CLPR held a consultation on the Freedom of Marriage and Association and Prohibition of Crimes in the Name of Honour Bill, drafted by CLPR, in Madurai on 3rd – 4th June 2022. The consultation was held in collaboration with Evidence, a Tamil Nadu-based organisation working to protect and promote Dalit and Adivasi rights. The programme was also attended by Ms. Manjula Pradeep, Director of Campaigns, Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network (DHRD Net), which is spearheading the overall project.
Mr. A Kathir, Founder and Executive Director of Evidence, introduced everyone to the two-day consultation and contextualised crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’ in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was followed by Ms. Pradeep introducing the work of DHRD Net and the history of honour crimes in north India. Iswarya S, human rights Advocate, presented on the important case laws that have laid the framework for State intervention in crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’. Finally, Mansi Singh from CLPR, presented on the need for a separate law to tackle crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’. She presented the framework of the second draft of Freedom of Marriage and Association and Prohibition of Crimes in the name of ‘Honour’ Bill, which has been reworked with inputs received at the Jaipur consultation. The Bill was then taken up for Section-wise discussion by the participants.
Attendees included lawyers, activists, journalists, academics, members of political parties, survivors of honour crimes and members of Evidence, which has worked against crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’ for over a decade. Hence, the discussion was lively and productive. Among the many suggestions to improve the Bill, were inputs for identifying the most appropriate state officials to handle different stages of prevention and penalisation of crimes, expanding the list of illustrations of honour crimes, and discussion about the appropriate penalties for different kinds of crimes. The inputs also sought to strengthen the state machinery envisioned in the Bill to deal with crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’.
The session was concluded with the decision that the revised draft of the Bill will be shared with the participants once the suggestions have been compiled. Mr. Kathir ended the meeting with a vote of thanks to the participants.