CJI Chandrachud: Hundreds killed for honor killing ever year

Justice DY Chandrachud Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 19 December 2022 at 08:06 IST

CJI DY Chandrachud while talking to American Mag “Time” said, “Hundreds of people are killed each year for falling in love or marrying outside their castes or against the wishes of their families”

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud made the statement while speaking on morality and its interplay with the law.

He shared the story of a 15-year-old girl who eloped with a man of 20 from a lower caste. They were later murdered by the upper castes of the village, and believed their actions were justified because they complied with the code of conduct of society.

Justice DY Chandrachud said that while the law regulates external relations, morality governs the inner life and motivation. Morality appeals to our conscience and often influences the way we behave.

‘We can all agree that morality is a system of values that prescribes a code of conduct. But, do all of us principally agree on what constitutes morality? That is, is it necessary that what is moral for me ought to be moral to you as well?’ he asked.

While discussing what constitutes ‘adequate morality’, the CJI said that groups that have traditionally held positions of power in the socio-economic-political context of society have an advantage over the weaker sections in this bargaining process to reach adequate morality.

The CJI further built an argument that vulnerable groups are placed at the bottom of the social structure and that their consent, even if attained, is a myth. For example, Max Weber argued that the Dalits have never rebelled.

CJI pointed out that in our parliamentary system of democracy, laws are passed by the vote of the majority. Therefore, the discourse around public morality often finds its way into the law enacted by the majority, and moral concerns or biases often creep into the law.

Justice DY Chandrachud also stressed the need to shift the conversation towards the values enshrined in the Constitution, to counter the social morality of dominant groups that are imposed under the garb of common morality.

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