Guilty till proven innocent

Govt plans ordinance against honour killings

The law minister wants a new section in the IPC to define such crimes. The ordinance would also amend the Evidence Act to put the onus of proof on the accused. The Supreme Court had recommended amending the Evidence Act so that caste-provoked killings can be dealt with sternly. Among the suggested changes is holding caste panchayats guilty of any “honour” crime, and holding all members of such bodies as deemed guilty, whether or not they favoured the killing.

The number of un-democratic laws in this country continues to rise. Instead of fixing the main issue - an incompetent, ineffective and under-paid police force, the government instead finds it easy to bring out laws which are going to be invariably abused.

Now I am not supporting “honour killings”. It is a menace which ought to be nipped in the bud, by cracking down on any illegal institutions which undermine the justice system in this country.

But how can the answer be so hypocritical? The foundation of a democratic country is to provide fair justice. And to make any potential innocent having to defend itself in court on a mere complaint is anything but fair. Anything but democratic.

It is sheer hypocrisy to appear solving a threat to the democratic fibre of the country, by using an undemocratic law. It is just a case of fighting kangaroo courts with kangaroo laws.

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