The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday said the court verdict sentencing five persons to death for honour killing of a couple in Haryana would prove a “strong deterrent.”
Talking to journalists here, chairperson Girija Vyas said the entire community panchayat should be held responsible for such illegal acts.
“The acts of khap panchayats [caste councils] have been causing concern to us as well as civil society and the media for quite some time. We feel this verdict will give a new direction.”
The Commission was undertaking a study on the issue and would, along with NGOs, hold public awareness workshops to curb such incidents.
In Tuesday's landmark judgment, a Karnal court awarded capital punishment to five persons and life sentence to one for murdering a couple on the diktats of a self-styled community panchayat for marrying against societal norms.
Ms. Vyas said no caste panchayat could take the law into its own hands. If the illegal action of such panchayats led to the death of any person, the death penalty or life imprisonment should be imposed.
The All India Democratic Women's Association, in a statement here, said the Karnal court verdict was the outcome of the courageous stand taken by Manoj's widowed mother, and his sister, both of whom refused to buckle under threats and other intimidatory tactics. The AIDWA expressed the hope that the verdict would set a precedent for exemplary punishment in such pending cases. It would deter future crimes in the name of honour.
The association demanded that the aggrieved family be financially compensated as Manoj was its sole breadwinner.
The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) also welcomed the judgment. It impressed on lawmakers and courts to take serious cognisance of this type of crime, which, it said, was taking place with alarming frequency.
These ‘criminals', who acted in the name of caste or religion, should be expeditiously dealt with. “They violate not only the Constitution of the country, but also the rights of women and young people to lead their lives as they choose to,” the NFIW said in a statement.