Bangalore, Sep 8: 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 KL Manjunath and V Suri Appa Rao from the court of Justice Bhakthavatsala and Justice BS 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 Justice Bhakthavatsala in an open court. While hearing a case, he reportedly said it was okay for a man to indulge in domestic violence and beat his wife as long as he was taking good care of his wife.
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 on Friday expressed his displeasure about the reports appearing in certain sections of the media 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.