Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elimination of the Custom of Ghag Act 2013
What is “Ghag”?
“Ghag” is a custom or practice whereby a person forcibly demands or claims the hand of a woman without her or her parents’ consent. Usually, an open declaration is made which means that the woman is engaged to him and no one else shall make a marriage proposal. After the declaration, the man can obstruct the marriage of the girl to any other person. The custom is discriminatory and in some cases, used as a form of revenge whereby the woman remains single for the rest of her life due to non-obligation on the man to marry her. The custom dates back to the pre-Islamic era and also violates the basic tenet of marriage, which is consent.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elimination of the Custom of Ghag Act 2013 prohibits the practice of “Ghag”. Some of the important aspects of this act are:
Prohibition: Demand to marry a woman by way of “Ghag” is illegal
Punishment: Violation of the act, results in:
- Minimum three years and up to seven years jail sentence.
- 500,000 (5 lac) rupees fine may be imposed on the offender.
Accomplice in Violation: A person who provides help in the violation of the act will also be deemed as the offender. The same punishment will be given to the accomplice in the crime as the offender.
Jurisdiction: Cases regarding the violation of the act shall be tried under the session’s court.
Non-Bailable Clause: The fact that Ghag has become a menace affecting society at large, therefore, it is non-bailable and non-compoundable (no compromise allowed and full trial shall take place)