The Supreme Court sent a petition challenging over the issue of female genital mutilation(FGM) of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims on Monday, to the constitution bench of five judges. The bench of Chief Justice Deepak Mishra, Justice AM Khanvilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud was hearing a PIL filed by a Delhi lawyer. In this, the practice of circumcision of minor children of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community has been challenged. The petitioner contended that the procedure 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”. This also resulted in “permanent disfiguration to the body of a girl child”, the petitioner stated.
Earlier, a group of members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community had told the apex court that circumcision of daughters is done in some sects of Islam, which includes the Dawoodi Bohra community and if its validity is assessed, then it is a big constitution Should be made from the back.
WeSpeakOut, an NGO runs for survivors of FGM, is, however, “extremely disappointed” with the Supreme Court’s decision. According to a statement put out by the NGO, they believe that this will now mean more delay in getting a verdict on the matter.
Expressing their disappointment, Masooma Ranalvi, founder of WeSpeakOut NGO said, “What is shocking is the clear volte-face by Attorney General KK Venugopal, who, on previous occasions, had said in the courtroom that he supported the petitioner and that the act of FGM is clearly a crime under Indian laws. Today, the AG supported the plea of the Dawoodi Bohra Women’s Association for Religious Freedom (DBWRF), the group which is petitioning for the continuance of the practice of FGM, for a Constitution Bench which will decide on the issue of religious rights and freedom.”
Note: (Decision on FGM could be announced today)