Khap Panchayats in Haryana have opposed the demand for death penalty for rapists, saying such laws can be misused.
Sube Singh, a Khap leader in Hisar district, said on Monday: "Amending the law and introducing death penalty for the rapists can also lead to negative consequences. People think that rapists should be hanged but if such amendments are introduced in the act, then there are many fake cases of rape will come up and this law would be misused in those cases.
"But the incident that has happened in Delhi is very brutal, which led to the death of the girl, for such cases we have the provision of Section 302, under which all the accused rapists can be awarded death penalty," added Sube Singh.
Singh said they have seen the anti-dowry and the schedule casts and schedule tribes (SC/ST) laws being misused and any new law, which gives such harsh punishment, would also be vulnerable to misuse.
He also mentioned that there are instances of consensual sex, which are later, framed as rape cases.
The remarks came in the midst of national outrage over the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in New Delhi, which provoked nationwide protests and rare debates about violence against women in India.
The victim died from her injuries on Saturday at a Singapore hospital, prompting promises of action from the government that is struggling to respond to public outrage.
Khap Panchayats, the community groups comprising elderly men, have no legal sanction but they set the rules in villages in the region, and are often seen as instigating honour killings.