The Supreme Court of India recently rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the formation of a National Commission for Men. The purpose behind the PIL was to investigate the perceived demand for a separate entity to handle men’s complaints and grievances, comparable to the current National Commission for Women. The ruling of the Supreme Court has encouraged discussions and arguments about gender equality and the necessity for an equitable approach to solving societal challenges. This article includes an outline of the PIL as well as an examination of the many opinions on the court’s denial.
A group of petitioners filed the PIL, claiming that males in India confront a variety of challenges, including false claims of harassment, biased legislation, and inadequate support networks. The petitioners argued that establishing a National Commission for Men would ensure equal treatment, defend rights, and provide a forum for men’s issues in the country. They hoped that, like the National commission for Women, such a body would move towards achieving gender parity by addressing men’s issues.
THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Court considered a petition to create a National Commission for Men. However, the court refused to take up the case and dismissed the matter on the grounds that establishing a separate commission for males would be inappropriate. The current legal structure, comprising different laws and institutions, according to the court, was created to meet the concerns of both men and women, providing gender justice and equality.
- Gender Equality: Supporters of the court’s judgement claim that creating an independent commission for males would jeopardise progress towards gender equality. They argue that rather than constructing exclusive institutions for particular genders, equality should be built on the ideals of fairness and justice.
- Existing Mechanisms: Supporters of the court’s judgement point to the existence of different laws and organisations that respond to men’s interests and concerns. These include legislation against sexual harassment, cruelty in the home, and safeguards for male abuse victims. They contend that strengthening current institutions and guaranteeing their correct execution is a more successful strategy than establishing a new commission.
- Balancing Points: Proponents of a National Commission for Men believe that it would provide a platform for addressing the special difficulties that men confront in society. They emphasise the importance of gender-related institutions and think that doing so will help create a more equitable society.
NECESSITY FOR A NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MEN
The necessity for a National Commission for Men arises from the conviction that men, like women, confront unique challenges and problems that require special attention and assistance. Here are some of the arguments advanced by supporters of a National Commission for Men:
- Addressing Discrimination and Prejudice: Activists contend that males face discrimination and prejudice in a variety of areas of their lives, including work, family concerns, and societal standards. They argue that establishing a separate commission will aid in addressing these issues by making sure men’s rights are respected and their problems are acknowledged.
- Gender Equality Must Be Balanced: Activists say that gender parity ought not to be one-sided. While organisations like the National Commission for Women have worked to advance women’s rights and address their problems, there is a need for a counterpart agency to address the challenges that men confront. They think that real gender equality can be attained only when both genders’ issues are appropriately acknowledged and handled.
- Male Victims’ Rights: Activists argue that males can be victims of a variety of crimes and injustices, including domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and false charges. They contend that establishing a National Commission for Men would provide a forum for male victims to seek justice, get assistance, and have their issues addressed.
- Policy Development and Campaigning: Supporters of a National Commission for Men claim that it would be critical to develop policies that enhance men’s welfare by addressing their special needs and concerns. To effect good change, the commission might engage in promoting initiatives, increase awareness about men’s concerns, and interact with key parties.
- Support Systems and Counselling: Proponents feel that a specialised commission would make it easier to develop support systems and counselling services for men who are experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties. This would create a secure environment for men to seek advice, vent their problems, and have access to mental health services.
- Creating Family Harmony: Proponents contend that treating men’s difficulties is critical to creating family harmony and broader social well-being. They argue that tackling the issues that men experience within the framework of family life would help create an even more impartial and welcoming society.
The Supreme Court’s rejection of a petition seeking the formation of a National Commission for Men has sparked a heated discussion over how to solve gender imbalances. While some say that a separate commission would hinder gender equality, others argue that taking into account the particular issues that men experience is critical for a balanced approach. The ruling emphasises the need for continued discussions regarding gender justice as well as the need to guarantee that all people have equitable access to justice and support services.
As the gender equality debate grows, it is critical to maintain a careful balance that fosters inclusion, justice, and empowerment for all genders in society. It is important to note that while these arguments highlight the perceived need for a National Commission for Men, there are diverse perspectives on this matter. The establishment of such a commission requires careful consideration and balanced approaches that do not undermine the progress made in promoting gender equality and addressing women’s rights.
- Abhimanyu Hazarika, “Supreme Court declines to entertain PIL for creation of National Commission for Men to look into suicides among married men”, Bar and Bench, 3 July 2023, availabe at: https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/supreme-court-declines-entertain-pil-creation-national-body-look-into-suicides-married-men (last visited on 5 July 2023)
- “SC refuses to entertain PIL for setting up of ‘National Commission for Men'”, The Hindu, 3 July 2023, available at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-refuses-to-entertain-pil-for-setting-up-of-national-commission-for-men/article67036752.ece (last visited on 5 July 2023)
- Prachi Bhardwaj, “A National Commission for Men? Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea”, SCC Online, 4 July 2023, available at: https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2023/07/04/national-commission-for-men-sc-refuses-to-entertain-plea-domestic-violence-legal-news/ (last visited on 5 July 2023)