Why should anyone's bodily integrity be compromised? SC asks in Female Genital Mutilation PIL

The Supreme Court today made observations in support of complete prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation. The Court has agreed to hear the petition calling for the same on July 16.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud was hearing a PIL seeking a complete ban on female genital mutilation. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing an organisation of Dawoodi Bohra women, claimed that the practice is protected under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.

Singhvi submitted that female circumcision is not the same as Female Genital Mutilation. He argued that the practice is part of the essentiality of the Dawoodi Bohra religion since 10th Century AD, and the same would be protected under the right to practice and propagate religion under Articles 25 and 26.

Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the Court that the practice of female genital mutilation is banned in most countries and there should be a complete prohibition on the practice in India as well.

Agreeing with the Centre’s view, Senior Counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for the petitioner, told the Court that there are adverse consequences and trauma brought upon the girls in their adult life after they are subjected to this practice. Jaising argued that this practice essentially is a crime under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as well as the Indian Penal Code.

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