My husband expired two years ago. I was 5 months pregnant when he met with an accident. My in-laws never allowed me to even meet my parents during pregnancy, I delivered a baby boy. I am not allowed to see him, I want my son” said Dipali with tears rolling down her eyes….

Dipali works as a teacher in the government school, her in-laws don’t seem to agree that Dipali has a right to have the child or live along with them. Listening to this Natasha grew angry, without out much of a control on herself she said “Aren’t you educated? Why didn’t you approach police to lodge a compliant against them?”. I had to hold her hand to calm her down before she says something that may deeply hurt Dipali …

It was heart wrenching to hear to her problem, I was lost in thoughts. Natasha suddenly stopped the car, asked me if I wanted to have a coffee. I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk to her before we return, I nodded my head in agreement.

Natasha is my co-volunteer in the volunteer group I work for. She is a writer by profession. We went to meet Dipali based on a concern she raised with our volunteer organisation. She needed help in understanding the judiciary system, how to seek for good lawyers, how long does it take etc before she could progress with the legal formalities.

As we were waiting for our coffees, I asked Natasha about her new book. With a happy tone, she said, “over hundred copies are sold, people seem to have liked it”. 

Cool dear, good to know… A book is never judged by it’s cover. It is immaterial how many people looked at it, what is important is how many people read it, liked it, could relate to it. You cannot judge another person by what she is told you, try to relate to her and the problem. Have little patience when you hear about other’s problems, because what we have got to know today is an introduction, as we dwell more on the issue, lot of bitter truth’s would surface” Being a writer, Natasha easily understood what I was talking about…

Dipali would have also shared her story to many people, already many would have judged her, called her by names. She might have sought help in various ways before she turned to us. Many would have suggested her not to go against her in-laws in the court. As a mother, she is emotionally affected as she is not allowed to see her son, talk to him, see him growing. This has resulted in a lot of frustration in her and may have led to an increased fear of losing her son…

There is a problem before us, we have an option to do two things about it, acknowledge there is a problem, act on it or forget it. Unfortunately, there are many people who debate whether to even acknowledge or not. Depending on the country, province, type of problem, situations around it, magnitude of the problem, justice takes various forms. The definition itself changes at times, but it is very important to act, because it is only actions that can bring a change. 

What Natasha was not aware of was a simple fact, even if Dipali would have approached police, it is rarity that police would file an FIR. Police have their own reasons to not file an FIR and when we listen to them, that as well sounds reasonable at times because, there are people who want to use the judiciary system for the hideous benefits.  

Laws have been made many years ago, underwent reforms many times but there is still injustice that exists. On top it, protectors of law have become perpetrators. Common man is struggling because of all these. We crib, we complain, we give up, but if we give it a thought there is always our little bit that we can do.

Dipali needed a lawyer who does not charge her a hefty fees for the case. We approached many lawyers, finally got to know about a group who handle cases for a nominal fee. Dipali could afford the money he charged, her first concern is addressed. We cannot trust every lawyer, there are bad lawyers too, be cautious.

Second, the process of dealing with courts is very stressful. It looks simple from outside, but facing the court, handling the questions of lawyers, the documentation process, all of it takes a lot of time and energy. Often one has to roam around many government organisations to get relevant proofs to be submitted to court. One of our volunteers would be with Dipali when she needs help. 

The case is still pending in the court… It may take few more months before Dipali can get custody of her son, hopefully.  She is financially independent, hence the courts would consider this aspect as the strong point.

When you come across a problem, don’t just react. Identify the issue, understand the deeper details, possible causes, ripple effects, list down probable solutions. Weigh each solution against the other, select the appropriate option, act on it. Be the helping hand to the victim. Justice is hard to attain but not impossible.

The road to justice is rough, expect delays, disappointments, be prepared with your contingency plans. We may not be the pioneer of change, but can be a part of it… There is light on the other end of the tunnel, we may not be able to see it now, but when it does it gives us ultimate satisfaction to have spent our energy on the problem.

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.

-Haile Selassie