'Cow Exhales Oxygen', 'Skin To Skin' , 'Will You Marry Her' & Other Controversial Judicial Remarks Of 2021


22 Dec 2021 9:37 AM GMT

  • Cow Exhales Oxygen, Skin To Skin , Will You Marry Her & Other Controversial Judicial Remarks Of 2021

    In 2021, there were certain bizarre and astonishing remarks made by judges, which created widespread public controversies. Here is a look at some of them.'Cow the only animal which exhales oxygen' : Allahabad High CourtWhile deciding a bail application in a case for cattle slaughter, Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav of the Allahabad High Court opined that cow should be declared as the national...

    In 2021, there were certain bizarre and astonishing remarks made by judges, which created widespread public controversies.  Here is a look at some of them.

    'Cow the only animal which exhales oxygen' : Allahabad High Court

    While deciding a bail application in a case for cattle slaughter, Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav of the Allahabad High Court opined that cow should be declared as the national animal of India.

    In the order, written in Hindi, Justice Yadav enthusiastically described several virtues of cow, in order to emphasize that it deserved to be the national animal.

    "Scientists believe that cow is the only animal which inhales and exhales oxygen", Justice Yadav observed in the order.  "Panchgavya, which is made of cow milk, curd, ghee, urine and cow dung, helps in the treatment of several incurable diseases", the judge went on to say. He further observed that it is a tradition in India to use ghee made of cow milk during yajna because "this gives special energy to sunrays, which ultimately causes rains".

    These comments created a stir in the social media, with several users pointing out the absolute lack of scientific basis in the judge's observations. Justice Yadav observed in the order that no one can claim a fundamental right to eat the meat of the cow, and called for a law to declare "cow protection a fundamental right of Hindus".

    'Will you marry her?' CJI Bobde's question to rape accused stirs controversy

    In March, the then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde kicked up a row with his 'will you marry her?' question to a man accused of raping a minor on a false promise of marriage. The man, who was accused of inducing a minor girl into sexual intercourse by promising to marry her while he was a teenager, had approached the Court seeking anticipatory bail . Upset with the huge backlash generated by the remarks, CJI Bobde, on a later date, claimed that his observations were misreported and said "we never gave a suggestion that you should marry. We had asked, are you going to marry".

    'Such people must not be spared' : Madhya Pradesh HC judge during bail hearing in Munawwar Faruqui case

    While hearing the bail applications of comedians Munawwar Faruqi and Nalin Yadav in a case alleging insult to religious sentiments, Justice Rohit Arya of the Madhya Pradesh High Court made certain strong remarks, which suggested a pre-determination of guilt at the investigation stage.

    "...why you take undue advantage of other's religious sentiments and emotions? What is wrong with your mindset? How can you do this for the purpose of your business?", Justice Rohit Arya asked Faruqui's counsel.

    "Such people must not be spared", the judge said while reserving order. Later, the judge passed an order rejecting bail observing that the evidence collected suggested that the accused "under the garb of stand up comedy" made "scurrilous, disparaging utterances, outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India".

    Faruqui approached the Supreme Court challenging the HC order. On the first day of the case itself, a bench led by Justice Nariman granted bail to Faruqui within less than 5-minutes. The bench also stayed a production warrant issued by a UP Court against him in a similar case registered there.

    Wide remarks against films in the 'Tandav' case

    While denying anticipatory bail to the actors and makers on the web series 'Tandav', which got entangled in a case for outraging religious sentiments, Justice Siddharth of the Allahabad High Court made certain blanket observations, going beyond the issues involved in the case.

    The judge remarked that the use of the word "TANDAV" as the name of the movie could be "offensive to the majority of the people of this country since this word is associated with a particular act assigned to Lord Shiva who is considered to be creator, conservator and destroyer of mankind altogether".
    Justice Siddharth in its 20-page-order remarked that a number of movies have been produced "which have used the name of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and shown them in disrespectful manner".

    The order referred to movies like Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Satyam Shivam Sundram, P.K., Oh My God and stated :

    "Efforts have been made to subvert the image of historical and mythological personalities (Padmavati). Names and icons of faith of majority community have been used to earn money (Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela)."

    The Court has also underlined that this tendency on the part of the Hindi film industry is growing and if not curbed in time, it may have disastrous consequences for the Indian social, religious and communal order.

    Stunningly, the order also made a reference to Munawwar Faruqui, who was then jailed in the Madhya Pradesh case.

    "Things are worsening as is evident from the fact that an obscure stand-up comedian, Munawar Faruqui, from Gujarat made comments on Hindu God and Godesses in a new year show at Indore and gained undue publicity on being arrested in a case. This shows that from films this trend has passed to comedy shows."
    "Can't play role offending religious sentiments" : Supreme Court to "Tandav" actor
    The Supreme Court had refused relief to actors of the "Tandav" series when they sought the clubbing of the multiple FIRs registered in different states against them for alleged insult to religious sentiments.  When the counsel for actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub argued that views of a character depicted in the series cannot be ascribed to the actor's personal views/ beliefs, Justice MR Shah, who was part of the bench, orally said, "You cannot play a role hurting religious sentiments of others".
    "You accepted the contract after reading the script. You cannot hurt religious sentiments", Justice Shah asserted.
    The bench did not consider the legal arguments raised by the parties regarding the clubbing of multiple FIRs based on the same scene and asked them to approach the concerned courts for bail.
    'Election Commission should be tried for murder' : Madras High Court Chief Justice
    Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee ruffled feathers by remarking that the Election Commission of India should be tried for murder for allowing election rallies during the peak of COVID second wave. While the judge's concerns about the apathy of the ECI were in the right place, the extremity of the remarks stirred up a controversy.
    "Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19...Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably. Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?", Chief Justice Banerjee lashed out at the counsel of ECI.

    A deeply upset ECI approached the Supreme Court seeking expunging of these remarks and bar on reporting of oral statements of judges. The Supreme Court refused to impose bar on media reporting, saying that oral observations also need to be reported to make court proceedings transparent. The Supreme Court also said that there cannot be an expunging of oral remarks which are not part of the record. The Court however advised that judges should avoid making "off the cuff" remarks which can be damaging to other parties.
    "A degree of caution and restraint on part of the High Court would have allayed these proceedings. Oral remarks are not part of the order and hence there is no question of expungement", the top court said in the judgment.

    "The remarks of the High Court were harsh. The metaphor inappropriate. The High Court-if indeed it did make the oral observations which have been alluded to -did not seek to attribute culpability for the COVID-19 pandemic in the country to the EC. What instead it would have intended to do was to urge the EC to ensure stricter compliance of COVID-19 related protocols during elections...", the Supreme Court observed.

    Respect the Prime Minister of India, says Kerala High Court

    The remarks made in a Kerala High Court judgment that a citizen has a duty to respect the Prime Minister of India have raised some eyebrows. Justice PV Kunhikrishnan wrote the judgment while dismissing a petition challenging the use of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photo in the COVID-vaccination certificate. The Court's sermon regarding the "duty" to respect the Prime Minister has invited public criticism, with many asking why should a constitutional court, supposed to be the guardian of fundamental rights, impose such a duty on a citizen in a democratic set-up.

    Referring to the petitioner's argument that the publication of PM Modi's photo in the vaccine certificate is an intrusion to his right to privacy and his right to speech (which the petitioner argued that includes the right against compelled viewing), the Court observed:

    "What a fantastic argument! Is he not living in this country? The Prime Minister of India is not a person who entered the parliament house by breaking the roof of the parliament building. He came to power because of the mandate of the people. The Indian democracy is being praised by the world. The Prime Minister is elected because he has got people's mandate."

    The Court, while dismissing the petition with a hefty cost of Rupees one lakh, also said :

    "..if the petitioner does not want to see his Prime Minister or if he is ashamed to see the picture of his Prime Minister, he can avert his eyes to the bottom side of the vaccine certificate".

    Incidentally, the Allahabad High Court has also made similar remarks in a bail order. "...it is the bounden duty of every citizen of the country to respect all the Constitutional dignitaries including the President and Prime Minister of 'this great nation'", Justice Mohd. Faiz Alam Khan of the High Court observed while granting bail to a man accused of morphing the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Law needed to give national honour to Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, Ramayana, Gita : Allahabad High Court

    Justice Shekhar Yadav of the Allahabad High Court, who had called for a law to make cow the national animal, observed in another case that the Parliament should bring in a law to give honour to Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, Gita, Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki, and Maharishi Ved Vyas as they are part of the culture and tradition of India.

    "Ram is the soul and culture of India and India is incomplete without Ram," Justice Yadav observed in the order written in Hindi. The order was passed in a bail application of a man accused of offending religious sentiments by sharing objectionable pictures of deities in social media.

    Calling Lord Shri Rama and Lord Shri Krishna as the great men of India, whom the majority of the country have been worshipping for thousands of years, the Court opined that if someone makes obscene remarks about them, then it hurts the faith of their believers.

    The Court also said that there are many countries in the world where there is a provision of harsh punishment for such conduct, however, India is a liberal country where there is a provision of less punishment for such acts.

    "It is the duty of every citizen living in the country to respect the great men and the gods, goddess and culture of the country in which they live. If that can't also can't be done, then one should at least not make any obscene remarks on them, which hurt people's faith," the Court added.

    The remarks invited several critical comments that a judge holding a constitutional post in a secular country ought to avoid such remarks expressing personal reverence to religious figures.

    No POCSO offence if there is no 'skin to skin' contact : Bombay High Court's shocking judgment

    The judgment of the Bombay High Court which held that 'skin-to-skin' contact is necessary for the offence of sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences(POCSO) Act became a subject matter of huge public condemnation.

    As per the impugned judgment,  Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the High Court(Nagpur Bench) had acquitted an accused observing that groping of the breasts of a minor girl over her clothes will not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault' under Section 8 of POCSO. Holding that there should be 'skin to skin' contact to attract the offence under Section 8 POCSO, the High Court held that the act in question will only amount to a lesser offence of 'molestation' under Section 354 IPC. In another controversial judgment, Justice Ganediwala held that the act of holding a minor girl's hands and opening the zip of pants will not come under the definition of "sexual assault" under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.
    The Supreme Court recently reversed both these controversial judgments by holding that 'skin to skin' contact is not necessary for POCSO offence, and what mattered was if the touch was made with 'sexual intent', whether it was done over clothes or not.
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