India

India judge mocked for saying peacocks don't have sex

Peacock is seen displaying its full feathers during the third round of the Hero Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club on March 19, 2016 in New Delhi, India. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Judge Mahesh Sharma told TV channels that "the peahen gets pregnant" after "swallowing the tears of the peacock".

Social media users are ridiculing a judge after he said the peacock was chosen as India's national bird because "it's considered pious" and follows "life-long celibacy".

Judge Mahesh Sharma told TV channels that "the peahen gets pregnant" only by "swallowing the tears of the peacock".

He made the remark to back his observation that cows should replace the tiger as the national animal because "it's also holy".

Experts have rejected his claims.

Mr Sharma told reporters in the northern Indian city of Jaipur that he believed people revere both peacocks and cows because of their "divine qualities".

He added that he had recommended that the government should immediately declare the cow as the national animal.

But social media users vehemently disagreed.

Image copyright Rohit Pradhan
Image copyright AJ
Image copyright Devika Mittal
Image copyright Kawalpreet Kaur

Experts said there was no merit in Mr Sharma's theories.

"This theory about peacocks drinking tears to breed is an old hoax. They breed like all other birds, by means of sexual copulation," Bikram Grewal, an ornithologist, told The Indian Express newspaper.

Mr Sharma is not alone in demanding national status for cows, considered sacred by India's majority Hindu community.

Many states have actively started enforcing bans on cow slaughter after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed India's federal government in 2014.

In addition to government bans, several vigilante groups who portray themselves as protectors of cows have also been active in several states.

But Mr Sharma added that his demand was not linked to the ongoing debate about banning cow slaughter in the country.