New Delhi: Terming 'khap' panchayat as illegal and honour killing as barbaric the Supreme Court on Tuesday said these should be stamped out ruthlessly. The court asked the state governments to suspend district magistrates and Superintendents of Police of the concerned district if they failed to act against the offenders.

A bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, while upholding the sentence of Aarumugam Sarvai who was accused of torturing a Dalit in Tamil Nadu gave this order.

The Apex Court said the issues like honour killing and caste-based torture are acting as a hindrance to the nation’s development.

In the recent past, these issues have received impetus due to ‘khap’ panchayat’s barbaric acts like torturing youths who go for inter-caste or inter-religion marriages, observed the court.

The Apex Court asked the administrative and police officials to take strong measures to prevent such atrocious acts.
Tightening the noose on the respective states handling these cases, it said if the court finds any kind lackadaisical approach, apart from instituting criminal proceedings against those responsible for such atrocities, it would instruct the state government to immediately suspend the District Magistrate/Collector and SSP/SPs of the district as well as other officials concerned and chargesheet them.

"If they failed to promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them, as in our opinion they will be deemed to be directly or indirectly accountable in this connection," the court said.

The bench said if the police failed to promptly apprehend the culprits and others involved and institute criminal proceedings against them then they will be directly or indirectly held accountable in this connection.

It added that copy of the court’s direction would be sent to State Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries, Directors General of Police and instructed that these copies should be passed on to all the District Magistrate, Collector, SSP and SP offices.

(JPN/ Bureau)