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Bangladesh: Top court removes 'virgin' word from marriage certificate


Dhaka, Aug 28: A Bangladeshi court recently ruled that women in the Muslim-majority country will no longer have to declare whether they are virgins on marriage registration forms.

Bangladesh: Top court removes virgin word from marriage certificate

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In a landmark ruling after rights groups challenged the 'humiliating and discriminatory' term, the country's high court ordered that 'kumari' (which also mean 'virgin) be replaced with 'unmarried'. However, the other two options in the form -- 'widow' and "divorced" -- remain unchanged.

Previously the word 'virgin' was part of question 5 of Bangladesh's standardised Muslim marriage registration forms. The question asked whether the bride is a virgin, divorcee or widow. The high court directed the government to remove the word and use the word 'অবিবাহিত', unmarried, instead.

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The first question of the marriage contract or nikka form is about the address and the name of the ward in which the marriage is taking place. The second question and third question are about the name of the groom and groom's parents and his age. The fourth line is to fill in the bride's name and parental details.

Separately, the court said grooms now also must declare their marital status.

Marriage laws in Muslim-majority Bangladesh have been criticized by women's rights groups since they were introduced in 1961 - saying that it is 'humiliating and discriminatory,' and that it breaches the privacy of the woman getting married.

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