SC refers to 5-judge bench over plea challenging FGM among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims
The issue was referred to the Constitution Bench on the request of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for the community.
The top court earlier in the course of the hearing of the PIL had said that the religious practices could not be cited to justify female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community, observing "a lot of girls don't want and it can't be imposed".
However, the community had defended the practice on the grounds of the freedom of religion and religious practices.
A lawyer, Sunita Tiwari, had moved a PIL challenging the practice and seeking direction to declare it illegal and unconstitutional, non-compoundable and a non-bailable offence.