GUWAHATI: A court in Nagaland has sentenced eight women to one year in jail for humiliating a woman after a judgment against her was passed by a kangaroo court in 2018. The Court of Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Tuensang also ordered a fine of Rs 3,000 against the eight, under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code. The victim was punished by a kangaroo court over violation of customary laws relating to extra-marital affairs.
Enraged that the victim had an extramarital affair, the eight women chopped off her hair and paraded her naked. The court observed that the villagers had taken the matter into their hands and meted out “inhumane” justice to her. “This is a case where the village folk asserting the so-called rights given unto them by the customary law, outraged the modesty of the victim in the most barbaric fashion,” the court said. The Nagas are governed by customary laws.
The state enjoys special provision under Article 371 A of the Constitution which says, “No Act of the Parliament in respect of religious or social practices of the Nagas and Naga customary law and procedure shall apply to Nagaland unless the state Assembly so decides by a resolution.”
However, the court observed that the law and order situation in the society would break down completely if all villages started invoking customary laws that “uncultured civilisations practiced”. According to the convicts, they were acting on the basis of a resolution adopted by their village to punish anyone found guilty of indulging in adultery.