Bangladesh court orders 'virgin' removed from marriage certificate

The word "virgin" must be removed from Muslim marriage certificates in Bangladesh, the country's top court has said, a landmark verdict after campaginers challenged the "humiliating and discriminatory" term.

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", deputy attorney general Amit Talukder told AFP.

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The court is expected to publish its full verdict by October, with the changes to the certificate expected to come into effect then.

"It is a landmark verdict," Aynun Nahar Siddiqua, a lawyer for the groups which filed the case challenging the term in 2014, told AFP on Monday (Aug 26).

Rights groups have long criticised 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.

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The judgement 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 per cent of its 168 million population are Muslims.

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BangladeshMuslimsMarriage Certificates