Vehicles stops. Undertrials come out. They begin as if they are on some pride march. They head to the courtroom designated to hear their cases. The policemen and the undertrials look so easy on each-other.
As the vehicle enters the court premises, hoard of people run behind it including men, women and children. They are father, mother, children, sister, brother, well-wishers of the escorted bunch.
On an average, I become witness to this exercise 4-5 times a day whenever I visit the district court of Gautam Budh Nagar/Noida located in Greater Noida and this ‘whenever’ usually comes 3-times a month.
I cannot say why but I seldom come across a face in the bunch that has expression of feeling guilty, embarrassed or uneasy for being in cuffs. In criminal courts, they look life habitual offenders.
The accused who are out on bail, look like the polished versions always trying to avoid the accused box in the courtroom, courtrooms that are nowhere near to what we see in films. Clad in fashionable cloths, some of them seldom put their goggles off.
Laughing, smiling, mocking as if they are sure to walk out of the allegations and no one looks to care for. You may have multiple court-hearing days when no witness turns up but it is seldom taken care of. Instead, you are advised for etiquettes if somehow, your hand slips in your trouser pocket during those long hours of waiting for the witnesses to turn-up. It is really frustrating for the victim sides, especially in serious crimes like murder.
I have felt it so many times during the last two years while fighting the murder case of my brother-in-law in the district court. I see the person who killed him, walking, talking and smiling normally while the case literally has dragged on for the last one year with one court-date leading to another without any activity.
On one hand, you are required to follow the superficial decorum of court etiquettes; and at the same time, you are forced to opinionate negatively about the administrative efficiency of the machinery.
I may be alleged writing too negative here as I and my family have been the victims. That may be the case but apart from exceptional cases, you find the similar observations in criminal courts lawyers say.
I don’t how long my case will take in the district court. My lawyer says 3-4 months. Let’s see how these months stack-up. I can’t say how many more such observations while sitting in a criminal court of the Gautam Budh Nagar district.
After all, mine is just yet another case in the huge backlog of court cases in India - over 31 million cases that an Andhra Pradesh High Court judge had said would take 320 years to clear.
It was just yet another day of mapping 100 kilometers, waiting for 5-6 hours, in-between brief sessions of discussion with lawyers but without any quantum of activity in real terms.
Yes, but I know, I have to and I will fight it out.