LIFE - COLORES INFINITUM (10)
He had never seen a court room. In fact on one in him family had never been to any court. Except newspapers and television channels, they were totally unaware of what it takes to stand the might of the Indian judicial process. But don’t get confused by the word ‘might’. It symbolizes here the huge judicial apparatus fallen short of aspirations due to variety of factors like manpower deficiency, constitutional bottlenecks in the process of speedy justice, external manipulative effects on it, and so on.
In the last two years, he has seen quite a lot of it. He has to practice to remain unmoved by the increasing pace of sluggishness in his case as there is no other way out but to fight. But to put it on record, the way the proceedings take place, it is nothing but a nightmare to get even a taste of it. For example, in his case, when the court trial began (in a Fast Track court), it was supposed to get over within a year. That didn’t happen. Now it’s over two years. He has not seen much progress except the fact that Fast Track courts were dismantled in Uttar Pradesh even before the case was one-year old. Anyway, he has not been able to find any noticeable difference between working of a normal court and a Fast Track court.
He maps almost 100 Kms to the NCR court almost thrice a month for the court case where he is the main complainant. What happens most of the time?
In all the court hearing dates, almost 80 per cent have gone without any activity.
The maximum percentage goes to the formal witnesses (police and all) not making it to the court.
The other major reason has been the unaccounted strikes by the lawyers. Though he speaks to his lawyer before leaving for the court on the next date of hearing, on several occasions, he finds, on reaching the court premises, that lawyers have announced strike. Reason might be any, arising from administrative to legal to personal like a weekend day should be a holiday.
Then you have judges going on leaves or on different training sessions and no information is relayed about it. Mechanism for this sort of information update is available for higher courts but not for the district courts.
And above all, there are delaying tactics by the lawyers to buy time, to irritate you, to to make efforts for back-door deals, to frustrate you, to make you feel like running away from the case.
And there are similar stories all across, it seems, with the lower courts, be it in some small town, in a dilapidated building or in a sprawling metro, in a centrally air-conditioned complex.
Recently, he had taken an elderly person to a Delhi court for a settlement case. The 80+ grandpa was not ready to receive the summons as he was not able to commute to the court 30 Kms away from his place. The policeman assured him that he would send someone to take the person from his place to court and leave him back. Once, the grandpa signed the paper, the policeman very conveniently ditched him. Now like every law-abiding common man, this grandpa, too, was in a fix and was worried about the consequences if he didn’t appear in the court on the day.
When the grandpa contacted him, he requested him to let it go to next date of hearing as he had a packed day ahead. Based on his experience, he told the grandpa that extending court dates are the easiest thing in a judicial process. But grandpa was beyond counseling. So there they were, on the way to the swanky new court complex of the Indian capital city.
They reached there at 11:45 AM. Now see, what happened. The presiding judge was out on some training. Now, it was frustrating, for though he has been witnessing these things regularly, but the grandpa, who had difficulty in walking, had to walk for almost half a kilometer to reach to the court room just to hear this. Nothing happened except we got the next date.
If some of the court rooms enlighten the whole of the humanity by their judicial activism, the major lot is there to make you indifferent to it, for they sound indifferent on worst atrocities inflicted on you. (The eternal question of the unstable poise of the good and the bad aspects of every human trait!)
Court rooms, like railway stations, are places where you can see every sort of characters, a society can throw. There are judges who sit there to sift right from wrong. There are lawyers who defend justice or act irrespective of justice, just for the client. There are commission agents who offer to broker deals in every type of case. There are victims like him fighting the case to get peace for the pain inflicted on his innocent family. There are alleged criminals proclaiming innocence while making mockery of the victims. There is the court support staff but no one can define what sort of support they extend.
Certain pains in life one needs to learn to live with. They become a part of your life. He, too, is learning to make peace with the pain. He believes taking the court case to a just conclusion is a significant peacemaker for him.
Let’s see, for how long, it keeps on testing his determination.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/