Law, honour, violence: The Supreme Court’s legal and non-legal voice

Sagar, Arun (2018) Law, honour, violence: The Supreme Court’s legal and non-legal voice. Indian Law Review, 2 (2). pp. 119-134. ISSN 24730580

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Law has an ambiguous relationship with honour. The concept of honour is not typically associated with technical–rational legal reasoning, and also sits uneasily with the modern legal emphasis on equality and individual autonomy. However, honour is a fundamental social value that necessarily marks the law’s imagination and informs its speech, and the language of honour is deployed in a variety of legal contexts. In order to explore how the discourse of honour operates within juridical discourse, this paper looks at the Supreme Court of India’s recent directives concerning the playing of the national anthem in cinema halls, in conjunction with some of its comments in cases involving honour killings. The analysis attempts to show how, in both contexts, the Court’s pronouncements reflect the tension between the language of legal reasoning and the language of honour, and how the latter operates in discursive opposition to autonomy and in the service of violence.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Honour killings | National anthem | Supreme Court
Subjects: Physical, Life and Health Sciences > Environmental Science, Policy and Law
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr Sombir Dahiya
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2021 10:46
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2021 04:58
Official URL:
Additional Information: I would like to thank Anish Vanaik and Oishik Sircar for their very helpful comments on a draft of this essay.


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