NEW DELHI: As many as 27 states and Union Territories(UTs) have supported the Law Commission recommendation for a Bill to prevent 'honour killings', Union Minister for Law and Justice D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday informed the Lok Sabha.
However, the Centre refused to set a timeframe to put in place a legal framework, saying a decision would be taken after due consultations.
The states have submitted their response to the Law Commission's 242nd report on 'Prevention of Interference with Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances (in the name of honour and tradition)' which had been sent to states for their comments.
"Till date, 27 state governments and UTs have sent their responses and are in support of the recommendations made by the Law Commission," Gowda said in a written response. "After considering the comments of all the state governments/ UT administrations and having wider consultations with the stakeholders, a policy decision to enact the legislation on the subject will be taken," he said.
The response of the remaining states is awaited and reminders have been issued to them.
Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, West Bengal and UTs of Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry have supported the proposal to bring in a legal framework to prevent honour killings.
The Law Minister said as the subject of the report falls in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, consultation with the states is necessary.
In its 2001 Report, the Panel, then headed by Justice P V Redi, had recommended bringing in a Bill "to provide for, in the interests of protecting individual liberty and preventing victimisation, prohibition of unlawful assemblies and other conduct interfering with the freedom of matrimonial alliances in the name of honour and tradition and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto".
The report had referred to a Supreme Court decision "wherein a direction of far-reaching consequences has been given while laying down the proposition that the so-called honour killing comes within the category of rarest of the rare cases deserving death punishment."
In view of the rising number of incidents where young couples were excommunicated, tortured and killed under orders from the khap panchayats, the Law Commission recommended a threshold bar on congregation of people for condemning a marriage on the basis that the marriage has dishonoured caste, community or brought disrepute to the family or community concerned. The penal provision for such unlawful Assembly was proposed at imprisonment of six months to a year and a fine of `10,000.
The Bill elaborated that criminal intimidation of the couple or their families would invite imprisonment ranging between one to seven years and a fine of `30,000. The Bill also proposes to make all offences cognisable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.