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SC Issues Notice to Centre in Female Genital Mutilation Case

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate seeking a complete ban on the practice of female genital mutilation, making it a punishable offence.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:May 8, 2017, 2:09 PM IST
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SC Issues Notice to Centre in Female Genital Mutilation Case
SC has also taken note of the states where such practices are happening on a large scale including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Delhi.(Image: Reuters)
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate seeking a complete ban on the practice of female genital mutilation, making it a punishable offence.

A bench of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the petitioner and issued notice to the Centre. “This issue is extremely sensitive and important,” noted the CJI.

The practice which is common in the Dawoodi Bohra Community had come under the scanner recently when progressive Muslim women had launched a protest against the practice through online videos and petitions.

Advocate Sunita Tiwari, who has been working on the case since the last couple of years, told News18 that this practice is not only cruel but often renders a woman “trapped in a dead marriage as the woman is deprived of any sensation, whatsoever.”

“The Syedna, or the chief of the community, has called the practice an essential to the religion. However, this practice does not find any mention in the Quran or anywhere else. Women from the community are very scared to speak. We had even written to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Law and Justice, but there has been no response,” said the petitioner.

The petitioner also said that the UN General Assembly, through a special resolution in 2012, had banned the practice. After this, 27 African countries banned the practice. But India, which is a signatory to the convention on child rights and human rights, has paid no heed to the issue so far.

The case is most likely to come up post summer vacations in July. Tiwari said, “There are various kinds of genital mutilation which takes place during the early years. Usual practice involves the removal of the clitoral hood but there are instances where the entire female genitalia is removed which is cruel and not reported.”

SC has also taken note of the states where such practices are happening on a large scale including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Delhi.

The petitioner has demanded that a separate legislation should be brought to completely ban the practice, making it a punishable. Tiwari has also stated that till such a law comes into being, the state police should be directed to lodge such complaints under the relevant provisions of the IPC.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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