This Article is written by Jahnvi Sharma (4th-year law student at Jims engineering management Technical campus Greater Noida)
Table of Contents
An honor killing or shame killing is killing a person either out of the family or any member of the family basically to save or restore the honor or dignity of the family. Since the civilization of society, people have defined some rules for everyone to follow. Like who to love, whom to befriend, what job one should do, what a female and a male should do, and many more.
According to some people, categories are divided according to which a person should love. A person should only love the person belonging to the same community. Anyone who loves someone out of their community should be dead because this brings shame to their family and community. Honor killing was created from tribal customs. Honor killing is associated with religion, caste, sexuality, and other reasons as well. Generally, according to various reports usually, a female or a girl child of the family gets killed by a male member in the name of saving the honor of the family and those killed will often be more liberal than the murderer rather than genuinely “dishonorable”. Shame killing is not only combined with the tribal or rural area only, but they are also in urban areas.
In layman language, honor killing is the killing of a person of a family who does something which is against the societal norms and brings shame to the name of the family and the community.This is a very serious problem going on which needs very strict action to be taken against such horrible things to save the lives of innocent people.
CAUSES OF HONOR KILLING
There are many causes behind the concept of honor killing and multitudinous elements interacting with each other.
- Perception of women.
- Marriage out of caste.
- Loving someone out of marriage.
- Getting engaged in some activities which are against the norms of society.
- Pregnancy before marriage.
- Inter religion marriage.
- Same-sex marriage.
- Inappropriate dressing.
Let’s discuss these factors in brief:
PERCEPTION OF WOMEN:
For many ages, women are only considered as an object for the man to justify their status and symbol in society. First, they are considered as a responsibility on their father and then on their husband and after the husband, then on their children. It is like they don’t have any right to choose for themselves in life. They are always being controlled by the male species. Honor killings are strongly a result of the misogynist views of society towards women. They are considered as property to the male and not as human beings in society. They are expected to submit themselves to the male species of their society and failing to do so will lead to severe violence for the women. It is taken as a way to confirm the submissiveness of the women and to prevent disobedience. They are considered as the asset of the male of the family no matter the religion, caste, color, etc. they are destined to be ruled by them and their fate is in their hand. They can trade them as a commodity as well if they want to. In such an atmosphere, women are not given any right to their life, body, and sexuality. First, they live according to their father and brother and then according to their husband and son. In short, we can say that males of the family-run them like a puppet of their hands.
MARRIAGE OUT OF CASTE:
This factor plays a major role in the case of honor killing. People often kill the females of their family in the name of saving their family’s reputation and name. They think that women cannot decide who they will marry or not. This right only belongs to their father or any other male of the family. Marrying a person out of one’s caste is considered a sin for them as it will bring shame and bad luck to their family and the whole community as well.
They think that marrying someone out of the caste will give the girls freedom which they don’t deserve and it will be a bad example for the other girls as well. So, to set an example killing is not at all a bad thing for them. Not only girls sometimes, but the boys also meet the same fate. The concept of family honor is extremely important in many communities worldwide. The UN estimates that 5,000 women and girls are murdered each year in honor killings, which are widely reported in the Middle East and South Asia, but they occur in countries as varied as Brazil, Canada, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Egypt, Sweden, Syria, Uganda, United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries. In honor cultures, holding reputation is an essential social ethic. Men are assumed to act tough and be intolerant of disloyalty and dishonor. Whereas, women are expected to be loyal to the family and be chaste.
LOVING SOMEONE OUT OF MARRIAGE:
For a girl, choosing someone of her own choice is anyway considered a sin as it is assumed as a stroke of bad luck and shame to the family. On top of it, if a person loves someone other than their spouse is asking for a death wish here. Love out of marriage is a sin that will put dirt on the whole society. So to save the whole community, honor killing is considered as a solution.
PREGNANCY BEFORE MARRIAGE:
Pregnancyplays a major role in a women’s life. It is considered a right is given to the man to bless the woman by giving her the right to give birth to his children. But if a woman is pregnant before marriage, she is given the tag of characterless. How can she have sex with some guy out of wedlock? Not only do the women face humiliation but that unborn child is also given many names and gets looked down on by society. They are called bastards or illegitimate children.
Recently, a new law has been passed allowing the marriage between same-sex i.e., a guy can marry a guy and a girl can marry a girl. It is their right given by the constitution to them and nobody can take it away. But the patriarchal society looks down upon such people. They think marriage can only happen between a man and a woman. Nothing else is allowed. So this factor also triggers honor killing a lot.
PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO THE CASE OF HONOR KILLING
- The Indian Penal Code,1860, Section 300, simply mentions murder, i.e. killing of any person to kill him or causing him any injury which would result in the death of the person.
- The Indian Majority Act, 1857, section 3 mentions that every individual attains person majority at the age of 18 years, they are allowed to marry whoever they want after the age of 18 in the case of girls and 21 in the case of boys. This act becomes applicable, when any ‘khapPanchayat’ tries to separate a married couple, and result in a violation of this provision.
- The Special Marriage Act, 1954, Act was specially enacted for marriages that are not normal, i.e. inter-religion marriages, and marriages with foreigners, which makes such marriages legal.
- Protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005, this act was enacted to prevent any kind of violence against women, by their family members, and provide a safe environment for women.
These are the provisions violated when any case of honor killing occurs. But there is no special enacted and coded law on honor killing, people have been committing it to set an example that, if theydo anything which is against their rules, they will be punished and killed. But the judiciary has certainly given some judgment related to honor killing.