Defiant leaders of various khap (caste) panchayats have condemned the court ruling in the Manoj-Babli honour killing case and pledged their complete support to those convicted.

In an assembly on Tuesday, they demanded an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, terming its present version ‘non-scientific.'

The assembly was convened in the wake of the landmark verdict of a Karnal court on March 30 awarding the death penalty to five for killing a married couple, Manoj (23) and Babli (19) in 2007, as they belonged to the same sub-caste (gotra).

Five members of the girl's family were given the death sentence while the head of a ‘khap' panchayat, which had ordered the killing, was sentenced to life imprisonment and a driver who had kidnapped them was given seven years' jail.

“The Hindu Marriage Act needs to be amended so that it can evaluate if the couple should be getting married or not. The present form of law will give a marriage certificate and later provide police protection to even a brother sister!” said Om Parkash Dhankhad.