For years, Khap Panchayats have claimed many innocent lives and given heinous verdicts against the so-called 'offenders'. But finally, the latest Supreme Court decision comes as a huge blow to the autocracy of self-proclaimed Khap Panchayats. The Apex Court on Tuesday declared that it was illegal for Khap Panchayats or parents or society to interfere in the decision of an adult man and an adult woman to marry. The Supreme Court bench ruled:
"An adult girl or boy can get into marriages of their choice and no Panchayat, Khap, individual, society or parents can question it" CJI Dipak MIsra @reporter_tv
— Dr. B. Balagopal (@balunair99) January 16, 2018
The Court further added:
CJI Dipak Misra condemns honour killing, #Khap panchayat: No adult man or woman who chooses to marry will be summoned by any khap or group. This is absolutely illegal and is condemned @the_hindu @abaruah64
— Krishnadas Rajagopal (@kdrajagopal) January 16, 2018
Also, the court warned the Centre that if it does not act towards banning Khap Panchayats, then the court will step in to do the same.
Khaps have made controversial statements in the past about banning cell phones, blaming fast food for rapes in India and advocating that legal age to get married be dropped from 18 to 16 years as that would 'make young women less susceptible to rape'. They've been plaguing the Indian society by acting as quasi-judicial bodies and pronouncing harsh punishments based on regressive, age-old customs.
Considering the regressive attitude of Khaps, Supreme Court's decision is a significant one because it holds an individual's right to freedom more important than any self-proclaimed institution. Marriage is a personal choice and every adult has the freedom to make that choice. The Khap Panchayat or for that matter, the neighbourhood aunty should not decide who you CAN marry and who you CAN NOT.
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