Petition to Chief Justice of India- Remove Justice Bhaktavatsala ‘ Kindly Adjust” #Vaw #Gender #Justice


 

A judge’s obligation to the public starts and ends with his or her analysis of the law, its correct use, not with the preaching of personal beliefs or preferences. Chief Justice S H. Kapadia once said, “High Courts and the Supreme Court are courts of principles. The judges should not speak anything beyond the principles of a particular case. Let us not give lectures to the society. The problem is sometimes we judges impose our own values, our own likes or dislikes on the society”. The Karnataka High Court seems to have missed this message. The comments made by Justice Bhaktavatsala in various domestic violence and divorce court proceedings recently are perpetuating the myth of patriarchy and his opinions going beyond the legal scope..The judges are supposed to protect and enforce human rights of the citizens , but here we have a judge who is against women rights and even encouraging them to continue to stay in a violent relationship. Such views are retrograde and against the tenets of the Constitution of India.

I am shocked at the comments made by Justice Bhaktavatsala of Karnataka , High Court, in various domestic violence and divorce cases recently are perpetuating the myth of patriarchy and his opinions are unconstitutional The judges are supposed to protect and enforce human rights of the citizens , but here we have a judge who is against women rights and even encouraging them to continue to stay in a violent relationship.

According to media reports on August 31, he went out of his way to counsel a young woman whose stated reason for not living with her husband was that he used to beat her. Justice Bhaktavatsala said, “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? I know you have undergone pain. But that is nothing in front of what you undergo as a woman. I have not undergone such pain. But madam (Justice BS Indrakala) has.”

The court asked the woman if her parents were present, at which her father walked up to the bench. The judge remarked, “Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother!” When the woman said her husband would beat her in the open, in front of everyone, Justice Bhaktavatsala remarked that it was she who was bringing it out in the open. The court was told that the husband would beat her in the middle of the night and had thrown her out of the house.

When the woman’s advocate produced photographs showing her swollen face, the court said, “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. Have you read about actor Darshan. He spent 30 days in jail after beating his wife. But they are living together now. What is on your mind and what is on your agenda?” The court directed the couple to go out and talk to each other.

This is just not an isolated case in another case  reported , a young advocate had not imagined she would be receiving a lesson on married life when she took up a case on behalf of an estranged wife. She was summarily told by Justice K Bhaktavatsala that she was unfit to argue a matrimonial case as she was unmarried. While the lady advocate was citing the allegations against the husband, Justice Bhaktavatsala stopped her midway and asked, “Are you married?” When she replied in the negative, the judge said, “You are unfit to argue this case. You do not know real life. Why are you arguing like this? He is your (client’s) partner,not a stranger.Family matters should be argued only by married people, not spinsters. You should only watch. Bachelors and spinsters watching family court proceedings will start thinking if there is any need to marry at all. Marriage is not like a public transport system. You better get married and you will get very good experince to argue such cases.”However, despite the peace making efforts of the court,the case remained unresolved.

In another case,  in a bid to unite a couple who are seeking divorce he directed the duo to spend two days at Bangalore Club. The techie couple have been trying to get a divorce for the past five years.Justice Bhaktavatsala asked the woman to take her husband to her house and spend two days along with their daughter and return after two days but she refused saying that, her reputation would get “spoiled”. Later the judge asked the man to take his wife to his house but he also refused saying, “his mother would faint at the first look of his wife”. Then Justice Bhaktavatsala suggested that the couple stay in a Bangalore club with their daughter and parents. He said all arrangements for it would be done by the counsel and added “let this be a progress of family union”.

Last year in a a habeas corpus petition by a Bangalore resident seeking reunion with his newly married wife, who he claimed was being illegally detained by her parents, Justice Bhaktavatsala  had recommended that the Hindu Marriage Act be changed so that a girl under 21 cannot marry without permission of her parents. Presently the law requires the girl to be 18yrs. In a case of marriage by choice he sent the boy to jail.

I am extremely disturbed at these comments that appear to advocate silence and acquiescence of women who are subject to violence within the family. Also, to suggest that the woman was seeking a divorce to gain some monetary advantage is, apart from trivializing her travails, a complete misconception as single mothers and divorced women suffer immense financial setbacks.If this is the response to women who struggle against stigma and fear to speak up about domestic violence, their confidence in obtaining justice will also be shaken. Such views are retrograde and against the tenets of the Constitution of India.

There should be an  inquiry into the remarks passed by the judge  to ensure that there will be no miscarriage of justice in all cases relating to women because of such biased views.  He should be removed ,as a gender insensitive judge, is perpetuating stereotypes and the patriarchal values which women have been fighting for years and are still fighting.

PLEASE SIGN ONLINE PETITION TO REMOVE JUSTICE BHAKTAVATSALA

PLEASE JOIN FACEBOOK PAGE ‘REMOVE JUSTICE BHAKTAVATSALA

 

Mamata bans IPS officer’s book critical of her Muslim policy #censorship #foe #fos


 

Express news service : Kolkata, Mon Sep 03 2012

The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal has banned controversial IPS officer , Musalmander Ki Karaniya (What Muslims Should Do), in which he has highlighted the alleged plight of Muslims in the state and the “double standard” of the present government in “improving” their condition.

The book, which was released a month ago, has been published by Kolkata-based publisher Mitra and Ghosh.

On Saturday, officials from the Enforcement Branch of Kolkata Police raided the office, sales counter and godown of the publishing house and took away copies of the book.

Islam was not available for comment.

The intellectuals of the state have come out against the government’s move, calling it “draconian”. “We are shocked to know about the state government’s decision of banning the book,” said legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen. Noted littérateur Sunil Gangopadhyay also minced no words to protest the government’s decision. “This cultural policing (by the government) should be condemned by everybody,’’ he said.

The IPS officer, who was an ardent critic of the Left Front government, has penned down several books, a few of them criticising the role of the Marxists in controlling the police. He was censured by the Left Front government at that time and was allegedly denied promotions.

 

When Mamata Banerjee became Railway Minister, she made him an official of the Railways in charge of safety. But after Trinamool Congress came to power in the state, Mamata made him an officer on Special duty in the Home Department, which he refused.

Thereafter, Islam was made Additional Director General (Training) of West Bengal Police, a post he still holds.

The author received several literary awards and has also set up an engineering college at Domkol in Murshidabad district — his native place. According to reports, the author is planning to move court against the decision of the West Bengal government.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal has banned controversial IPS officer Nazrul Islam’s book, Musalmander Ki Karaniya (What Muslims Should Do), in which he has highlighted the alleged plight of Muslims in the state and the “double standard” of the present government in “improving” their condition.

The book, which was released a month ago, has been published by Kolkata-based publisher Mitra and Ghosh.

On Saturday, officials from the Enforcement Branch of Kolkata Police raided the office, sales counter and godown of the publishing house and took away copies of the book.

Islam was not available for comment.

The intellectuals of the state have come out against the government’s move, calling it “draconian”. “We are shocked to know about the state government’s decision of banning the book,” said legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen. Noted littérateur Sunil Gangopadhyay also minced no words to protest the government’s decision. “This cultural policing (by the government) should be condemned by everybody,’’ he said.

The IPS officer, who was an ardent critic of the Left Front government, has penned down several books, a few of them criticising the role of the Marxists in controlling the police. He was censured by the Left Front government at that time and was allegedly denied promotions.

 

When Mamata Banerjee became Railway Minister, she made him an official of the Railways in charge of safety. But after Trinamool Congress came to power in the state, Mamata made him an officer on Special duty in the Home Department, which he refused.

Thereafter, Islam was made Additional Director General (Training) of West Bengal Police, a post he still holds.

The author received several literary awards and has also set up an engineering college at Domkol in Murshidabad district — his native place. According to reports, the author is planning to move court against the decision of the West Bengal government.

 

Circumcision is good? #WTFnews


 

NYT News Service Sep 2, 2012,

The American Academy of Pediatrics has shifted its stance on infant male circumcision , announcing this week that new research, including studies in Africa suggesting that the procedure may protect heterosexual men against HIV, indicated that the health benefits outweighed the risks. But it stopped short of recommending routine circumcision for all baby boys, saying the decision remains a family matter.

The long-delayed policy update comes as sentiment against circumcision is gaining strength in the United States and parts of Europe . Circumcision rates in the United States declined to 54.5% in 2009 from 62.7% in 1999, according to one federal estimate.

In Europe, a government ethics committee in Germany last week overruled a court decision that removing a child’s foreskin was “grievous bodily harm” and therefore illegal. The country’s Professional Association of Pediatricians called the ethics committee ruling “a scandal.”

A provincial official in Austria has told state-run hospitals in the region to stop performing circumcisions , and the Danish authorities have commissioned a report to investigate whether medical doctors are present during religious circumcision rituals as required.

“We’re not pushing everybody to circumcise their babies,” Dr Douglas S. Diekema, a member of the academy’s task force on circumcision , said in an interview. “This is not really pro-circumcision . It falls in the middle. It’s pro-choice , for lack of a better word. Really, what we’re saying is, ‘This ought to be a choice that’s available to parents.”

But opponents of circumcision say no one has the right to make the decision to remove a healthy body part from another person .”The bottom line is it’s unethical ,” said Georganne Chapin, director of Intact America, a group that advocates against circumcision . “A normal foreskin on a normal baby boy is no more threatening than the hymen or labia on your daughter.”

 

German producer of thalidomide issues apology, 50 years on #disability


 

Born without arms and legs, Lynette Rowe (centre) leaves court in Sydney after winning her case over thalidomide (AFP/Gordon Legal/File)

AFP, LONDON, September 2, 2012
The German firm that made thalidomide has issued its first apology in over 50 years to the thousands born disabled as a result of the drug’s use, but a victims’ charity called for more tangible action. Grunenthal’s chief executive Harald Stock in a speech said his company was “very sorry” for its silence towards the victims of the drug, which was sold to pregnant women as a cure for morning sickness in the 1950s and early 1960s.

An estimated 10,000 children worldwide were born with defects — including missing limbs — after their mothers took thalidomide, which was sold in nearly 50 countries before being pulled from the market in 1961.

In a translated copy of the German text published on Grunenthal’s website, Mr.Stock said he wanted to express his company’s “sincere regrets” and “deep sympathy” to all those affected, “their mothers and their families”.Mr.Stock delivered the speech at the inauguration of a special memorial to thalidomide victims in Stolberg, western Germany, where the company is based.

He said his company was taking steps to help the victims of the drug’s use.“We have learned how important it is that we engage in an open dialogue with those affected and to talk and to listen to them,” he said.

Hardship
“We have begun to mutually develop and implement projects with them [the victims],to improve their living situation and assist in hardship situations easily and efficiently.” But the apology was rejected as insufficient by the charity Thalidomide Agency U.K., which represents people affected by the drug in Britain. Freddie Astbury, the charity’s head consultant, said the company
needed to “put their money where their mouth is” rather than simply express regret.

Mr. Astbury, who was born in Chester in 1959 without arms or legs after his mother took the drug, said: “If they are serious about admitting they are at fault and regret what happened they need to start helping those of us who were affected financially.”

 

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