promoting violent acts, which breach humanity. In our constitution various rights and duties have been provided to safeguard the rights and status of the people. Besides all of the rights men are considered to be superior to women, this superior nature is fatal for women most of the times. In most parts of the world women are educated but they are still not empowered to stand for their own rights. In a society with high morals, ethos and values, where the women are worshiped as goddess, some are brutally killed on the name of honour. This rate of honour crime is increasing day by day. So there is an argent need of an introspection of society, the legal measures available and need of more effective remedies. This research paper deals with the issues and law dealingwith honour killing.


Cultural and traditional values are considered as the asset of every society. All the acts and deeds of human are often directed by the laws, locally set by our ancestors. These laws are so well established that human cannot even imagine thinking out of the box. If anything is performed which is not acceptable by the society, several punishment is set for the rule breaker. We already know that law changes with the changing society and only few of the traditional laws and rituals are morally and philosophically accepted, while others are out dated and irrational to practice in today’s world. But traditions are so impacting on our society that it cannot thing irrationally. Traditional practices are still functional, but since there are no defined cultural and traditional standards, they serve as a threat to the progress of humanity.

For thousands of years women have been looked down upon in society and have not been treated as equals. It was not very long that women in America were not allowed to have jobs, votes, men were always the leaders.

A standout amongst the trickiest regions, which has excited because of the act of debated standard laws is vague status of women. The treatment of society which towards ladies and in conceding them rights is a subject of civil argument. Truly women are constantly symbolized as the demonstration of prevailing individuals. It influences women from a wide range of foundation. This intrusive issue keeps on expanding the number casualties who because of the subject of dread and social weight, constantly kept themselves very. Once in a while, women are assaulted by outsiders, however frequently repulsive physical and passionate torment. Sometimes, women are attacked by strangers, but most often dreadful physical and emotional pain.

Women all around the globe are always prone to inhuman acts and punishments. Domestic violence, rape, trafficking, etc. are some heinous crimes committed against women. Out the various forms of domestic violence which is taking place across the world, honour killing is at the top of the list.

What is honour killing? ‘Honour Killing’ of women can be defined as acts of murder in which a women is killed for her actual or perceived immoral behaviour. Such immoral behaviour may take the form of marital infidelity, refusing to submit to an arranged marriage. Would you kill for the sake of preserving your honour?  Some families would go as far as killing their own blood in order to keep their family name pristine. Around five thousand women are murdered in the name of honour killing every year as recorded by United Nations, approximately 1,000 women victims in India and nearly 1,100 in Pakistan- the victims were commonly shot or attacked with acid[1]. Honour Killing can be gone back to old Roman Empire where the patriarch of a family claimed the privilege of life and passing for any individual from his home. Women pregnant without any father present were frequently executed. Usually once the family’s reputation discoloured it can never be fixed, honour is a huge aspect of the culture, so the killing of the individual related with it is important to secure the notoriety of alternate individuals from the family Honour Killing continues to be a major issue in many countries as teens have now started to follow the new customs of today’s world.

Honour Killing began long time ago, during the time of Roman Empire, the patriarch had the right to end the life of anyone in his house. Women accused of dishonourable offence like adultery and premarital intercourse were often killed to keep the family reputation untarnished. Killing a person suspected of bringing dishonour upon the family was considered a heroic act. The idea of honour killing comes from ‘blood cleanses honour’. Dishonour associated with a family was not to be taken lightly then and even now also.


Mine honour is my life; both grow in one; Take honour from me and my life is done.” – William Shakespeare

‘Honour’ crime is a pattern of conduct cutting across communities, cultures, religions and nations and manifested in a range of forms of violence directed mainly against women and committed by those who aim to protect the reputation of their family or community. These acts can include acid throwing, battering, rape, forced marriages, genital mutilation, domestic imprisonment, prescriptive dress codes, and barred access to education and the workplace.

If we look upon the causes, the notion of killing a women basically arises from discriminating in against children and women. Women have no rights to decide, once a decision is made by the family, any challenge to that decision is taken as challenge to culture, family and their values.

The motivations for honour crimes vary from culture to culture, all having different purposes to commit this crime. Some major reasons are as follows:

Belongingness – A motivational drive for respect is energized by a want to obey moral societal codes and in this manner develop an upstanding character in the public eye. The sentiment devotion is natural, thus one will act in ways that meet with the endorsement, behavioural desires, or estimations of the gathering to which one wishes to have a place, and will along these lines be seen decidedly by people or gatherings that are given significance. This is as per Maslow’s belongingness require. There is additionally an association with social character. Defying social tradition brings the danger of losing one’s way of life as an individual from a specific social gathering.

Patriarchal society– In a society ruled by men, manliness is reinforced by the idea of respect. A man’s capacity to secure his respect is judged by his family and neighbours. In the event that debased, the main way men can re-establish it is to evacuate the stain that expedited disgrace him. The changing social and monetary status of women has additionally been utilized to clarify the events of respect killings. Women who have increased monetary autonomy conflict with the man centric culture, and undermine the expert of male individuals in the family. This move towards more prominent duty regarding women and less for their fathers may make the male individuals in the family demonstration in harsh and now and then savage behaviour keeping in mind the end goal to recover this expert.

Objectification of women  The view of women as property, enables the family to easily commit murder, because her life is not deemed important, and can easily be ended. Thus, honour killings occur because society in general places has a very low value of female life.

Cohesiveness of the family – Due to the excessive cohesiveness of the family as a group, the actions of one member affect all the others. Women are seen as the weaker point of any family and repositories of the man’s or family’s honour, and they must guard their virginity and chastity. In the case of married women, fidelity and monogamy are the determining forces of both her and her husband’s honour. An unchaste woman affects not just one victim, but her entire family.

Status anxiety – It has been contended that family respect is attached to social standing and portability, and financial open doors. ‘Ghairat’ (what is hallowed and sacred) is Izzat (respect, pride) and this accompanies cash and property. Furthermore, if this respect is disregarded, at that point it is defended to murder and kick the bucket for respect. To a huge degree, respect killings are connected to an outrageous type of ‘status nervousness’ which is the dread of losing status, and includes the want to secure it.

Social customs– In the social orders where it happens, there is a neurotic frailty in the general population, set apart by a consistent strain to comply with strict social traditions because of a paranoid fear of losing face, and of being segregated by whatever remains of the group. In a few societies, the women of the family are viewed as encapsulation of its honour, so there is a monstrous weight on them to carry on ‘legitimately’. These social traditions incorporate, never drawing in regard for themselves, dressing unobtrusively, never conversing with men outside the family, and above all, staying away from sex before marriage (or outside marriage, once they are marry) and consenting to wed an accomplice picked by their family. There have likewise been many instances of gay young men being executed to protect the family ‘honour.’

The ‘crime’ of falling in love – Most honour killings are a punishment for the completely natural and healthy human instinct of falling in love. Family members in these cases strongly disapprove of any affiliation with a member of a different caste, or with a stranger not approved by their parents.

Fear of public shame – Another motive for honour killings is covering up shameful incidents, such as extramarital relationships, rape, incest or other sexual abuse. This corresponds to the excessive fear of public shame that many people face, and find honour killing a solution to it.

Cultures of honour –Without systematized laws and government usage of such laws, it was up to men to ensure their property themselves. Hence, they needed to build up a notoriety for durability as fierce requital for wrongdoing was valuable. This accentuation on quality and power demonstrates that the capacity to force one’s will on others is an important attribute in a few societies of the world. In such societies, a fair man is one who keeps others, particularly women, in their legitimate place.

Tainted moral code – While many cultures view sexual impurity as incorrect, some individuals elevate this wrong to the breach of a sacred moral code, similar to killing an innocent person. Sexual deviances like infidelity, immodesty, or homosexual acts are considered breaches of this sacred code. Those who perform such acts defile themselves and in some cultures, their impurity may taint not only themselves, but their families too, and they would have to be punished or killed to cleanse this stain.

Existential vulnerability and incompleteness – Honour killing stems from a sense of existential vulnerability, or doubts about one’s place in the world. It is this sense of lack in completeness which creates the need for belonging and status, and the subsequent paranoid fear of losing them.

Sincerity of other women– wrongdoings against women are regularly supported, and even executed, by other women. A hypothesis is that a few women may feel obliged to support the way of life of respect openly with a specific end goal to keep up their security and status, while secretly contradicting it. Women may feel weight not exclusively to demonstrate their value by sticking to the ethical codes of the way of life, yet in addition to denounce the individuals who don’t, to additionally strengthen their clear earnestness.

Honour Killing is not only observed against women but also against men in some cases like if the man marries with any women who is not accepted by the society, or he is involved in any unusual sexual activities or if he is a gay. Such act of men discolour the family’s honour and are punished for it by taking their life.

The disgraceful status of third gender what we see today is also one kind of honour crime committed by the families. If any women gives birth to such a child who is a third gender, it is considered as dishonour to the family and the couple disowns the child.

Killing of girl child or female feticide is another type of honour killing happening in some backward parts of the country, the little one who is no ware at fault, still she had to pay for it. Giving birth to a girl child is considered as shame.


There has been no convention or custom of honour killings in India. It is a remote term and should be depicted as brutal killing. Killers have turned out to be intense. They are killing their own relatives and friends and family visible to everyone, with no regret and knowing completely well that no law or legislator will set out touch them. The KhapPanchayats are in news once more. Also, they are not by any means the only ones we need to fault. Honour Killing is spreading quickly. Killing is winding up so basic in our acculturated society, which is all the more frequently spoke to by a purported “urban India’, a “sparkling India” and such other fabulous and all around instituted expressions.

In India unfortunately Honour Killing has become common place. The Supreme Court observed, “to kill or physically assault a young man or women who marries against their wishes is wholly illegal.” If the family is unhappy with the acts of any member the most that they can do is to cut all social relations with that person. There is nothing ‘Honourable’ in Honour Killing.

India, the largest democracy in the world, we hear of “honour killings” in addition to rape, murder, terrorist activity and so. Is this the kind of development and progress that will take us forward? Is it not time the youth get their freedom as a right, not as a favour. What is still worse is when the community that they belong to seems to disown them, does not support them, treats them like outcast…and does not think twice before killing them? The problem is not just the KhapPanchayats, today also very few of us are ready for inter-cast or inter-religion marriages.

Forced marriage and honour killing are often intertwined. Marriages can be forced to save honour, and women can be murdered for rejecting a forced marriage and marrying a partner of their choice who is not accepted by the family.

In India Honour Killing happen with regularity in Punjab, Haryana and western Utter Pradesh.[2]They happen not only within the Muslim community but also among Sikhs and Hindus.[3] The demand for new law defining Honour Killing is made repeatedly with the objective of stamping out this social evil.

In some other parts of India, notably West Bengal, honour killings ceased about a century ago, largely due to the activism and influence of reformists such as Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy.[4]Among higher cast, marriages with members of other castes can provoke the killing of the married couple and immediate family member. The Indian state of Punjab has a large number of honour killings. According to data compiled by the Punjab Police, 34 honour killings were reported in the state between 2008 and 2010 while 10 in 2008, 20 in 2009, and four in 2010. Cases include a 16-year-old girl, Imrana, from Bhojpur who was set on fire inside her house in a case of what the police called ‘moral vigilantism’. The victim had screamed for help for about 20 minutes before neighbours arrived, only to find her smouldering body. She was admitted to a local hospital, where she later died from her injury.[5]

In 1990 the National Commission for Women set up a statutory body in order to address the issues of honour killings among some ethnic groups in North India. This body reviewed constitutional, legal and other provisions as well as challenges women face. The NCW’s activism has contributed significantly towards the reduction of honour killings in rural areas of North India. According to Pakistani activists HinaJilani and Eman M. Ahmed, Indian women are considerably better protected against honour killings by Indian law and government than Pakistani women, and they have suggested that governments of countries affected by honour killings use Indian law as a model in order to prevent honour killings in their respective societies.[6]


Considering the training in religious viewpoint, the agents uncovered that religion was being utilized to legitimize routine with regards to Honour Killing. It is noteworthy to uncover that none of the delegates saw Honour Killing as a religious practice. They articulated that Islam never dictated the unethical traditional practices like Honour Killing. One of the representatives quoted a Hadith articulated by HazratSaad Bin Hada. He told to Prophet Muhammad “I have seen my wife in illicit condition, what I have to do, the Prophet forbid to punish her”. They illustrated that even on proving the condition, the punishment defined was flogging, no one had right to kill the other one.

Rafi UllahShahab was a renowned religious scholar and the member of Executive Committee on the legislation and repeal of Hudood Ordinance by the National Commission on the Status of Women, Pakistan. He concludes regarding Honour Killing. “Thus, while killing accused women is not Islamic by any standard, the believers are not even allowed to divorce them without establishing their accusation. We profess our love for Islam and demand its enforcement in the country, but ignore Quranic injunctions about the rights of women. Dozens of innocent women are slaughtered in the name of ‘honour’ in our society. Almighty Allah eliminated the evil of Jahilliah (ignorance) period, and thus, no case of so-called ‘honour’ killing was reported in the early period of Islam”. The representatives identified lack of religious knowledge as one of the factors to misinterpret Islamic injunction into cultural justifications of Honour Killing practice.


There is no specific law in India which deals with this gruesome act of honour killings and any punishments regarding the same. The Law Commission of India disapproved the proposal of the Government to amend section 300 of IPC to include ‘honour killing’ within the definition of murder on the ground that the existing provision ae adequate to take care of the  situation leading to such killing[7].Honour killings derive strong sanctions from the society. Thus, honour killing, have one of the strongest supports of masses. Honour Killings are homicide and murder which are serious crimes under the Indian Penal Code, Section 299 of the IPC, deals with culpable homicide while Section 300, deals with culpable homicide amounting to murder.[8] Article 14 of the Indian constitution guarantees to every person the right to equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws. Every person, whatever be his rank or position or gender is subject to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts[9].  Honour Killings are thus grossly against this very constitutional right provided for the protection of citizens. As already stated earlier, honour killings are mainly directed towards woman and thus give rise to gender inequality. This brings us to Article 15 of the Indian constitution. Article 15(1) prohibits the state from discriminating against citizens on grounds only of religion, race, sex, caste, and place of birth or any of them. The right guaranteed in clause (1) is conferred on a citizen as an individual, and is available against his being subjected to discrimination in the matter of rights, privileges and immunities pertaining to him as a citizen generally”[10]. However in many communities across India where Honour killing is prevalent, wives and daughters are expected to be subordinate, to their fathers and husbands, and even their own sons.

Though no bill was introduced yet the debates in Parliament have given a clear idea about what these amendments can be. The amendments proposed do not merely relate to the amendments of IPC (Sec 300 and Sec 354) but amendments under Evidence Act, 1872 (Sec 105) and Special Marriages Act, 1954 are also being considered to give effectual implementation to these new laws. Firstly, the Government has proposed addition of a “fifth clause” to Sec 300 under IPC. The proposed fifth clause says, “if it is done by any person or persons acting in concert with, or at the behest of, a member of the family or a member of a body or group of the caste or clan or community or caste panchayat (by whatever name called) in the belief that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or caste or clan or community or caste panchayats”[11]. In the explanations given for the clause, the proposal says that “dishonour” and “perceived to have brought dishonour” will include “acts of any person adopting a dress code which is unacceptable to his or her family or caste or clan or community or caste panchayat”. Secondly, the Government proposes to make amendments in Indian Evidence Act (Sec 105) which will bring the onus on KhapPanchayats to prove their innocence in the cases related to honour crimes. And the KhapPanchayat or any group which orders for slaying or any other harm to anyone and the person who actually committed the offence will be made jointly liable for the crime[12]. Third main amendment is related to Special Marriage Act. There are talks to do away with 30 day notice period under Special Marriage Act for any inter-caste or interrelation marriages as required under Sec 5 of the said Act[13].Though the laws are made with great concern by the government but there are many laws which are existing against the rights of a women, these laws need amendment and proper care should be taken so that it serves best for the country.


Women has the right to live the way they want. Women are not property, nor are they incomplete. Women have the same opportunity to thrive in society as does any male, but some customs and traditions of some cultures prevent women from soaring to such heights.

Human rights violations against women have, for too long been denied the attention and concern of international organisations, national governments, press. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of girls and women continue to fatal inhuman activities. Human rights violation against women must be documented, published and stopped.

The need of honour is to adjust absorption and combination. While coordination enables enough space for settlers to protect significant components of their way of life, it doesn’t enable them to do as such infringing upon law.

We say we are developing, we are modernising, but where do we see this development when we are still trapped in such backward thing that an adult cannot even take decisions of their life freely. Modernising does not only mean to build high buildings, industries, etc. the actual meaning of modernising lies in the thinking of an individual and the mint set of the society. An individual should think rationally in all aspects and understand and respect the rights of others. Right to privacy is an important aspect to curb this social evil, and should be known and understood by all.

Nevertheless, the course for positive change is by and by dug in with profound obstructions. In any case, this change is conceivable if endeavours are made for changing the outlook of the outsiders towards better combination and the legislature is better prepared to recognize wrongdoing of honour from other domestic violations.

[1] Daniele Selby, Honour Killing: Everything you should know, (Jan 5,2018, 5:30pm)

[2]More than 1000 honour killing in India every year: experts, The Times Of India, July 4 , 2010

[3] ibid

[4] Honour Killing In India, (Jan5,2018)

[5] Bill in Parliament to curb honour killing: Moily, (Jan5, 2018)

[6]BeenaSarwar, Pakistan: no compromise on murder, oct,17,2004

[7]Alka Bhatia, Honour Killing:its social aspect,(Jan6,2018,9;30p.m)

[8]Chandrachud J. &Manohar J., Ratanlal and Dhjirajlal: The Indian Penal Code 421-435 (Lexis Nexis, New Delhi) (1896) (30th Ed., 2007)

[9]V. N. Shukla, Constitution of India 37 (Eastern Book Co.) (1950)  (10th Ed., 2003)

[10] Govt. to consider proposals to tackle honour killings (Jan6, 2013, 10:14p.m),

[11]GoM to look into ‘honour killings’ (Jan 6,2018, 10:30p.m),

[12]Smita Gupta, GoM to look into Honour Killings   (Jan. 6th, 2018, 10:34),


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