Day 7 Arguments

Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

September 6th, 2018

The three-judge bench headed by CJI Misra continued hearing the public interest litigation, seeking a ban on the practice of female circumcision. Female circumcision is notably practiced by the Dawoodi Bohra community. Today’s hearing only lasted for fifteen minutes. Lawyers on both sides presented arguments.

In the previous hearing, Mr. AM Singhvi representing Dawoodi Bohra members opposing a ban, concluded arguments. He claimed that banning the practice would not only infringe upon the Dawoodi Bohra’s right to freedom of religion, but also their right to privacy.

Today, Mr. AM Singhvi sought the Bench to refer the case to a seven-judge Bench. He argued that questions on a religious group’s autonomy to manage their religious customs without state interference ought to be heard by a Constitution Bench. He cited the seven-judge Bench in Sardar Syenda.

Ms. Indira Jaising appearing for the intervener supporting a ban, opposed Mr. Singhvi’s call for a larger Bench. She said that the issues in the case overlap with the Sabarimala Temple Entry case and the Parsi Women Excommunication case, both of which have been heard by five-judge Benches. She put forth that the upcoming judgement in the Sabarimala case, which is expected to be announced this month, would set the precedent for how the Bench could approach the issues raised in this case. She said that, therefore, there is no need for a larger Bench to be formed.

The case has been listed for 24th September.