Representational image of a village panchayat
A khap panchayat recently issued directives that were favorable for ending female foeticide and dowry system. Picture: Representational image of a village panchayatReuters

To end female foeticide and dowry system, a Haryana khap panchayat has ordered that a third child should not be conceived if the first two children are daughters, and that no or only Re 1 dowry should be taken by the groom's family.

Khap panchayats are known for their orthodox rulings. They have in the past issued directives against love marriages, and made sexist comments, including blaming victims in rape cases.

In a meeting on Sunday, Bura Khap's head Rajbir Bura, in Jind, said couples who already meet the criteria of the fresh rulings will be felicitated.

Also, lessening the financial burden on the bride's family, the khap limited the number of people in the wedding procession from the groom's side to 21.

"The decision was a much-needed one as too many people in a baraat puts unnecessary financial burden on the bride's family," said Bura.

The panchayat also ordered that the mourning period after deaths be shortened to seven days from the current 13.

"It was decided to end the age-old practice of not having wheat flour, pulses and ghee during the mourning period," added the khap.

While the pro-girl-child moves are being lauded, the khap's views on same-gotra marriage are still problematic as a khap in Hisar recently ordered a couple to annul their marriage and live as siblings as they belonged to related gotras (castes). 

There have been incidents of "honour" killings on orders issued by khap panchayats in case of inter-caste marriages in the past.