A day after the Supreme Court came down heavily on khap panchayats and asked the Centre to come up with effective suggestions to protect inter-faith and inter-caste couples, khap leaders have threatened to "not give birth to girls at all" if the judiciary passes judgments on their traditions, according to media reports.
"We respect the Supreme Court but cannot tolerate the apex court's interference in our age-old traditions. If these kinds of orders are passed by the Supreme Court, we will stop producing girls or won't let them study so much that they start taking their own decisions. Just think, what will happen to society if girls become lesser and lesser in numbers?" The Times of India quoted Naresh Tikait, head of Balyan Khap, as saying.
The report quoted Rajbir Singh Malik, head of Malik Khap, as saying, "Maybe the Supreme Court has taken this stand influenced by the vulgar exhibition of modernity in cosmopolitan cities, but they must understand that village life is different, and we are bound by our traditions."
On Monday, Chief Justice Dipak Mishra said, "If people decide to marry, they are adults and you are nobody to interfere," in response to a plea seeking to ban khap panchayats and establish guidelines regulating their authority, Livemint reported.
A bench headed by Misra added that under the law, when two people marry, no third party can interfere. "Whether the law prohibits or allows a particular marriage, the law will take its own course. Don't be the conscience keeper (of society)," the bench, also comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, said, according to the report.
In January, the Supreme Court termed attacks by khap panchayats or associations working against an adult man and woman opting for inter-caste marriage as "absolutely illegal".
The same bench asked the Centre to give its response on suggestions earlier given by amicus curiae (friend of the court) Raju Ramachandran on ways to prevent harassment and killing of young couples in the name of family honour for marrying inter-caste or intra-clan (gotra).
"Whatever the amicus curiae says about khap, we are not concerned with that. What we are concerned is that if an adult girl or boy gets into marriage, no khap, no individual or no society can question them," the bench said.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Feb 07, 2018 12:41 PM