Question: Khap panchayats have been in the news for functioning as extra – constitutional authorities, often delivering pronouncements amounting to human right violations. Discuss critically the actions taken by the legislative, executive and judiciary to set the things right in this regard.
Answer: In recent years, Khap panchayats have been actively indulged in giving judgements that is both violation of constitution as well as law. This has brought back the question whether kangaroo courts can function actively in a free and democratic country such as India.
Failure of institutions to tackle Khap panchayats
- Lack of ground level judicial system
Even after seven decades of independence we are unable to develop a judicial system that can handle sensitive ground level problems faced by less educated individuals. This void has been filled by illegitimate institutions such as Khap panchayats.
- Existence of political bonhomie
Political classes are reluctant to impose pressure on Khap panchayats as they are politically powerful and can influence large sections. This feature makes them difficult to be brought to justice as they have political connections to obtain immunity.
Decision taken by institutions to reduce influence of Khap panchayats
- Legal illegitimacy
Khap panchayats have been made illegitimate by legislative actions so that their decisions are not taken seriously. By making them illegitimate, their powers and influence on people has been reduced significantly. This will also prevent people from approaching Khap panchayats for dispensing justice.
- Confidence in conventional judiciary
The judiciary has an important role in negating influence of Khap panchayats through its decision making process. By sensitively handling issues such as caste, religion or any socially relevant issue, the judiciary has proved that it is more suitable at handling justice system and people must approach it rather than Khap panchayats.
- Penalty actions
The executive has taken due cognisance to the actions of Khap panchayats and has responded by taking strict punitive measures. This has sent a message to gullible people that decisions of Khap panchayats is insignificant and illegal. It is only a measure of compromise and not eligible to dispense justice at the expense of established judiciary.
It is necessary that confidence building measures are taken to make Khap panchayats irrelevant and restore legal justice system.
Thus, Khap panchayats have to be eradicated from society as their existence is a blot on our judiciary. The core issues have to be addressed if its relevancy has to be challenged.