Bangladesh HC Orders Govt To Eliminate Disclosure Of Bride's Virginity In Marriage Certificate

Bangladesh HC Orders Govt To Eliminate Disclosure Of Bride

Taking a progressive approach, the High Court Division of Bangladesh ordered the government to drop the word "Kumari" in the Kabinnama as it was derogatory in nature and instead use "Obibahito" to describe a bride.

While the word "Kumari" was used to signify unmarried, it also extended to mean 'virgin'. "Obibahito" on the other hand specifically means unmarried.

Kabinnama is a Muslim marriage deed whose form is provided under the Bangladesh Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, 1974. Therein, a bride was required to state if she was a "Kumari", a widow, or a divorcee. A petition seeking removal of the word was filed by the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and Bangladesh Mohila Parishad. They had contended that use of such a word was humiliating for women and against their right to privacy.

Agreeing with submissions of the Petitioner organizations through Advocate Ainun Nahar Siddiqua, the high court ordered the government to remove the term and replace it with "Obibahito". The court also directed the authorities to introduce the options "unmarried, widower or divorced" for the groom on the certificate.

The full verdict is expected to be published by October, when the changes in the certificate will come into effect.

Notably, last year the Bangladesh high court had also prohibited much criticized "two-finger test" for rape victims.