Cabinet decides to refer Khap Panchayat issue to GoM

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New Delhi, July 8 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Thursday decided to refer the controversial Khap Panchayat issue to a Group of Ministers (GoM).

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said: "The GoM will be set up to consider amendments to the law to deal with honour killings.

"The views of the state government would also be taken on board on the issue which is related to honour killings," Soni added.

Soni further said that the Bill on honour killings would be brought in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Under the present legal system, anyone participating in a Khap Panchayat could at best be roped in for being a party to the conspiracy that generally attracts a maximum punishment ranging from five years to a life term.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had sought a response from the central government and eight states including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand on the honour killing issue.

The apex court directed the authorities to explain measures being taken to prevent such heinous crimes.

Khap is a cluster of villages united by caste and geography. Its origins go back to the 14th century. It was started by upper caste Jats to consolidate their power and positions.

The main rule of a Khap is that boys and girls within a group of villages are considered siblings, and any violation of this compromises the community's honour and tradition, uniting punitive action.

Such action can include social boycott, imposition of fines, and in extreme cases, killing or forcing the guilty to commit suicide. (ANI)

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