During my recent visits to the courts in North India, I saw a litigant and his very look spoke volumes for what our judicial system had done to him. When spoken to, he informed me he was sixty seven years of age, and had been battling for twenty four long years. He looked shrivelled and the long wait had ensured that the sparkle of youth had given way to the wrinkles of old age. I started wondering whether it was cruel fate or simply the curse of our judicial system. Have a look at him.
I saw another litigant and in conversation understood that nothing really happened except adjournments. He was telling me ‘Tariq pe tariq’, which in English means ‘one date to another’. I also saw several litigants seated at the entrance without any knowledge of what’s going on. Advocates were merrily in conversation with each other and most of the courts were empty, some because Judges were to be appointed. Even if Judges were present, I was told that the Court sat only for three hours a day whenever the advocates or the court staff decided not to strike work.
Icing on the cake was where the cross examination of a litigant was in progress in the only court that was working. It was diquieting to see the litigant sitting on the floor and being subject to questioning. So much for being the underdog in the system.
I was appalled at the mediocrity of the entire system, and thought courts in cities were much better. Finally I returned to Mumbai fully convinced that there is quite a slip between the cup and the lip. My sincere prayers to Lord Ganesha and best wishes on the occasion of 'Ganesh Chaturti' !!