The proposed GoM will consider amendments to the law to deal with the issue and come out with a Bill that would be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. The Centre, in the meantime, will also seek and obtain opinion from state governments on the issue.
Disclosing the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters: “Apart from a GoM which would be set up to consider amendments to the law to deal with honour killings, views will also be sought from states to the proposed amendments to the IPC and the CrPC to deal with the killings.”
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram added: “Consultations will be completed well before the monsoon session is over.”
There has been a spurt in honour killings across the country as murders have been reported not only from Delhi but also from different parts of Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu in the recent past.
One of the reasons why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to refer the issue to the GoM was because divergent views were expressed by the ministers on how to deal with the incidents.
Present laws inadequate
At the meeting, most of the ministers observed that the present laws were inadequate to deal with such killings. Kapil Sibal, M S Gill and Kamal Nath were among those who expressed their opinions on dealing with the menace effectively, sources said.
Gill cited the example of “khap” panchayats (caste councils) where orders to murder anyone in the name of honour are issued by a congregation of villagers and wondered whether all the people present during that assembly should be held accountable. Sibal suggested some changes in the law to deal with such killings specifically.
Outside the cabinet, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress MP Naveen Jindal have supported the khap panchayat decisions.
Soni added: “Many members wanted to put across their views but a discussion was not possible and a decision was taken to consult states and set up a GoM on the issue. The prime minister will constitute a GoM to discuss the issue in greater detail.”