With the key States — Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — yet to respond to the Centre's letter asking for their comments and suggestions on the draft Bill on honour killings, the Group of Ministers, which met on Thursday, was unable to progress beyond a decision to send the States a reminder.

Emerging from the less than hour-long meeting here, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists that he hoped that the States would respond soon, as the government was keen on introducing the Bill this session. Indeed, he pointed out, only a couple of States/Union Territories, including Dadra and Nagar Haveli, had written back.

Asked whether the government was reconsidering the clause, which says all members of a caste panchayat would be held guilty in the event of an honour killing, Mr. Chidambaram said, “Let the States first reply.” He expressed the hope that it would be possible to hold another GoM meeting at the end of next week.

Key proviso

Earlier, government sources told The Hindu that law enforcement officers would find it hard to implement this proviso — “all members of a body or group of the caste or clan or community or caste panchayat, ordering the commission of an act by which death is caused, shall be deemed guilty of having committed such an act by virtue of their association with such caste panchayat or body or group of the caste or clan or community.”

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