Indian lawyer Chandan Kumar Singh shocked quite a few peers when he filed a lawsuit against the Hindu god Rama, a popular deity who is considered to be one of the most important avatars of Vishnu and the Supreme Being by some sects. Singh stated he took the action because he felt "Lord Ram was unjust to his wife Sita," and he wanted a court in the eastern state of Bihar to "acknowledge this fact" of disrespect and mistreatment.
Court officials weren't convinced with Singh's legal argument and rejected his plea last week, saying it wasn't a "practical case," reports BBC in The KathmanduPost.
A group of Singh's colleagues accused him of "seeking publicity," according to BBS, and one of them sued the lawyer for defamation.
Ram is the hero of the Ramayana, the Sanskrit epic of 24,000 stanzas. He is generally revered by millions of people around the world.
Singh said he strongly believes he has a valid case, quoting from religious scriptures to support his argument.
"It's well known that Ram asked Sita to prove that she was pure after he rescued her from the clutches of the demon king Ravana. He did not trust Sita," Singh told BBC.
"I am aware that the case may sound ridiculous to many, but we have to discuss this part of our ancient religious history. I will file a case again because I really believe that Indians have to acknowledge that Ram mistreated Sita."
Singh said Ram's treatment of Sita shows women were not respected even in ancient times.
He rejected allegations that he was merely seeking publicity. "I filed the case because we cannot talk about respecting women in modern day India when we know that one of our most revered gods did not treat his own wife with respect," he said.
He admitted he expected some objections, but did not anticipate his colleagues would turn against him. "I was only talking about justice, and had no intention of hurting anybody's religious sentiments," he said.
"Is it wrong to seek justice for women? The court's acceptance of my plea would have sent a good message that respecting women was important to Indians."
Lawyer Ranjan Kumar Singh told BBC the plea "insulted Hindus," and that Singh has a history of filing publicity-seeking pleas. "But this time he has gone too far. He has hurt our sentiments," he said.
Ranjan Kumar Singh said some attorneys asked India's bar council members to cancel Singh's license to practice law. "All lawyers are united against Chandan, he needs to learn a lesson," he told the BBC.
Ranjan Kumar Singh said Ram and Sita are seen as one, and worshiped as a couple. "There is no question of us believing that Ram mistreated Sita," he stated.
However, Chandan Kumar Singh insists "his [legal] fight isn't against Ram," because he, too, practices Hindu. "I apologize to people if they feel hurt, but I cannot ignore the fact that Sita wasn't respected," he said.