Founder

Dr. Narendra Dabholkar

Editor

Prabhakar Nanawaty

Suman Oak

Should Khap Panchayats be banned in India?

Khap Panchayats have no legal recognition and they interfere with normal functioning of society by making decisions. It is not the job of Khap Panchayats to make decisions in Republic of India.

Answer 1

Yes, Absolutely yes. You still need justice from 600 AD or are you moving to be a civilized country?
On 24 May, 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister fled their village in Baghpat district with their family, fearing violence after their brother eloped with a married woman from a Jat (dominant caste) family. On 30 May, their house in the village was ransacked. On 30 July, members of a village khap panchayat– an unelected all-male village council – ordered that Meenakshi Kumari and her sister be raped and paraded naked, with their faces blackened, as punishment for the actions of their brother. The family continue to fear for their safety. Another brother, Sumit Kumar, said, “In the panchayat, the Jat decision is final. They don’t listen to us. The police don’t listen to us. The police said anyone can be murdered now.” On 5 August, Meenakshi Kumari filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking protection for her family so that they can return to their home. The family also says they are concerned for the safety of the Jat woman who eloped with her brother, who claims that she is pregnant with his child. Meenakshi Kumari’s father has lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, alleging harassment by the police and the dominant caste family. On 18 August, the Supreme Court ordered Uttar Pradesh authorities to reply to the petition by 15 September. “After we went to the Supreme Court, the villagers are even more aggressive,” said Sumit Kumar.

Answer 2

Oh really? And what law will you use to ban them? The Constitution promises freedom of peaceful assembly and of expression, so how exactly do you plan to do that?

Khap Panchayats are not illegal juntas, they are age-old (Much older than Republic of India, that is) social institutions to which subscription is voluntary, their decisions are not binding, and people routinely do knock on Courts when they fail to deliver a decision, or are not satisfied with it. Khap Panchayats sort out a plethora of social and legal issues in villages starting from petty fisticuffs and minor disagreements to grazing land, playground, water and fodder distribution in villages, land disputes, marital disputes, division of ancestral property, and common-resource management in villages and most noticeably, social customs. Do you really want all these cases to go to the overburdened judiciary, and take several years to resolve, by what time the dispute would have become irrelevant anyway? The rural-folk neither have the money, nor the expertise to handle these situation in a court of law.

Plus there are several other things: People who readily stand as witness in a Panchayat full of their peers, and speak truth, would feel way more uncomfortable doing it in a court. In many cases, especially land dispute, there are no documentary evidence, all the evidence exists is the elders and their witness to the past. Panchayats handles delicate issues like marriages and divorces/estrangements with swiftness and consensus of both the parties, they are not illegitimate bodies who push their own form of justice on the weak and unsupported. Every person is allowed to present their version, witnesses, and proofs — Khap Panchayats are drivers of the village republics Gandhi wanted in our country.

Contrary to popular perception, Khap Panchayats don’t order murders, they are committed by the overzealous family members of the eloped couples (majorly the girl’s side), because they feel dishonoured at their acts. The strongest sentences given by Khap Panchayat are the Excommunications, that the violaters be given the silent treatment by the rest of the village, no business, of any kind are allowed with them. They are, however, allowed the usage of all the benefits allowed to general public (Roads/Streets/Wells/Temples/River Water/Public Transport). Other usually stringent advice that is given is to leave the village (The alternate to excommunication).

Another thing, not all Khap Panchayats work in tandem, most of them are village/Gotra specific, and they are inherently democratic institutions. Panches are decided by the people themselves, and any particular orthodox Panch is likely to be removed in favour of someone more reconciliatory. My village, for instance, has a very reform-driven Panchayat, we have inter-caste marriages, love-marriages, adopted kids, and there is no institutionalised casteism. Compared with that, our neighbouring villages are known for their orthodoxy. So, not all Khap Panchayats are bad. And you can choose which one to follow. For all the noise it generated, that Khap Panchayat which banned Jeans, Phones and noodles for women didn’t find any takers in my village.

Today I hear, that a retired Supreme Court judge would be probed in a sexual harassment case. Will you also suggest that Supreme Court be closed down because of this? This condescending attitude of people who have no inkling about how the rural India functions and their Top-Down approach about solving all problems it encounters is very very disheartening.

If you really want to ban some organisations, why don’t you go after the Shiv Sena, the known baiter of weak and poor, the height of Goondagiri? Or Vishwa Hindu Parishad? Or those millions of Babaji’s and their religious trusts, starting from Asaram to Nithyananda and who not. Believe me, they have done way way more harm to the Republic of India, then Khap Panchayats ever did.

Answer 3

No .Absolutely not. It is against our fundamental rights i e freedom of speech.These persons should be taught about our law, administration and constitution. They are following set social traditions and customs. They have to be made up-to-date to understand the modern requirements and should  be able to change themselves according to time. Modern Education may make desired changes. No doubt the govt is making efforts in this time but it will take some more time to suit the present requirements.
Mostly modern khap leaders are now educated and they had left many old traditional customs like not allowing girl child to send to schools, girl foeticide, caste rivalry or less such things are in news . Intercaste marriages and martiages in same gotra etc may also be allowed in due course of time. There is shortage in reporting the incidents of  brutality towards women , domestic violence etc . Govt policies for women empowerment is working fairly in this aim too.

Answer 4

Yes definitely!! Saw their interviews on TV and YouTube, I’m really surprised why our stupid government doesn’t take any action do anything.These uneducated and illetrate old farts claim that they’re maintaining the “purity” of their race by conducting panchayats to ensure a marriage between same gothras.If the girl marries someone from different gothra,the girl and the guy are subjected to flogging,stoning to death etc by their own parents!!! Seriously,What the fuck is happening in this country? How is this democratic?The most messed up part is that the parents and the local  police are fine with it.And what’s even more shocking is that some people are fine with it by tagging it as “freedom of expression”.So I can easily assume that togaida and owiasi have freedom of expression as well.Last but not the least, what happened to the “freedom of expression” rights for the girl who wants to marry someone from different gothra/caste?

Answer 5

Of course it should be banned… Their ideologies are almost like taliban… They are like talibanis minus AK-47 and grenades…

How to handle these assholes..?

Well.. the old people can’t be reformed… these illiterate bunch of shitheads will die in passage of time… The sooner… the better…

The younger generation should be targeted… reforms can be brought via them only… Govt should stress a lot on women literacy, female foeticide should be strictly dealt with..

Maximum exposure should be given to youth through social networking platforms… Its only when they will interact on social networking platform with the entire world, they will realize that they are living in a patriarchal society and their ideologies are of stone age and completely outdated…

Once they feel, they have lagged far behind the modern times, only then they will at least think of reforming. Rather than being ashamed of their barbaric practices, curently they are proud of their so called shitty caste system…

They should be made aware how the world views them… and what sort of scumbags they are… I’m ashamed that people who treat women like these still exist in free India….. The khap’s are both… Threat and Embarrassment to humanity…

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.