NEW DELHI: The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Dawoodi Bohra community is violative of Articles 21 and 15, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
The Dawoodi Bohras, a Shia sub-sect, practise FGM, which involves the total or partial removal of the clitoral hood.
In the name of the practice, young girls aged six and seven are cut up regularly by midwives and doctors.
“It is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution as it puts the female child to the trauma of FGM,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said as the Centre told the court that it supported the petitioner’s plea that it was a crime punishable under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
“When we are for an affirmative push to women’s rights, how can it be reversed?” the CJI said, adding that a woman has other obligations and cannot be expected to submit to the whims of the male.
Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the practice had been banned by 42 countries, out of which 27 countries were in Africa, and that the World Health Organisation too had called for a ban on it.
Appearing for another petitioner from the Dawoodi Bohra community, who suffered the trauma of FGM, senior counsel Indira Jaising said the practice was punishable under the law.