Monday 15 October 2012

A Reminder For States Where 'Khaps' Are Thriving

There is no disputing the deplorable truth, that the lawful Government of States, where something utterly unlawful as 'Khap' panchayats are thriving unabashedly,  are in denial of the related perils. From the various things that we have been hearing, watching and reading about the recent illegalities committed by the Khaps, nothing further remains to be said. It is not at all complex to ascertain, that the Khaps are perpetrating crimes. Therefore the only thing that now needs to be done is to remind these State Governments about the legal duty incumbent upon it in this whole episode, hoping that in order to save their own skin they won't be as dismissive about the issue as they are being now.

The following reminder purports to be succinct yet highly relevant

  • When 'Khaps' issue threats and / or warnings to the villagers with dire consequences in case they didn’t follow their illegal commands, such acts of the 'Khap' can atleast be squarely brought under the offence of criminal intimidation as defined under Section 503 read with Section 506 of the IPC.
        503. Criminal intimidation.—Whoever threatens another with any injury to his 
       person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that 
       person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person 
       to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that 
       person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, 
       commits criminal intimidation.

         506. Punishment for criminal intimidation.—Whoever commits the offence of 
         criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a 
         term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. If threat be to cause 
         death or grievous hurt, etc.—and if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or 
         to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with 
         death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 
         seven years, or to impute unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with 
         imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or 
         with fine, or with both.
  • It is equally relevant to remind the concerned authorities about Section 40 of our Code of Criminal Procedure which casts the following duties :-

Section  40. Duty of officers employed in connection with the affairs of a village (see below for meaning) to make certain report 

(1) Every officer employed in connection with the affairs of a village and every person residing in a village shall forthwith communicate to the nearest Magistrate or to the officer in charge of the nearest police station, whichever is nearer, any information which he may possess respecting—

(a) *********

(b) *********

(c) the commission of, or intention to commit, in or near such village any non-bailable offence or any offence punishable under Section 143 (Making an unlawful assembly), Section 144 (Making an unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons), Section 145 (Joining or continuing in an unl;awful assembly knowing that it has been commanded to disperse), Section 147 (Rioting), or Section 148 (Rioting armed with deadly weapons) of the Indian Penal Code  ;

(d) the occurrence in or near such village of any sudden or unnatural death or of any death under suspicious circumstances or the discovery in or near such village of any corpse or part of a corpse, in circumstances which lead to a reasonable suspicion that such a death has occurred or the disappearance from such village of any person in circumstances which lead to a reasonable suspicion that a non-bailable offence has been committed in respect of such person ;

(e) *****

(f) ******

(2) In this section—

(i) “village” includes village-lands ;

(ii) *******

(iii) the words “officer employed in connection with the affairs of the villagemeans a member of the Panchayat of the village and includes the headman and every officer or other person appointed to perform any function connected with the administration of the village.

  • Apart from the clear legal provisions which the Khaps violate, the said Pnachayats are also in direct violation of the Supreme Court's directives which had declared them to be outright illegal. In its wisdom, the Hon'ble Supreme Court,  on a relevant occasion directed the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent any atrocious acts perpetrated by the Khaps. 
  • Court's Warning - The Hon’ble Court had categorically stated that "if any such incidents happen, apart from instituting criminal proceedings against those responsible for such atrocities, the State government concerned is directed to immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and the SSP/SPs of the district as well as other officials concerned and chargesheet them and proceed against them departmentally if they do not prevent the incident if it has not already occurred but they have knowledge of it in advance,or if it has occurred, they do not promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them, as, in our opinion, they will be deemed directly or indirectly accountable in this connection" 
(The Court had directed that a copy of it’s judgment be sent to all Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and Directors-General of Police in all States and Union Territories, and circulated to all officers up to the level of District Magistrates and SSP/SP for strict compliance. )

Therefore it's high time that someone moved the Hon'ble Supreme Court or the Hon'ble State High Court of the concerned state against the accountable Government officials, on the strength of the aforementioned legal provisions and / or the aforestated directive of the Apex Court in the wake of recent atrocities perpetrated by the Khaps.


  1. as far as I understand how this 'KHAP' is so successful in those areas is that the police officers are belong to those areas only,very few are from other states who are appointed there and most importantly the political party who is in power, also supports them for basically if the root system i.e. ministers n political party try then the illegal rules of KHAP can be eradicated or can be decreased..

    1. You are absolutely right, Jasmin. Thanks for sharing your point of view.

  2. I love reading these legal posts of yours! Great work in spreading awareness and empowering the common man Anupam! Keep going strong!

    1. Glad you read this. Thanks for your compliment

  3. Good going Anupam :)
    You have actually thrown light on the Sections and Acts relevant to the issue and enlightened us in the process.
    Thanks for this and keep it going :)



  4. I sincerely hope that the concerned politicians show some spine and will to do what you have rightly suggested.

  5. Keep up the good work. I too, am posting on Section 506. Although mine maybe less accurate.

    1. Thanks for reading Shovon. As long as you write the way you do, it'll always be a pleasure to read. So go ahead.

  6. I am really concerned with punishment & penalty these perpetrators have to pay for their crime, it's like we (girls) are not human as they would be free after some years in jail & then back to their business. Khaps have been supported by politicians of their constituency, otherwise they would never been so strong. Remember, congress-party minister supporting their reasons for bans on girls? Sigh!

  7. The issue is really disturbing and so are the statements issued by the 'KHAPs' !!
    Sometimes I really wish there was a comment column as in facebook for their statements and i could write "ROFL" !!!
    I mean how can any sane person think of the things they say !!!
    The post was awesum as all ur posts are !!!
    Keep going buddy !!

    Happy Blogging !!!

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your views, Ankit

  8. In this age when we still succumb to the whims and fancies of these Khaps, one wonders our society is heading. Unless this menace is eradicated immediately, it will continue to cause great harm.

  9. Anupam, I don't think the issue has ever been that we don't have laws with the scope to curb lawlessness. The problam has always been (as I see it happening here in Delhi so rampantly) that there will always be the clout of money or political power to shred the law into bits. How do we curb that? When law enforcers are bought, threatened, harrassed into turning a blind eye, what can be done? A vigilante, perhaps?

    1. Agreed.

      In fact I have always explained exactly what you've said when people lose faith in law. It's not the lack of laws but the lack of will to follow them that has caused the present debacle of our society.

      But the point I've tried to make through this article is that some right minded zealous citizen must move the Courts on the grounds that I've mentioned so that the Court will call for a report in this matter from the Govt. and there would be some respite from the menace, hopefully.

      A vigilante' with the earnestness to pursue the matter in the highest Court of our land will perhaps obtain the desired result. We have seen this happening in the past as well.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Meena

  10. A very well timed post.When there are provisions to hold the bureaucracy responsible for such crimes as are committed by khaps,they should not be allowed to go scottfree .I think jasmine has pinpointed the reason why this happens--very strange!

  11. Some good information here.
    Hope the law inforcing personel also has a look at this.

  12. Concepts like Khaap have existed but now due to increased awareness and information reaching every part of nation, things like Khaaps will no more exist after a decade or so. Such bodies could only exist because they have been operative for year , even before Government of India was formed. Bureaucrats consider politicians better people to handle such issues and politicians do not find it right to fight against such socially powerful bodies fearing damage to their political career.

    1. I really hope that the Khaps become non existent after some time.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion, Suhas