Female Genital Mutilation Violates the Fundamental Rights of an Individual, Says SC

Team SoOLEGAL 31 Jul 2018 3:00pm

Female Genital Mutilation Violates the Fundamental Rights of an Individual, Says SC

Practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) “violates the fundamental rights of an individual”, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

The top court’s observation was made by a three-judge bench headed by CJI, while hearing a clutch of petitions seeking imposition of a ban on the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Justice DY Chandrachud who was part of the SC bench remarked,

Control over one’s genitalia is vital to privacy, autonomy, dignity.”

Justice Chandrachud made the remark following the submissions made by Senior Advocate Rakesh Khanna, who was representing one of the petitioners.

Advocate Khanna told the bench that “Children of 5 or 7 years of age, on whom FGM is practiced, are put through so much trauma. It is not performed by medical practitioners”.

To this, Justice Chandrachud asked, “Irrespective of how it is performed, is it not a violation of Constitutional provisions?”

Further, after listening to Khanna’s submissions that FGM amounts to a violation of Article 21, Justice Chandrachud said, “Is it not a violation of Article 15 as well”.

CJI Dipak Misra also agreed to Justice Chandrachud’s opinion and said,

Why should a lady be made to put in so much effort as an obligation to her husband. Is that her only obligation, to please her husband”, he asked.

Once advocate Khanna concluded his arguments, senior advocate Indira Jaising appearing for one of the petitioners commenced her arguments.

Advocate Jaising argued that the practice of “removal of the clitoral hood” for non-medical purposes of a minor amounted to a crime under the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO). She also said that, “Something declared criminal by law cannot be considered Essential Religious Practice”.

Advocate Jaising further urged the SC bench that it should also declare that “refusal by a woman should not result in her excommunication from the community”.

The hearing will continue today.

Earlier on July 9th, the Apex Court had questioned the practice followed by the Dawoodi Bohra Community. And the CJI-led bench was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, that the practice of FGM causes irreparable harm to girl children and needs to be banned.

Read more: SC Raises Questions Over Female Genital Mutilation

Tagged: Female Genital Mutilation   FGM   Child Rights   Dawoodi Bohra Muslim Community   CJI Dipak Misra   Supreme Court  
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