NEW DELHI • A high court judge in the Indian state of Rajasthan has provoked ridicule, particularly on social media, after he claimed that peacocks do not mate, but sire their offspring through tears.
Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma made the remarks after delivering a judgment in which he recommended that the cow should be made India's national animal, according to Indian media reports.
Cows are considered holy by many of India's majority Hindu community. The peacock is the country's national bird.
Describing both the species as "pious", Mr Sharma - who retired after the ruling last Wednesday - told reporters: "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."
Justice Sharma's ruling recommended that the state government impose a penalty of life imprisonment for the killing of a cow. He said that Rajasthan's chief secretary must coordinate with the central government on implementing the recommendation.
The judge's comments went viral, with hashtags such as #peacocksex trending.
"Men Don't cry... If peacock males don't cry... they are impotent," wrote one Twitter user. "Is stupidity a cognisable offence?" wrote another.
The Telegraph newspaper quipped: "Bad: high court judge thinks peafowls do not have sex. Good: it was his last day in office."
Following his retirement, Mr Sharma has indicated that he wants to be a lawyer in India's Supreme Court.