Case Summary

Shakti Vahini vs Union of India

 

FACTS

After conducting a Research study passed by the National Commission of Women on Honor Killings in Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh and reporting that a spate of honour killing has been continuing in the above- mentioned states, the petitioner, an NGO named Shakti Vahini, has filed a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking directions to the State and Central government to take preventive measures to combat honour crimes, to submit a plan of Action by both, the State and Centre and direct the State Government to set up refuges or cells that can be approachable for the targeted couples. Prayers to issue writ of mandamus to the State Governments have also been made to begin prosecutions for each case of honour killing and take appropriate preventive measures. 

QUESTIONS OF LAW

1. Whether an individual has the right to choose their life partner regardless of any societal pressure? 

2. Whether the activities done by the Panchayat/Khap Panchayats are legal? 

HELD

1. Considering the judgement of the case – Lata Singh vs. State of UP and another, the Supreme Court decided that when two individuals agree to enter into wedlock, the consent of the family or community or clan is not necessary as such consent is a manifestation of their choice which is recognized under Article 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. 

2. Informal institutions like Khap Panchayats cannot substitute the regular law courts as no power has been conferred upon them to adjudicate any such matter and if they continue to function they can be held liable under the Indian Penal Code. 

3. The Supreme Court has also given several Preventive Steps, Remedial Measures and Punitive Measures following the judgements in the cases of Lakshmi Kant Pandey vs Union of India, Vishaka and others v State of Rajasthan and 16 others and Prakash Singh and other vs Union of India and 17 others. 

Submitted By: Sneha Asthana

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