The Supreme Court has said no one can violate the integrity and the bodily privacy of a woman in the name of religion after the Centre condemned the practice of female genital mutilation performed by some communities on children as a religious practice.
- It is a ritual performed on every girl child within the Dawoodi Bohra religious community.
- The FGM is performed “illegally upon girls (between five years and before she attains puberty)” and
- The practice of ‘khatna’ or ‘FGM’ or ‘Khafd’ also amounts to causing inequality between the sexes and constitutes discrimination against women.
- Since it is carried out on minors, it amounts to serious violation of the rights of children as even minors have a right of security of person, right to privacy, bodily integrity and the freedom from cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.
- This is happening without any medical reason and does not have any reference in the Quran.
- It violates the rights of the child and human rights.
- Such practices on children would be an offence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
- Just because something is “essential”, does not mean it is above constitutional morality.
- If we do not go by the Constitution, then morality is left to the mob. The people on the streets will say what is moral and what is immoral.
- The practice violated various fundamental rights of the girl child and moreover, such kind of genital mutilation has serious repercussions on their health.
Current Status in India
- There is no law in India banning FGM or Khatna.
- Countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and around 27 African countries have banned this practice.
- It violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- It is a crime in the United States of America under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.