The Kerala High Court has dismissed the Public Interest Litigation seeking a ban on the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision on children.

"...instant writ petition filed on the basis of newspaper reports is not maintainable.", the bench of Chief Justice S.Manikumar and Justice Murali Purushothaman held while dismissing the plea.

While dismissing the plea, the Court relied upon a catena of decisions on the aspect of maintainability of Public Interest Litigation purely based on newspaper reports.

The Court also added that "Giving due consideration to the material on record, we are also of the view that the petitioners have not substantiated their case. The Court is not a law making body. Prayers 2 to 4 sought for by the petitioners cannot be granted."

Through prayers 2 to 4, the petitioner sought a declaration that the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision on children as a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It also sought a direction pointing out the urgency of legislation prohibiting the practice of male circumcision. The petitioner had also sought directions to register crime against persons who did acts towards circumcision on children.

Advocate P.V.Jeevesh appeared for the petitioners whereas Advocate B. Pramod, CGC appeared for the Centre and Senior Government Pleader K.P. Harish appeared for the state.

The Division Bench had reserved the case for judgment at the admission stage itself, after hearing the petitioner's lawyer.

Non-Religious Citizens, an organisation that claims to be a cultural organization and five individuals had approached the Kerala High Court seeking prohibition on the practice of circumcision of male children.

The petitioners had sought directions declaring the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision on children as illegal. The petitioners had stated that the practice of circumcision violates the human rights of children. The petitioners claimed that several incidents of death of infants have happened in the country due to circumcision. The plea further states that the practice of circumcision is cruel, inhuman and barbarous and it violates the fundamental right of right to life of children.

The petitioners pointed out that circumcision leads to several health problems including trauma. The plea further reads that trauma in early childhood can result in disrupted attachment, cognitive delays and impaired emotional regulation.

It has been further stated that there are various complications or risks associated with circumcision such as bleeding, bacterial infection, scarring etc.

The petitioners stated that the United Nations Convention on the rights of Child, 1989 and the international convention on civil and political rights, 1966 are the two international treaties to which India is a signatory which emphasize the right of children to live in a secure environment.

The plea reads that a child should not be subjected to the whims and fancies of their parents and the children should have the opportunity to choose a practice or belief or religion. It has been further stated that the rights and freedom of children cannot be surrendered in accordance with religious fanaticism and addictions of parents.

The petition states that an individual has the right to follow or not follow a religion thus parents cannot impose their religious beliefs having harmful implications on the child.

The petitioners averred that the children are the victim of this age-old unscientific custom. Thus the petitioners have sought directions declaring the practice of non-therapeutic circumcision on children as a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

Cause Title- Non-Religious Citizens & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.

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