Two Law Commission Notes on Khap and Dowry Cases
January 24th, 2012 Pallavi
Report on Khap Panchayats
The Law Commission has drafted a consultation paper on caste
panchayats. A draft legislation titled "The Prohibition of Unlawful
Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances)
Bill, 2011" has been attached to the consultation paper.
The Bill prohibits people from congregating together to condemn a
legal marriage on the ground that the said marriage has brought
dishonour to the caste or community. Every member of such a group
shall be punished with imprisonment of a minimum term of 6 months and
a maximum term of 1 year. The member may also be liable to a fine of
up to Rs 10,000.
Under our criminal justice system, the presumption is that the accused
person is innocent until proven guilty. This Bill reverses this
presumption. It provides that if an accused person participated in
an unlawful assembly, then it will be presumed that the accused
intended to commit an offence under the Bill.
The Commission has invited public comments on the consultation paper
within 4 weeks. The comments can be sent by post or email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of the consultation paper is available at
Report on compounding of offences including Sec 498A of IPC
(harassment for dowry)
The Law Commission has also submitted its report on 'Compounding of
(IPC) Offences. Compoundable offences are offences which allow the
parties to enter into a private compromise. The Supreme Court in
some recent cases had asked the Law Commission to identify more
offences which could be treated as compoundable. Section 320 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure lists the offences which are compoundable.
Currently under the section there are 56 compoundable offences.
Certain offences can be compounded only with the prior permission of
The Commission has recommended that Section 498A of the IPC (cruelty
against a married woman by her husband or relatives) should be made
compoundable with the permission of the Court. It has recommended
that the magistrate should give a hearing to the woman and then permit
or refuse the compounding of the offence. This has been recommended
to ensure that woman is not coerced into compounding the offence.
The other IPC offences that the Commission has recommended should be
made compoundable include (a) Section 324 (simple hurt); (b) Section
147 (rioting); (c) Section 380 (theft in dwelling house); (d) Section
384 (extortion) and (e) Section 385 (extortion by threat to person).
A copy of the report is available at
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