Why in News?
Haryana’s Phogat khap has come out in support of the Olympian wrestlers, majority of whom are from Haryana, sitting on dharna at Jantar Mantar.
What are Khap Panchayat ?
- It is a traditional assembly of elders that sets the rules and adjudicates disputes for a specific area, generally comprising of 1 or more villages .
- These Khaps are organized according to caste and geography.
- It is an extra-constitutional institution i.e ( not a part of Gram Panchyat Structure) that emerged in the 14th century north India.
- Settlement of disputes between community members
- Functions as defender of religious faith
- Protection of the Khap area from external threats
- discuss several issues like:
- Alcohol abuse
- Non-payment of debt
- Property disputes
- Non-observance of certain social customs
- Girls’ education
Pros of Khap Panchayat
- Delivery of Quick Justice
- Institutions are tune with the local population’s needs
- Digitalization made Convening Khap Panchayats easier than in the past.
Cons of Khap Panchayat
- No legal backing and not following rule of law
- The Supreme Court, in 2011, declared these institutions illegal, terming them ‘kangaroo courts’
- Institutions use concerning methods of punishment. Known to encourage honour killings, especially in cases of inter-faith marriages.
- evolved into ‘custodians of honour’. As a result, many of their decisions are regressive, patriarchal and tending to enforce age-old taboos in the society.
- Controversial for the anti-woman tone of their rulings. For instance, Khap Panchayats prescribe dress codes for local women, prohibit use of mobile phones by women.
- Over the years , Derailing of Khap panchayat against idea of individual liberty and free- Gauranteed by Indian Constitution and protected by Supreme Court.
- These extra constitutional institutions continue to give out Regressive and Outright harmful judgement with impunity.
- These regressive institution need to weeded out if India wants to truly empower the women and other marginalized sections of the rural community.
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