Judge tells woman to “adjust” to her husband’s domestic abuse
An Indian High Court judge has been heavily criticised after telling a woman she should “adjust” to the domestic violence committed by her husband, rather than divorce him.
Justice K Bhakthavatsala, a judge at the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore, suggested that the abuse was justified by the husband’s ability to take care of his wife financially.
Addressing her in court, Justice Bhakthavatsala said, “Women suffer in all marriages. You are married with two children, and know what it means to suffer as a woman…Your husband is doing good business, he will take care of you. Why are you still talking about his beatings?”
The 28-year-old woman, who was no longer living with her husband, was seeking a divorce on the grounds that he subjected her to cruelty and abuse.
Both parties were asked to be present in court on 31 August after her 37-year-old husband complained that she had left him and taken their sons.
During the case the woman’s lawyer showed photographs of the injuries inflicted by her husband, to which Justice Bhakthavatsala responded, “You have to adjust.”
He later added, “Ask your father if he has never beaten your mother” and suggested that she was to blame for “bringing [the beatings] out in the open.”
Described as “radically pro-family”, Justice Bhaktavatsala is known for his efforts to reconcile warring couples.
He is believed to have made other sexist remarks, including reports that he recently told an unmarried female lawyer her single status made her unqualified to argue in divorce cases.
The shocking comments have sparked outcry amongst women’s groups and activists in India, where violence against women is widespread.
An online petition demanding the removal of Bhakthavatsala from his position as Justice has already been signed by more than 700 people.
The petition states, “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’s rights and even encouraging them to continue to stay in a violent relationship.”
You can sign the petition for Justice Bhaktavatsala’s removal here.