A high court judge in India has come under attack after he said that it was okay for a man to beat his wife as long as he took good care of her.
Justice K Bhakthavatsala of the Karnataka High Court gave the shocking statement justifying domestic violence while hearing a divorce case.
The judge counseled the plaintiff, who approached the court seeking divorce on the grounds of mistreatment by her husband, to adjust to the abuse for the sake of her children and marriage.
"Women suffer in all marriages. You are married with two children, and know what it means to suffer as a woman. Yesterday, there was a techie couple who reconciled for the sake of their child. Your husband is doing good business; he will take care of you. Why are you still talking about his beatings?" Justice Bhaktavatsala was quoted as saying by the Bangalore Mirror.
The comments angered many women's rights groups in the country and they have launched an campaign online seeking the intervention of Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia for the removal of Justice Bhaktavatsala. Over 500 persons have signed the online petition. The women lawyers also wrote to the Chief Justice, requesting action against the high court judge.
According to the petition, the court even told the woman to ask her father whether he had never beaten his wife. When the woman's advocate produced photographs showing her swollen face, the judge asked the woman to adjust. "You have to adjust. Are you just behind money? There is nothing in your case to argue on merits. You have to give him a divorce or go with him. What is on your mind and what is on your agenda?" he said, according to the petition.
Bhakthavatsala, who is known for his radically pro-family views, had earlier courted controversy on several occasions when he went out of the way to reunite the separating couples. Once he reportedly told a woman lawyer handling a divorce case that an unmarried advocate was not qualified to argue divorce cases.
Interestingly, according to a Hindu report, he criticized the increasing attacks against women at a function in Mangalore, a coastal city in Karnataka, last week. He said, "We should respect women ... but what are we doing? If we really start respecting women people will not venture to do anything against women, may be a child or college-going girl."