Honour Killing

Honour Killing

Honour killings, a grim reality in many parts of the world, epitomize the tragic clash between tradition and human rights. Rooted in patriarchal norms, these acts of violence against women stem from a warped sense of family honour. They reflect a broader issue of gender inequality and the control of women’s lives. To combat this scourge, we must enact legal reforms, challenge traditional attitudes through education, empower women economically, and provide support services for victims. International condemnation and grassroots efforts are also vital. Only by dismantling these deep-seated beliefs can we create societies where every individual, regardless of gender, can live free from fear and violence.

Honour killings, a grotesque violation of women’s rights, persist globally despite legal prohibitions. In India, urgent action is imperative. The government has enacted laws against these heinous acts and provided protection for at-risk women. Yet, honour killings, driven by a desire to preserve family honour, continue to target women who defy traditional norms. These brutal crimes, ranging from stoning to burning, epitomize gender-based violence. Efforts to eradicate this abhorrent practice must be unwavering, safeguarding the dignity and safety of all women.


  1. Inter-caste or Inter-religious Love: Love, a universally cherished emotion, becomes a trigger for honour killings when individuals fall in love outside their caste, gotra, or religion. This highlights the contradiction between the sacredness of love and the brutality of honour killings.
  2. Unacceptable Dressing Choices: The notion that someone’s life could be taken away simply because they choose to dress in a manner deemed unacceptable by their family or community underscores the absurdity and cruelty of honour killings. It questions the value placed on individual autonomy and the right to self-expression.
  3. Heterosexual or Homosexual Acts: The disproportionate targeting of girls and women in honour killings related to engaging in heterosexual or homosexual acts reveals the deeply ingrained gender inequalities and biases within societies where honour killings occur.

Legal Framework Against Honour Killings in India

In India, the scourge of honour killings persists despite the absence of specific legislation targeting this heinous crime. However, a robust legal framework exists, drawing upon constitutional provisions and existing laws to combat this grave injustice.

Constitutional Safeguards: The bedrock of India’s legal system, the Constitution, enshrines several fundamental rights pertinent to honour killings. Articles such as Article 14 (right to equality), Articles 15(1) & 15(3) (prohibition of discrimination), Article 17 (abolition of untouchability), and Article 21 (right to life) provide a strong foundation for challenging honour killings as violations of basic human rights.

Indian Penal Code (IPC): Despite the absence of specific legislation, honour killings are addressed under the IPC. Section 300 of the Code categorizes honour killings as murder, punishable by rigorous imprisonment for life or even the death penalty. Moreover, provisions related to abetment of murder (Sections 107–111), criminal conspiracy (Sections 120A and 120B), attempt to murder (Sections 307-308), and culpable homicide (Sections 299–304) ensure a comprehensive legal framework for prosecuting perpetrators and accomplices of honour killings.

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: Recognizing the vulnerability of marginalized communities, including victims of honour killings, this act serves as a potent weapon against such atrocities. By imposing stringent penalties and providing specific protections for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, this legislation supplements the legal arsenal in combating honour killings and ensuring justice for all victims.

Conclusion: While India’s legal framework offers robust mechanisms to address honour killings, the persistence of this crime underscores the need for enhanced enforcement and societal action. Strengthening the implementation of existing laws, coupled with proactive measures to challenge regressive societal norms, is imperative to eradicate this menace and uphold the principles of justice, equality, and human dignity.

In essence, India’s legal response to honour killings reflects a steadfast commitment to safeguarding fundamental rights and promoting social justice, yet concerted efforts are required to translate these principles into meaningful action on the ground.

Honour Killing: A Global Crisis


  • Honour killings, recognized as a grave concern by entities like the European Parliamentary Assembly, continue to plague societies worldwide.
  • Legal frameworks often exhibit discriminatory practices against women, evident in provisions such as the limited scope of the provocation defence and certain interpretations of Islamic laws.

Case Studies:

  • In Turkey, a harrowing incident saw a young woman’s throat slit in a town square as punishment for receiving a love dedication on the radio.
  • Morocco’s Penal Code contains provisions granting leniency to husbands who inflict harm upon their wives, resulting in an alarming number of deaths annually, estimated at around 200.

India’s Context:

  • India grapples with its own epidemic of honour killings, deeply entrenched within its cultural milieu.
  • Despite recommendations from advocacy groups like the Domestic Women’s Association, governmental action remains elusive, with no specific legislation enacted to address the issue comprehensively.

Societal Factors:

  • Honour killings in India, like elsewhere, are often fuelled by entrenched societal norms based on caste, religion, and tradition.
  • These factors strip individuals of their autonomy and perpetuate a cycle of violence and oppression.


  • Immediate and concerted efforts are imperative to combat honour killings globally, necessitating both legal reforms and profound societal change.
  • Failure to confront this issue risks the continued perpetuation of senseless violence and injustice, undermining the fabric of civilized society.



Date: 20th March, 2024