Khap panchayats check social evils, says Haryana CM

New Delhi: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has come out in defence of khap panchayats, saying they keep a check on social evils and there was nothing wrong with their orders.

Defending the caste panchayats, which have been known for being against marriages in the same ‘gotra’ or clan, the chief minister said it has been “scientifically proven that marrying within the gotra is not right”.

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Khattar also said his government has sought details about land deals involving Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.

“The existence of khap panchayats makes the court’s work easy at most times. There are several litigation matters that go on for 20 to 30 years. If a matter is solved outside court, it is better,” Khattar said in an interview to Headlines Today.

“There are various kinds of institutions in our society and each of them has their conventions and rules. They cannot be changed. However, whatever is wrong needs to be corrected,” the chief minister said.

Terming khaps “custodian of culture”, Khattar also said they were like “parents minding the children” and often take swift decisions on matters in which the courts are silent.

“If a khap sees that boys and girls are going against social norms, then it gives decisions. It has been scientifically proven that marrying within the gotra is not right. If we don’t allow these rulings, then we never know when the courts will come out and give decisions. At most times, the courts give decisions after 20 to 25 years. But by then, it makes matters worse,” he said.

He rebutted the charge that khap panchayats have become extra constitutional bodies.

“Khap panchayats consist of experienced members of the society and they make sensible decisions. It is a very old system that has been followed over hundreds of years,” he said.

Asked about the poll promise that Vadra’s land deals will be probed, the chief minister said investigation was on.

“We have asked for papers and details on all property deals… the property mutations. We are collecting all the details and we will take legal action accordingly,” he said.

“We have sought all details of all land transfer details – the ones that have been sealed and what happened with the sealed lands, the licences that have been changed and resold to other people.

“We are collecting details and timeline on every land transaction. Any case will need some time to be built up. We are also ensuring that we will make a strong case. And this is not the only matter that we are working on,” he added.