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'Women do not live only for marriage and husbands': Supreme Court speaks against female genital mutilation

The Supreme Court on Monday made strongly-worded observations on the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. News18 reported that the apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said 'women do not live only for marriage and their husbands' and that 'subjugation to a husband will not pass the test of constitutionality'.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing on the behalf of the Centre, supported the petition filed by Delhi-based lawyer Sunita Tiwari against the practice. In an earlier hearing, Venugopal told the bench that countries such as  the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and around 27 African countries have banned this practice.

The Dawoodi Bohra community, a Shia subsect which practices FGM, usually names the ‘custom’ Khatna or Khafz, which involves the total or partial removal of the clitoral hood. In the name of the practice, young girls aged six and seven are cut up regularly by midwives and doctors, News18 reported.

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

Earlier, the apex court ordered states like Kerala and Telangana, where Bohra Muslim community resides, should also be made parties to the litigation and issued notice to them as well. State of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Union Territory Delhi are already party to the case.

The court had on 8 May agreed to examine the issues raised by Tiwari saying that the practice of FGM was 'extremely important and sensitive.'

The practice of female genital cutting 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".

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Jul 30, 2018 17:13 PM

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