Honor Killing – An Evil in the Society



Honour killing refers to the killing of a human being for the sake of honor, that is society honour and family honour. Basically, it is the killing of a member of the family to restore their pride. But the question arises whether this kind of killing is honourable? Whether they are not opposed to humanity? Whether the family has the right to decide how they can protect their so-called honour of family by killing someone and whether they have the right to end a person’s life or another because of any reason? Has the legislature made any separate law for honour killing in India? What are the main reasons for honour killing? In this article, all these questions have been answered along with the famous case law and the constitutionality of the offence of honour killing.

The ancient practice of honour killing was a killing done for the reputation of society and family, thinking about the honour, the supreme authority of the society or family status of the family declared to kill a particular person forgetting about the affection and love towards the members of the family.

In India, the violence of honour killing was majorly done against women in the matter of marriage and sexuality especially. From ancient times, India has been the most widespread and tenacious form of gender violence. India does not have any kind of specified law against honour crimes.

An honour killing can be done against a specific group of people or a large number of people or people specified by community and religion. In local areas, honour killing is a practice that is used to prevent and punish people of their tribe. The community which is largely affected by the attack of honour killing in history is the LGBT community.



Honour killing is an inhuman act, killing of a person by a family member or society has no rationality. There are some situations that lead to an increasing number of human killing in the past as well as in present, the most common reasons are [1]-


Caste or religion has been given most of the importance in Indian society. That importance has led to a lot of discrimination among people. Hence, whenever a person falls in love with a person of another caste or religion, then it has led to family & society dissatisfaction. It is also the most common reason for honour killing. Can love be a reason for killing someone? It is the most heinous act that is done by people in the name of their reputation.


The rationality of thoughts of people who are cheap, who think that showing body part is a sin is wrong and in the past many women got honour killed by the society by dressing in the manner which was not acceptable by them. They had no right of desire to dress by their own choice.


Homosexuality is the human being who is attracted to people of one’s sex and heterosexuality is the human being that attracts the person of the opposite sex. Any act which is related to sexual intercourse before marriage or outside the marriage has been always considered as a sin because a lot of lives were taken in the name of honour and reputation. Many persons of the LGBT community were attacked by society and were killed because of their sexuality.

The conditions which are mentioned above are the most famous ones but there is a long list of situations in which honour killing is prevailing at a high rate.



Every country in this universe has provided a good law which provides a rightful life to its citizens. In India, the legislature has not directly provided any specific law for the offence of honour killing but indirectly the supreme power of the law has been provided by the Constitution of India, in which the rights of every citizen are vested without any discrimination on the basis of their caste, religion or gender. The Constitution of India has provided a country that is a secular state which means the country India is a state without any religion.

Article 14 of the Indian Constitution provides that each and every citizen of India is equal, Article 15 of the Indian Constitution provides that no one, even the state, has any right to discriminate among the citizens on the basis of race, religion, gender or colour. Hence, if the citizens are equal then the citizen has no right to kill each other in the name of their respect. Article 19 provides that each and every citizen is given liberty to speak, to reside by their wise, to have the occupation of their choice, therefore, no one can curtail anyone’s right to desire the decisions of their own life. Article 21 provides a fundamental right, “right to life”, which can not be curtailed except procedure established by law, and honourable killing has not been established by law but it is banned by law. Therefore, by the fundamental laws, no one can do honour killing.

Another law that indirectly criminalizes honour killing is the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which is a codified law that provides punishment for the various crimes. Section 299 and 301 provides the definition for the culpable homicide and murder and declare it punishable, hence it indirectly criminalize the honour killing in India.


Pakistan is the country which has the highest rate of honour killing, which is locally known as karo-kari in Pakistan, the meaning of karo kari is karo means black or blackened man and kari means black or blackened woman. It is specially done in the Sindh region of Pakistan. Karo kari is metaphoric terms used for adulterer and adulterous. Once a person named by the society as karo and kari especially women (kari) then their family members consider themselves to kill them to restore the reputation of their families.

About one-fifth of the honour killing in the world is done in Pakistan. The practice of honour killing in Pakistan has been given a huge place in the past due to which it is also prevailing in the high rate there. The various activists (international as well as domestic) are trying so hard to stop it but it is not possible to fully end this practice of honour killing unless the general public chooses to condemn this practice.


In June 2007, Manoj and Babli were killed due to the honour killing by the khap panchayats of their village. Both of them lived in Karoran village of Kaithlal. Manoj was the only earning member of his family. Both Manoj and Babli belonged to the same village. Hence, their marriage will be considered to be incest in the village. Manoj and Babli flew away from the village and performed the court marriage by breaking out the village rules. This was the reason for their honour killing.

The case was presented in a district court of Karnal. In March 2010, the court gave punishment to the five perpetrators and sentenced them to execution and the Khap panchayat who ordered the honour killing was punished with life imprisonment. It was the first time the death penalty was given in the case of honour killing.


The most inhuman and irrational crime is the crime of honour killing. The legislature should provide a specific law and punishment for honour killing, so that the judiciary and the administrative authority have a well-prescribed law but it is true that a lot of laws can be made by a nation but prevailing of these laws is prevented because of the people of this society mindset and mentality, & in the country like India where caste, religion, and gender have given most of the importance, Sometimes more than the life. Hence, it is important for citizens to rise above the clouds of race, religion, or caste.

At last, people should understand that the real honour is in protecting the family members and being liberal and open-minded towards the way of life. And they have to understand that there is no Honour in killing someone but it is dishonour to the society.


[1] ARUN PAL, Honour Killing: Culture, Dilemma, and Ritual, Arise Publishers and Distributors, 1st edn., 2012.

[2] KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/know-your-rights/honor-killing-a-major-offence-in-india-5248/  (last visited on October 30, 2020).

[3] PAKISTAN AUTHORITIES RECORD DOZEN OF HONOUR KILLING, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/17/pakistan-authorities-record-a-dozen-cases-of-honour-killing-in-a-fortnight (last visited on October 30, 2020).


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