Bangladesh’s top court on Sunday (August 25) directed the Government to remove the word ‘Virgin’ from Muslim marriage certificates which is a landmark verdict after campaigners challenged the “humiliating and discriminatory” term, an attorney said.
Under the South Asian country’s Muslim marriage laws, a bride has to select one of three options on the certificate – whether she is a Kumari (virgin), a widow or divorced.
In a brief verdict on Sunday, the court ordered the government to remove the term and replace it with “unmarried”, said deputy attorney general Amit Talukder.
“It is a landmark verdict,” Aynun Nahar Siddiqua, a lawyer for the groups which filed the case challenging the term in 2014 said.
Rights groups have long criticized the term – used in certificates since they were introduced in 1961 – saying it is “humiliating and discriminatory”, and that it breaches the privacy of the woman getting married.
The court also ordered authorities to introduce the options “unmarried, widower or divorced” for the groom on the certificate.
Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslim majority nation and nearly 90% of its 168 million populations are Muslims.