Updated: Apr 11, 2020
While the whole of the country is under lockdown amid ongoing Coronavirus crisis, boredom and spending time is one of the topics of discussion in almost every household. Even the men who are working from home are looking for options for improvements and something better to pass time with, and as an option, the best thing to have happened during this pandemic is a new and interesting turn in many lives bored due to lockdown!
People have once again started interacting with the people whom they haven't spoken to either in the recent past or since long, now the dust over old relations is being removed and even better and improved relations are getting firm.
With these new positive changes in society, I also got a pleasant surprising call from an old friend. And since his first call, we have spoken several times. We discussed a lot of things about life, family, children, career, and everything that friends usually talk about.
During all the discussions one thing that surprised me was his comment while discussing Daaman and Save Indian Family Movement, and the role of advocates in the fight for Men’s rights. His straight comment was, “you are taking advocates lightly… your NGO or movement stands in no capacity to deny a role to advocates in Men’s Rights Movement or anywhere else”.
Pertinent to mention now is that this friend of mine is a practising advocate and is a senior associate in a law firm pretty well known and respected in legal circles in the country.
I was taken aback as this comment was on my simple statement that we do not suggest or promote lawyers!
I was constrained to clarify his misunderstanding of my statement as I didn’t want any disturbance in our now refreshed relations. It took me time and a lot of arguments to satisfy him, even though my stand was clear from the beginning itself.
After that conversation with him, I remembered that it’s not seldom that we are dragged in unnecessary queries and disputes around our relation with advocates. So I prefered to make Daaman’s stand clear on this issue of advocates.
So, let me clarify pointwise.
What and where is gender bias against men?
Even though dealing with gender-biased laws is an issue that’s most visible, it is just a very small part of the issues that concern men.
The priority of Save Indian Family Movement or Daaman is not just to help victim fight cases, rather it is to fight for the cause of men as a whole, targeting to eradicate the evil of feminism that instigates or encourages odd situation for men in any form.
Our policy regarding advocates
Our movement is unique in itself as it doesn't even force a man to disclose his name before helping, leave alone his profession, religion, caste or any other detail or identity. So there’s no point having any strict documented specific policy for any specific section of the society, including advocates. Whatever policies we have are limited only to those who believe in our ideology and join the free weekly meetings we organize nationwide with our brother NGOs.
We firmly believe that advocates are very respectable and amongst the most important part of not only the society but the judiciary as a whole. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s only the advocates’ legal knowledge that enables and encourage litigants to seek and fight for their rights and justice.
Having said that, we also believe that legal knowledge should also be included as part of the school curriculum since even the routine life of people today involves so many issues that concern law in some form or the other. And most of the time lack of legal acumen, in general, leads to several avoidable and unnecessary legal complications in one’s life. We, therefore, believe if anyone who gets engaged with the law should also know, understand and take responsibility for the results and consequences of his acts and deeds. We, therefore, also encourage people to prepare for their cases and appear in person in the court of law.
Having said this, I wish to emphasise that our encouragement to study and appear in person can’t be construed as opposing advocates in any way.
Engaging advocates already working or willing to work for men’s rights
As far as the question of engaging advocates working for men’s rights or those willing to help men fight for their rights is concerned, I’ve already stated that we encourage people to prepare for cases and contest in person in the court of law, advocates aren’t required for those courageous fighters and activists.
And since we also understand that even the best of lawyer need not necessarily get favourable order every time (that being the only touchstone for any litigant looking for advocate), our collective conscience didn’t allow us to define any guidelines to be made applicable while choosing advocates, so we choose to stay away from those intricacies. Hence, those who prefer to engage some advocate for their case are always free from our side to choose or engage any advocate without asking of informing us.
This too can’t be taken as opposing advocates.
The role our movement plays for Menkind
First thing I wish to clarify here is that, for what we are putting in our time and resources while not expecting a single penny from it.
It is no-doubt our pious, selfless aim!
Gender bias in society and laws affects all of us. Today it could be someone else getting affected; tomorrow it could be any of us.
Moreover, it's not just us that are likely to be affected, the way this inherent bias is increasing, it's going to be even more challenging for the generations to come.
We, therefore, consider it to be our responsibility to fight this gender bias out. Our pious, selfless aim is to anyhow ensure gender-bias-free society for future generations.
The role advocates can play for Menkind
With the ever-growing gynocentrism and gender-bias in society and laws getting stronger every passing day, not one or two, but many advocates are genuinely willing to help innocent men fight for their rights.
In our opinion almost all the advocates equally qualify to fight for the rights of innocent men. We request them to help us in this social cause and take up concerning related issues as writs and PILs in their own capacity and get procedures, policies, and laws modified as gender-neutral, and thereby help the Menkind.
I promise full support from my side to any advocate who comes forward in his capacity to prepare, file and contest some PIL seeking something meaningful for men.
If advocates’ community comes forward and takes up some PIL for the rights and dignity of men, am sure that we will succeed very soon.
Why wrong notion against us?
Having clarified my stand on the issue of our relations with advocates, I’ll also detail the reason how a wrong notion against us gets built that we oppose advocates’ role in the battle for men’s rights.
Harassment of innocent men and their families due to gender-biased laws like dowry, rape, maintenance, child custody, women harassment, sexual harassment of children, sexual harassment of women at workplace etc is the most visible and prevalent issue that everyone takes note of. The misuse of gender-biased laws is a multi-thousand crores industry, with many stakeholders. Many advocates understand this very well and often express their willingness to help victims that approach us in our weekly meetings or through our helpline number 8882-498-498. Many advocates are so sincere that they even offer their help to innocents free of any charge.
But, since we treat all our members equally, without any favour to anyone, few members successfully gather the courage to face the court trials as a ‘party in person’, whereas others are encouraged to choose some advocate best suited for their case, where, we are not required to be informed even.
In these circumstances and scenario, we never refer any victim to any advocate. And the advocates who offered their help for free, feel that we are depriving them an opportunity to play a constructive role in this battle for men’s rights and dignity. Whereas those who secretly intends to use our members or meeting venues as their franchisee, sub-offices or source of clients, feel offended.
As a movement, our priority is to set policies and laws correct. As ‘weekly meetings’, we perform the minimum level of constant and sustained activism across the country. And for the reasons stated above, whenever any victim of gender bias asks us to suggest some advocate, we always say that “we do not suggest or promote lawyers”!