The Kerala High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking to declare the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision on children as illegal and a non-bailable offence, saying the petition was “purely based on newspaper reports” and was, therefore, not maintainable.
A bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Murali Purushothaman also found that the petitioners — an NGO and some social activists — have not been able to substantiate their case.
“.. instant writ petition filed on the basis of newspaper reports is not maintainable. Giving due consideration to the material on record, we are also of the view that the petitioners have not substantiated their case,” the bench said.
It further said that it was not a law making body and therefore, the reliefs sought by NGO Non-Religious Citizens (NRC) “cannot be granted”.
The NGO, in its plea, urged the court to declare the practice as a cognizable and non-bailable offence, recommend or advice or remind the Centre and Kerala government about the necessity and urgency of a legislation prohibiting it. It also sought a court direction to the police to register a case against those who perform circumcision on children or attempts or abets to do such things.
It had also requested the court to direct the union government to consider and take a decision on the NGO’s representation, seeking legislation, banning the practice on children.
Dismissing the plea, the bench said, “The court is not a law making body. Prayers sought for by the petitioners cannot be granted. In view of the above, prayer No.5 (regarding consideration of representation) sought for is also declined. In fine, writ petition is dismissed.”
NRC in its plea further alleged that the practice of circumcision is a human rights violation against children.
It contended before the court that circumcision leads to several health problems, including trauma besides other risks.
The practice of circumcision is compelled to be done on the children, not as their choice but they are being compelled to be followed only because of the unilateral decision taken by the parents, wherein the child has no option, the plea said.
It alleged that several incidents of deaths of infants have been reported in the country due to the practice of circumcision. The practice of this ritual is cruel, inhuman and barbarous, and it violates the valuable fundamental right, “right to life”, of the children postulated under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it pointed out.