The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre and four states of Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, seeking a detailed response on banning female genital cutting. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and DY Chandrachud was hearing a plea filed by advocate Sunita Tiwari who wants a complete ban on the practice.
Tiwari argued that it violates the fundamental rights of a woman. In her plea, she asked the court to direct the Centre and these four states to implement the 2012 United Nations resolution on banning it. She also pointed out that although India is a signatory of the UN resolution, it has not paid any attention to the matter. Tiwari also wants the states to issue appropriate orders to all director generals of police to take action in such cases until a law is enacted, reported ANI. The court is likely to take up the case in July after the summer vacation, according to CNN-News18.
The Dawoodi Bohra community is the only one in India known to practise female genital cutting, which typically involves a cut or nick to the clitoral hood. The practice, called khatna or khafz within the community, is defined by the United Nations as Type-I female genital mutilation, which describes this as including either the cutting of the clitoral hood or the partial or total removal of the clitoris, and is usually done to girls at a young age. The process is usually carried out on girl aged between six and 12 years.
The practice is not yet illegal in India, but female genital cutting in any form has been outlawed in several countries around the world, including the United States.
The World Health Organisation has not found any health benefits to cutting girls’ genitalia and has said that it may instead cause several negative short and long-term consequences. WHO has said that FGM leads to infections, cysts, infertility and higher childbirth complications, according to Hindustan Times.