'Many killed each year for loving or marrying outside caste..', says CJI DY Chandrachud
CJI DY Chandrachud said, "Members of the weaker and more marginalised groups have little choice but to submit to the dominant culture to survive. Because of humiliation and separation at the hands of oppressor groups, vulnerable sections of society cannot generate a counter-culture."
Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud on Saturday said that hundreds of young people die in India due to honour killings simply because they love someone or marry outside their caste or against their family's wishes. In a speech on 'Law and Morality', referring to several morality-related cases, such as the 'breast tax,' Section 377, which criminalised homosexuality, the ban on bar dances in Mumbai, and the legalisation of adultery, the CJI said that dominant groups decide the code of conduct and morality, overpowering the weaker groups.
The CJI said, "Members of the weaker and more marginalised groups have little choice but to submit to the dominant culture to survive. Because of humiliation and separation at the hands of oppressor groups, vulnerable sections of society cannot generate a counter-culture. The government groups overpower any counter-culture that vulnerable groups develop to alienate them further." Additionally, the CJI said vulnerable groups are placed at the bottom of the social structure, and their consent, even if obtained, is a myth. He questioned, "Is it required that what is moral for me be moral for you?
The CJI cited an article about a 15-year-old girl murdered by her parents in Uttar Pradesh in 1991.
"According to the article, the villagers accepted the crime. Their actions were acceptable and justified (for them) because they followed the social code they lived in. Is this, however, the code of conduct that rational people would have proposed? Would rational people have proposed this if it were not a code of conduct? Every year, many people are killed for falling in love, marrying outside their caste, or going against their family's wishes," he said.
The CJI was talking at the Ashok Desai Memorial Lecture, organised by the Bombay Bar Association in Mumbai. While delivering his speech, the CJI stressed the Supreme Court judgment decriminalising homosexuality in India.
"We fixed the injustice. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was based on outdated morality. Constitutional morality focuses on individual rights and protects them from popular morality notions in society," he said.
In response to a Constitution Bench decision that unanimously struck down Section 497 of the IPC, which penalised adultery, he said, "A progressive constitution's values serve as a guiding force for us. They convey that our personal and professional lives are not divorced from the Constitution."
The Indian Constitution was created not for people as they were, but for people, as they should be, he said, adding, "It is the symbol of our fundamental rights. It directs our daily lives."