London: A medical tribunal in Britain has cleared an Indian-origin doctor accused of intentionally performing surgery on a woman amounting to female genital mutilation (FGM), a criminal offence in the UK.
Dr Sureshkumar Pandya, a general practitioner, performed surgery to reduce the size of the 33-year-old woman`s labia, but the results left her distraught, the Manchester tribunal was told.
According to the Evening Standard, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found the anatomical result of the procedure could be said "to be equivalent to FGM", but cleared Pandya of intentionally causing it.
Tribunal chair Dr Anthony Morgan said, "In your evidence you stated that you were totally against the practice of FGM and would not have any reason to carry it out. In the light of your character and the testimony you gave the panel accepts this".
Pandya admitted performing labiaplasty on the Muslim woman at London`s Regency Clinic in March, 2012.
Asked if he had intended to carry out FGM, he said, "I am very much against it. I have never done it and I don`t think I would ever do it and I didn`t intend to perform it on this patient".
Pandya could still face sanctions over errors in record keeping, which he has admitted, and the bungled operation.
Female genital mutilation is practised as a cultural ritual by certain ethnic groups mainly in Africa.
The World Health Organisation defines it as "partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons".
The practice has been outlawed in most of the countries in which it occurs, but the laws are poorly enforced.