NEW DELHI: A writ petition seeking imposition of ban on the practice of female genital mutilation was filed before the Supreme Court on Monday.
The petition sought to impose a complete ban on the practice throughout India. It also asked to make the practice a cognizable non-compoundable & non-bailable offence.
The apex court reportedly said that a woman does not have to live her life only for a marriage or a husband and the practice violates a women's right to privacy.
Earlier on July 9th, the Supreme Court had questioned the practice followed by Dawoodi Bohra Community. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, that the practice causes irreparable harm to girl children and needed to be banned. It also stated that the genital mutilation violates the bodily 'integrity' of a girl child.
Countries like the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and around 27 African countries have banned this female genital mutilation, said the Attorney General.
"Why should anybody else will have any control over the genitals of an individual," the bench that included Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had earlier said.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi appeared for a Muslim group and referred to the practice of male circumcision (khatna) in Islam. He said that it has been allowed in all countries and this is the accepted religious practice.
Delhi-based Lawyer Sunita Tiwari filed a plea earlier to seek the Centre and the states to "impose a complete ban on the inhuman practice" of 'khatna' or "female genital mutilation" (FGM) throughout the country.
The practice of female genital mutilation resulted in "serious violations of basic fundamental rights of the victims who in these cases are minors," the plea said.
The FGM is performed "illegally upon girls (between five years and before she attains puberty)" and is against the "UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which is India is a signatory", the plea said, adding the practice caused "permanent disfiguration to the body of a girl child".
"The practice of 'khatna' or 'FGM' or 'Khafd' also amounts to causing inequality between the sexes and constitutes discrimination against women. Since it is carried out on minors, it amounts to a serious violation of the rights of children as even minors have a right of security of person, right to privacy, bodily integrity and the freedom from cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment," the plea said.
"It is a ritual performed on every girl child within the Dawoodi Bohra religious community without any medical reason and does not have any reference in the Quran.
"It violates the rights of the child and human rights. It also violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a crime in the United States of America under the Illegal Immigration
Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and now a crime in Australia and some other countries as well," it claimed.
"There is no law in India banning FGM or Khatna to declare it illegal," it added.
(With PTI inputs)