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The Supreme Court bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud on Tuesday (August 28) was told by the Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi appearing for Dawoodi Bohra community that Khatna was erroneously called as female genital mutilation (FGM) as technically there was no mutilation and it is essentially a female circumcision while referring to a judgment by an Australian court.

“Medical evidence indicates that there is no permanent scar. This was concluded subsequent to a trial and evidence was conducted,” Singhvi said while referring to the judgment.

Singhvi further added: “Article 14 prohibits equal to be treated as unequal and unequal as equal. Male circumcision is mandated universally under Islam, whereas female circumcision is practiced in 2-3 schools. It’s not a case of different genes or different species, it is just a different. Crux of the argument being, out of the two circumstances of similar nature, the court cannot ban one without ignoring the other. For instance there are two intoxicants made by slightly different chemicals but of same nature, the court cannot ban one of those in isolation without dealing with the other.”

While differentiating between the autonomy of an adult and autonomy of a child, Singhvi said that a child whose life lies within four concentric circles which is first, it’s family, second, relatives, third, society and fourth its community which is Bohra community. In this case, there is a legacy to follow, there is faith and belief, there are customs which need to be followed, and hence it is wrong to say this is a practice against the consent of the child.

The matter will again be heard on August 30.

—India Legal Bureau 

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