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Rajasthan human rights chief slammed for order

September 6, 2019

Justice (Retired) Mahesh Chandra Sharma, chief of the Rajasthan Human Rights Commission has been slammed by women's rights groups for saying that live-in relationships should be banned and that women who stay in such relationships are "akin to concubines".

Sharma has hit headlines previously as well for such remarks. As high court judge he made headlines for saying "peacocks don't have sex". In a joint order with another judge he called live-in relationships animalistic.

Animalistic lives are against the basic rights enshrined in the constitution and against women's human rights. There is urgent need of prohibiting such relations and it the duty of governments at the centre and states to discourage such relationships. - Justice (Retired) Mahesh Chandra Sharma

Rights activists have slammed this as an "extremely retrograde judgment, which needs to be condemned". Kavita Srivastav, a women's rights activist has said they may challenge it in the Rajasthan High Court. "He is asking the government to make a law against live-in relationships and to challenge the 'in the nature of marriage' clause of the Domestic Violence Act".

Sharm's order goes against many judgments of the Supreme Court of India which say that adult couples can have live-in relationships. It has also brought such relationships under the ambit of the law on domestic violence. In a judgment in May last year, the court said the legislature also recognised "live-in relationships" which have been covered under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.

The court also asked the Parliament has to bring in proper legislation so the women and the children born out of such kinds of relationships are protected.

Three years ago, Justice Sharma had made headlines with his remark that peacocks use their tears to fertilise eggs. "The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). It never has sex with the peahen. The peahen gets pregnant after swallowing the tears of the peacock". He said this while recommending cows be given the status of the national animal.

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