Jul 23, 2020

Khap is not a modern or recent concept; it is an ancient concept which has taken its references back from Rig Vedic times. The Jat Community have social-political groups which comprise the upper caste and elderly men from this community. A group of villagers organised by caste and geography are traditionally titled Khaps. Some of the elderly people in the village gather and for the quasi-judicial body to look on to the day to day activities or decide upon the day to day civil matters like marriage, non-payment of debts or issues related to property. They set rules and consolidate their position and power covering area comprising a cluster of villages. These groups have no legal status or are no sanctioned under the law. These groups regulate the Khap formed under the same clan or sub-caste of the village they belong. These Panchayats generally belong from UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonepat, Bhiwani, Karnal and Hisar districts of Haryana. And these Panchayats are typically in the headlines because of the decisions or actions taken by them in relation to honour killing cases or any other case but protecting the society from the evil practices. They have the thinking that marriages within the same gotra or even gotra from the same village should be banned because according to them, a boy and a girl belonging to the same gotra are brothers and sisters.

According to the decree of Khap Panchayat, those boys and young girls who try to perform inter-caste or religion marriages or marry in the same gotra or marry within the same village are said to be the violation of marriage as a custom which prevails in the society by the young couple and should be punished for the same. The villagers support these Khaps because they deliver the verdict in a single sitting as the court cases which linger on for years and because of efficiency. The villagers have immense faith in the decision of Khap Community.The exact origin of the Khap is still unknown, but it is an age-old institution. The most highlighted issue is the killing of an individual in the name of honour of society. Many Cases have been in the limelight by the media.The first significant problem with the Khap Panchayats is their being the guardians of communal honour. The belief in having to protect the honour of the village and its men by jealously guarding the virtue of women places women as mere pawns of familial pride where one can be exchanged for another. There are innumerable numbers of incidents that take place in the villages in which Khap Panchayat have a vital role to play.

An incident which took place in Haryana where a Dalit girl had committed suicide after she was allegedly gang-raped by four youths instead of condemning the incident, the Khap had to say that girls should get married early to avoid rapes. Khap had nothing to do with the discipline of perpetrators in rapes or about the Punishment that was to be given to the four youth who committed Rape.There was another case of Honour Killing that took place in the village of Karora in Kaithal District where Manoj and Babli were brutally murdered by relatives of Babli of the same panchayat for marrying in the same gotra and iktats in June 2007. Death Sentence was awarded to five of Babali's family members who sent shock amongst the Cate Panchayat leaders as this reminded them that they were not above the Constitution. Supreme Court laid out a few directives to prevent these horrifying incidents across the nation to take place. Khap Panchayats have proved to be an essential body among the community of jats.


In the Nimriwali village of Haryana, Monica who was an 18 years old girl who married with her lover Rinku they were also brutally killed by her father, brother,uncle, and cousins, and hanged in front of their house it was just happened because of the guidance of the Khap Panchayat of the village the family member had taken this step.

Another case that had taken place in Jharkhand where there was a woman journalist of 22 years of age who belonged to the Brahmin caste who had fallen in love with a boy from another caste and thus, was brutally murdered in the name of honour. The Supreme Court declared the Khap Panchayats as illegal, saying that no assembly can interfere in a marriage between two consenting adults. A three-judge panel which was headed by Dipak Misra with AM Khanwilkar J. and DY Chandrachud J. said that "The punitive measures to deal with such an unlawful assembly will be in force until legislation comes into force".Taking in view the above cases it can be concluded people and law are not totally against the traditions which are being followed for so long by the people but they are only against the traditions which are treated as an end. The end is to achieve justice and for that tradition can be used as a means, but people are rather using it as an end in itself. Justice can only be achieved by not discriminating against gender. The traditions must only be used to guide people for their betterment and to help them progress but not for punishing them harshly. Then only the means and ends would be said to be justified. After seeing the above case laws, one thing is clear that the present society is far ahead of the thinking and the laws still followed by these people giving judgment through Khap Panchayat. So, in order to make the ruling right and in accordance with the present laws the thing that needs to be done is organising some awareness camps for these people so that they come to know what the present society thinks and what all current changes judiciary have adopted.