Karnataka Women Groups write to CJ Karnataka #Bhaktavasala




The Hon’ble Chief Justice

High Court of Karnataka



Hon’ble Chief Justice Shri Vikramjit Sen,


We are writing to you in the context of the recent media reports regarding Hon’ble Justice Bhaktavatsala’s verbal comments in open Court. We are bringing these comments to your notice because they do not seem to be in consonance with the oath Justice Bhaktavatsala has taken under Article 219 to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and to duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge, and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear and favour, affection or ill-will and to uphold the Constitution and the laws.’ The comments attributed to J. Bhaktavatsala are deeply offensive to all right thinking people, lower the dignity and agency of women who constitute literally half the population of this country and betray animus towards women.


It has been reported that J. Bhaktavatsala in open court has observed as follwos:


1) According to media reports on August 31 2012 Justice Bhaktavatsala stated to a woman litigant in a divorce matter, “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 was reported to have remarked in open court, “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 after the beatings, 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. (Bangalore Mirror, August 31,2012)


2) In another case, a young  female 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 experience to argue such cases.”

(Bangalore Mirror,  August 10, 2012)


Our concern is that these comments apart from lowering the dignity of the High Court of Karnataka are also indicative of a judicial mindset which leads to judicial pronouncements which are not in keeping with the Constitution. In particular, the Constitution protects intimate choices with respect to one’s partner transcending barriers of caste, class and religion, regardless of parental opposition. In Writ Petition (HC) No.67/2011, Avinash v. State of Karnataka, J. Bhaktavatsala has expressed his strong opinion against love marriages and by extension the choices made by young women about whom to marry are summarily brushed aside as choices made because of ‘hormonal imbalances’. To quote from the judgment;

In our opinion, the girls below the age of 21 years are not capable of forming a rational judgment as to suitability of the boy, who is in love. It is relevant to mention that those girls, who are suffering from harmonal imbalance easily fall prey to the boys and fall in love, marry and repent at leisure. The parents of the girl are interested in selecting a suitable boy and see that the girl leads a happy married life. Since the Hindu Marriage Act does not deal with love marriages, in our view, it is a high time that the Parliament shall take note of the sufferings and turmoil of such girls and their parents and amend the law suitably. We perpetuate our memory as to the episode of the famous Telugu Cine actor Sri Chiranjivi’s daughter’s love marriage. Hence, we suggest that in the case of love affair of a girl, who is below the age of 21 years, there shall be a condition that the parents of the girl should approve the marriage, otherwise such marriages shall be declared void or voidable.”

In particular, Justice Bhaktavatsala’s above mentioned judicial pronouncement undermines the very idea of India as a nation in which all persons are free to form consensual intimate relationships with others of their choice regardless of narrow considerations of gender, caste, religion and class. If India is to indeed move beyond being a society riven by sharp divisions of caste and religion, the antidote lies in the choices made by young people to love across these narrow domestic walls, regardless of parental opposition.

As Dr. Ambedkar noted:

I am convinced that the real remedy is inter-marriage. Fusion of blood can alone create the feeling of being kith and kin, and unless this feeling of kinship, of being kindred, becomes paramount, the separatist feeling- the feeling of being aliens- created by Caste will not vanish.

(Annihilation of Caste)


The citizens of India look to the Court to protect their right to equality, dignity and liberty. Judges must keep this constitutional mandate in mind of being the protectors of the Constitution, even as they perform their duty  to interpret the law. Thus judges do not have a free reign to give expression to their own private morality or even the morality of the wider public, but rather have a duty to interpret the law in the light of the Constitution. Judges are bound by what the Founding Father of the Indian Constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar describes as constitutional morality.  Dr. Ambedkar quoted Grote, the historian of Greece, who had said:

The diffusion of constitutional morality, not merely among the majority of any community but throughout the whole, is an indispensable condition of government at once free and peaceable; since even any powerful and obstinate minority may render the working of a free institution impracticable without being strong enough to conquer the ascendancy for themselves.”

After quoting Grote, Dr. Ambedkar added:

While everybody recognised the necessity of diffusion of constitutional morality for the peaceful working of the democratic constitution, there are two things interconnected with it which are not, unfortunately, generally recognised. One is that the form of administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form of the Constitution. The other is that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, without changing its form by merely changing its form of administration and to make it inconsistent and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. ……The question is, can we presume such a diffusion of constitutional morality? Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.

[Constitutional Assembly Debates: Official Reports Vol.VII: November 4, 1948, page 38],


J. Bhaktavatsala in making those above statements, has clearly overstepped the bounds and limits of constitutional morality as described by Dr. Ambedkar. We are extraordinarily disappointed and let down by the fact that a high constitutional functionary has through his reported comments and judicial pronouncements betrayed the enormous trust vested in him. There are serious apprehensions that in the constitutionally mandated area of non-discrimination on grounds of gender, J. Bhaktavatsala will not decide in accordance with the constitution but rather in accordance with his private morality.


We ask that you consider strong action in your capacity as a Chief Justice to send out the message that no Judge can so easily betray the mandate of the Constitution to ensure equality of gender. Judges have a duty to protect the mandate of Article 14 of the constitution which guarantees equality and non-discrimination and Article 15 which guarantees that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Justice Bhaktavatsala’s comments and action in court in condoning violence against women, in requiring that unmarried women are not capable of arguing matrimonial cases and comments even about Justice Indrakala, his sister Judge are extremely gender biased and discriminating against women. This bias against women is reflected not only in his statements in court but also in his judgments. Gender bias is ordinarily defined as a tendency to think about people primarily on the basis of their sex. In the judicial system, gender bias results in decisions or actions that are based upon preconceived notions of sexual roles rather than on fair and impartial appraisals of any situation. Gender bias must be eliminated in the judicial system not only because it influences the perception of women in the courtroom, but also because it undermines the manner in which courts apply the law and thus affects the substantive rights of the parties.


In the interest of upholding the principles of our Constitution, we would request the following:

  1. That J. Bhaktavatsala issue an unconditional public apology for his gender biased and offensive remarks.
  2. That the all appeals from the judgments of the Family Court classified as MFA(FC) are removed from J. Bhaktavatsala’s docket.
  3. Set up a Commission to look at gender bias within the judiciary in Karnataka


We would also request you to take serious note of these comments and ensure that in your capacity as the Chief Justice, no judge of the Karnataka High Court again gives any room for such gross insensitivity to all forms of discrimination based on gender.


Protest against Justice Bhaktavatsala on September 10,2012 #Bangalore


Justice Bhaktavatsala’s remarks in the High Court legitimizing the
criminal act of domestic violence have horrified the city and indeed the
entire country.

To protest such absolutely misogynistic mindset reflecting the dominant
attitudes of society that sanction violence against women, we are
gathering in protest on Monday September 10, 2012 from 12.30 pm onwards.
_/If you wish to join us in the protest, kindly email us in advance so
we can inform you (later) about the site of the protest./_

*Please come dressed in black and we will stand in silence with placards
to express our outrage over Justice Bhaktavatsala’s actions. (If you
prefer to bring your own messages, please note that displaying them will
be subject to review by Vimochana and other organisers).*

Following the protest we will present the attached memorandum to the
Chief Justice. If you wish to endorse the memorandum, please email us
your name, affiliation and contact details no later than Sunday night
(9th September).

We look forward to your endorsement and/or your presence in the protest.

All of us from Vimochana.

Forum for Women’s Rights
33/1-9, Thyagraj Layout
Jaibharath Nagar, Bangalore 560033
Tel: +91-80-25492783, 782, 781


Odisha: Dalit woman tonsured, assaulted; 10 arrested


08th September 2012 02:15 PM

A Dalit woman was assaulted, tortured and tonsured by locals after holding her responsible for the death of a youth under mysterious circumstances in Sambalpur district, the police said today.

“Ten persons were arrested on the basis of an FIR lodged by the victim Subidha Buda, a Dalit woman of Jayaghanta village in Dhama police station,” Inspector-in-Charge G Barla said.

Buda’s 18-year-old daughter had an affair with Sudam Mahananda of the same village. The duo had eloped from the village on August 11 but Sudam fell ill on the way and was declared brought dead at the government hospital at Jharsuguda, he said.

Holding the 45-year-old woman and her family responsible for Sudam’s death, the villagers had staged a road blockade on August 12 by keeping the body on the road to demand inquiry into the incident and arrest of the culprits, sources said.

They had also asked the family to leave the village, the police said. After being made to leave the village, the family was staying at their elder daughter’s place in nearby Baunsura.

However, the woman had come to her house to take some household goods on Thursday when villagers dragged her out, assaulted and tortured before shaving her head.

However, no case was registered under the SC/ST Atrocities Act as both the complainant and accused belonged to the Scheduled Caste, police officer Burla said.

Cases were registered against 18 persons and effort is on to nab the others involved in the incident, sources said.

‘Manesar violence a result of conspiracy’


“The violence at the Maruti plant at Manesar was a result of a well planned conspiracy by the management which we could not understand at that time. The management had introduced bouncers in the factory in order to intimidate the negotiating union leaders on July 18,” said Pradeep Kumar (name changed), a sacked labour of the plant, while speaking at a convention on “Intensified assault on the working class: Challenges before democracy” here on Friday.

Mr. Kumar said the violence at the plant was orchestrated by the bouncers who were also responsible for the fire in which a manager lost his life. Alleging that the working condition at the plant violated labour laws, he said the bulk of workers were employed on contract and were paid less than what paid to permanent workers.

‘Money power’

“The management used money power and got the media to wrongly portray us as criminals and killers without knowing the reality. Nobody highlighted that bouncers in the labour uniform were introduced in the factory in order to unleash the violence. Sacked by the management and hounded by the police and management goons at present we are all alone,” said another worker.

Atul Sood, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, pointed out that in spite of the fact that strikes and lock-outs were maximum in Gujarat in 2010-11, the State was a preferred destination for corporate houses because it was very authoritarian and backs the exploitative managements to the hilt.

Pointing out that the workers of the Maruti factory firmly believed that the July 18 incident was a conspiracy to finish off the union, Rakhi Sehgal of the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) alleged that the incident is being investigated by those police officers whose role is already suspect during the violence at the plant.

All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) president S. Kumaraswamy said violent incidents like the one at Manesar plant were bound to happen as long as industrial democracy was suppressed. “Industrial terrorism is being unleashed on the working class by the nexus of corporate management, State agencies like police and ex-Army personnel. Just as corporate plunder was being encouraged as shown in the coal, 2G and mining scams, capital backed by the State is also focusing on maximum extraction of profit by maximizing exploitation of workers. It has resulted in 21st Century technology with 19th Century labour conditions.”

Calling for a unity of struggles of workers on the factory floor with struggles of Adivasis and workers all over the country, labour historian Prabhu Mahapatra said the struggle of Maruti workers at Manesar plant represented their realization that the fate of permanent and contract workers were linked. Hence the struggle must be united. “There had been a turning point in production relations since 2000, whereby the permanent workers too were facing depression of wages.”

The convention, which was jointly organised by AICCTU and All India Students’ Union, demanded an independent judicial enquiry into the July 18 incident of violence at the Manesar plant, release and reinstatement of all the workers and immediate withdrawal of police and paramilitary forces from industrial areas in Gurgaon-Manesar.

The resolution adopted by the convention also demanded that the Haryana Government and the Union Government be held responsible for upholding labour laws and industrial democracy and amendment of the Trade Union Act 1926 to make registration of the majority union mandatory.


Use of social media to inflame communal tension worrying: PM #censorship #Foe

New Delhi | Agency: PTI


Voicing concern over deterioration of the communal situation in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the use of social media and other mode of communication to aggravate such tension is posing a new challenge.

“Increase in communal incidents in the country in the past few months and the revival of ethnic tensions in the North East in recent weeks have been particular causes of concern to all of us,” he said addressing the annual DGPs/IGPs conference here.

Singh said ethnic disturbances of the North East assumed a national dimension with the flight of people belonging to the region from various towns of South and Western India. “This further strained the communal situation in the country, which was already showing some signs of deterioration, particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala,” he said.

The Prime Minister said use of bulk SMSes and social media to aggravate the communal situation was a new challenge that the recent disturbances have thrown before the country. “We need to fully understand how these new media are used by miscreants. We also need to devise strategies to counter the propaganda that is carried out by these new means,” he said.

Singh, however, cautioned that any measure to control the use of such media must be carefully weighed against the need for the freedom to express and communicate.

“I am sure that in the coming months our police forces would be able to work out effective strategies to deal with these tendencies,” he said. The Prime Minister said ethnic, religious and cultural diversity in our country is a source of strength and vitality to India and efforts must be taken to strengthen the thread of unity running through country’s “variegated societal landscape”.


13- year-old tribal girl burnt alive by a jain family,raped ? #Naiduniya #Chhattisgarh #paidmedia

No english daily, national  , or even a channel ? has covered this #paidmedia

One english paper-  HITAVAD covered it

 The front-page of Hindi Newspaper, Nai duniya , Chhattisgarh edition today informs that a 13 year old  , sukmadi vadhda,  abujhmadiya a primitive tribal girl  from narayanpur, chhattisgarh, who was burnt alive by a jain family early this month might have been raped .Post mortem report reveals that   there is a possibility that 13 years old   girl,was raped before  burning her alive by a Jain family.But the post mortem report does not reveal all, and will   be sent to  forensic  science laboratory  in Raipur f or confirmation of sexual assault

On september 2,  the district court  judge ordered all the  family members of the Jain  family ,  Praful Jain, Prabha Jain, Pintu Jain  to 15 days  judicial custody under  IPC  Sec 302 and also have registered a case under the Atrocities act . 


13-yr-old girl raped, set on fire by father HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Raipur, September 07, 2012

A thirteen-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by her father, a daily wage earner, for two weeks and then set ablaze by him and left to die on the outskirts of the Chhattisgarh capital recently.

The girl was raped after her mother, also a daily wage earner, left the house after frequent squabbles with her husband.

Neighbours took the victim to a government hospital, where she is being treated for nearly 60% burn.

Doctors attending on the girl told HT she was out of danger but the traumatised girl was at a loss to fathom why her mother left her to the mercy of her father who not only raped her but tried to kill her as well.

The mother rushed to the hospital on learning about her daughter’s agony but seemed to be too shocked to speak to HT. She just said she would never forgive herself for leaving her daughter behind.

City superintendent of police Neeraj Chandrakar said, “The father has been booked for rape, attempt to murder and criminal assault. The girl narrated her ordeal in a statement, saying that she was raped for over two weeks after her mother went away from the family. The father tried to burn and kill her.”

#Vedanta to close Lanjigarh refinery on Dec 5 #goodnews


Times of India, Sept 7, 2012
Rajaram Satapathy
BHUBANESWAR: With no bauxite in hand and mines stuck under regulatory issues, the Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) has decided to shut down its refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district. VAL president and Lanjigarh plant’s chief operating officer (COO) Dr Mukesh Kumar on Thursday intimated the state government that the factory was no more in a position to run and would be closed from December 5.
VAL’s decision is bound to send a wrong signal amongst the prospective investors that mineral-rich Odisha, contrary to the claims of the state government, is far from welcoming industries. The VAL staff carried Kumar’s letter addressed to the labour and employment secretary and handed over in the respective department. Copies of the letter were also given to the chief secretary, industry secretary and director of factories and boilers. “Such a big investment in the state is in jeopardy. No one in the government seems bothered. Our people wanted to meet the secretaries, but were told that they had no time,” said a senior VAL official.
Anil Agarwal‘s VAL is the only private industrial house to have invested more than Rs 50,000 crore in Odisha for setting up the integrated alumina, aluminium complex. This included 1mtpa refinery at Lanjigarh due for expansion to 6 mtpa capacity 70 per cent work on which has already been completed, 1.75 mtpa capacity aluminium smelter, 1215 mw captive power plant and 2400 mw independent power plant, all at Jharsuguda. “In retrospect we feel it was a bad decision to go for such huge investments here,” remarked a senior VAL official. Kumar’s letter blamed the state government for not doing enough to provide raw material, bauxite, for the refinery leading to its closure.
“VAL had set up the refinery entailing huge investment in a specific background wherein the government of Odisha had agreed to supply bauxite,” the letter said, adding detail studies were undertaken on various aspects before signing the final MoU on 7th April 2003 for setting up the refinery. “It is only on the basis of the MoUs and agreements with the government of Odisha for supply of bauxite that VAL agreed to set up an alumina refinery at Lanjigarh,” the letter said. Elaborating, the VAL said it had in the past several years has submitted 26 applications to the state government for prospective license/mining lease of bauxite. “Unfortunately none of the applications could be processed and forwarded for allotment of bauxite mines,” the company’s letter stated.
Kumar’s letter highlighted how VAL finding the government not keeping its promise for supply of bauxite had desperately tried to source raw materials from different other places including going for imports at high costs. But nothing seemed helping the plant providing livelihood to hundreds of families run smoothly. “As such, it has become difficult to sustain operations without causing damage to the plant, equipment and machinery. The unit has already incurred financial losses to the tune of more than Rs 2500 crores,” the letter said adding that Lanjigarh factory was built exclusively with ‘low pressure and low temperature technology to treat bauxite available only in the Eastern Ghats and mostly in Odisha.’ The VAL said the prevailing situation has left it with no choice but to take such a ‘painful’ decision to close down the factory as ‘further operation is not feasible’.


Family court matters taken away from Justice Bhakthavatsala #Justice #Victory

Press Trust of India / Bangalore September 08, 2012

Following an outrage over certain remarks made by a judge of Karnataka High Court on women in an open court, all family court matters, including child custody and guardianship, have been shifted from him and another judge.

The matters have been shifted to the court of justices K L Manjunath and V Suri Appa Rao from the court of Justice Bhakthavatsala and Justice B S Indrakala.

There was no other change in the subjects listed against the name of justices Bhakthavatsala and Indrakala. The changes will come into effect from September 10, official sources said.

The shifting of the matters comes in the wake of the outrage expressed by women lawyers and activists to certain oral remarks made by Bhakthavatsala in an open court.

The modification of subjects assigned to the Judges of the high court normally happens to those judges who return from their sittings at the circuit benches.

Karnataka has two circuit benches — in Gulbarga and Dharwad. Subjects are normally modified after summer vacation until Dussehra holidays, post Dussehra holidays to Christmas holidays and Christmas holidays to summer holidays.

The unusual modification of taking away just one subject relating to family court matters is an indication of the impact of the campaign that went right up to the level of the Chief Justice of India.

Justice Bhaktavatsala had yesterday expressed his displeasure about the reports appearing in certain sections of the press about the oral observations made by him while hearing a marriage dispute.

While hearing a case, Justice Bhaktavatsala rapped the media for “misinterpreting” his oral observations and said “I have not permitted to beat wife. I never approved such kind of things… In the interest of protecting family, marriages I put forth my efforts… I asked couples to forget their past and live their life peacefully… But reports are otherwise… While hearing family matters we try to conciliate between parties. The papers have taken in a different perspective.”

Certain statements made by him last month had appeared in a section of press wherein while hearing a matrimonial dispute he was reported to have told a woman lawyer that she was unfit to argue the matter as she was unmarried.

Another observation by him was while advising a techie couple who reconciled for the sake of their child, wherein he asked the wife as to why she was talking about the being beaten by her husband, when he could take good care of her as he was doing well in his business.

Women advocates led by noted senior lawyer and former Chairperson of Karnataka State Commission For Women Pramila Nesargi had recently given a representation to Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen expressing serious objection to the remarks passed by Justice Bhaktavatsala.


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September 2012
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