Plea in Kerala HC seeking to declare circumcision on children as non-bailable offence

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Kochi: A plea was filed in the Kerala High Court on Friday seeking to declare the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision on children as illegal and a non-bailable offense.

The plea, filed by an organisation called Non-Religious Citizens, also seeks a directive to the Union government to consider legislation prohibiting the practice of male circumcision. It alleged that the practice of circumcision is a human rights violation against children.

The petitioners, claiming to be social activists in Kerala, contended before the court that circumcision leads to several health problems including trauma besides other risks.

The plea said the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the UN to which India is a member and signatory, by virtue of its provisions emphasize that all children have the right to live in a secure, loving environment, free from any form of harm, assaults, abuse, and discrimination.

“Each member of the covenant is duty-bound to ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms recognized in the covenant is violated has an effective remedy,” it said.

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 is having no option, the plea said.

“This is a clear violation of the provisions of the international treaties…,” the plea said.

Alleging that several incidents of deaths of infants have happened in the country due to the practice of circumcision, the plea said 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.

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( With inputs from )

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