The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the practice of female genital mutilation of minor girls in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, saying it violates the bodily "integrity" of a girl child. According to a PTI report, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal, that the practice causes irreparable damage to the girl child and it needs to be banned. The SC further highlighted that countries like the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and around 27 African countries had banned this practice.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for a Muslim group, however, advised that the matter to be referred to a constitution bench as it pertained to the issue of essential practice of the religion which needed to be examined. To which, the court has been quoted in the report asking, "Why and how should the bodily integrity of an individual be part of the religion and its essential practice. Why should anybody else have any control over the genitals of an individual."
Singhvi referred to the practice of male circumcision (khatna) in Islam and pointed out that it has been allowed in all countries, and it is an accepted religious practice and sought an adjournment of the hearing. The bench has further fixed the PIL filed by lawyer Sunita Tiwari on the issue for hearing on July 16.
(With inputs from PTI)