India, Nov. 15 -- The Supreme Court on Thursday recommended that the matter of female genital mutilation (FGM) practised in the Dawoodi Bohra community be referred to a seven-judge bench and heard alongside other matters pertaining to women's right to pray, stating that it was a "seminal issue" regarding "the powers of constitutional courts to tread on question as to whether a particular practice is essential to religion or is an integral of the religion".

A five-judge bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi made this observation in the 3:2 majority judgment delivered over the review petitions filed against the apex court's 2018 Sabarimala verdict.

"For one, the reference to a larger bench is predicated on this being a religious issue, which FGM ...