Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tees Hazari Court - Place of Justice and some entertainment too.



After a gap of two years, I visited Tees Hazari court. 'Cross Examination' - an act or procedure that brings excitement equally to the lawyer and Indian movie script writer. This time, I was being cross examined. Reading through the written statement and submitted affidavit while waiting for my turn made me feel like a student appearing for an examination.

Judges - often referred as ' learned judge ' . I wonder why ? Is there any Anpadh Judge ? But here lawyers referred him as ' Janab' . This 'Janab' meant very direct business stating that his new target is to dispose 108 cases per month - revised from earlier target of 80 cases per month. He went at frenetic pace ; hearing, directing, disposing of cases that ranged from property dispute, outstanding collection, credit card frauds, defamation suits to corporate wrangles.

'Janab' , while scratching vigorously his left beard, peered at me through space left between his spectacle and eyebrows. He must be wondering about this specie who figured on the legal papers but didn't visit his corridors so far. People came and went. A heap of files tied down by 'nada' kept getting disposed as 'Janab' , screamed, shouted, admonished everyone around him from case after case. It is usual practice to keep cross examination after lunch. I used my time to look around Tees Hazari - now teeming with incoming visitors and lawyers , some of whom looked very young and smart.Lunch time, everything became quiet, I went for a stroll outside and managed to get some cute pictures of the court surroundings. 'Facilitation cum Information center ' had stray dogs lazing around under warmth of sun rays of Delhi.

Lunch must have made 'Janab' very happy. His mood changed, a smile surfaced, a disgruntled demeanour gave to accomodative spirit of mutual cooperation and consensus but a sudden streak of shrill resurfaced , one such directed at me 'Close that shirt button'.

Seeing two half circular barricaded stands on the either side of the 'Janab' gave me an image of a shivering witness bombarded by a barrage of questions after completing the ritual of saying ' mein such kahunga, such ke sivay Kuch bhi nahi '. But nothing of this happened, lawyer kept mumbling , supposedly asking me some stupid, irrelevant questions and clerk on the other side like a robot started hitting the keys of his PC whose white color had turned brownish black with dust and pollution. While this clerk was typing our stuff , he would suddenly shift into another gear, with his pencil over short hand pad and take the dictation given by 'Janab' of another case that is being argued in front of him. On the other side of 'Janab' , another cross was being conducted. A truly multitasking legal operation suit of Tees Hazari. Clerk's rapid movement from dictation to PC amazed me with his skills and dexterity, but I kept wondering if he was really writing all this correctly and accurately. I have never seen so far such high speed Secretary adept with simultaneous typing and writing on two different subject. If his hard punching keys or just bad timing, we had misfortune waiting for us. His Keyboard gave away and this was followed by the mouse. Stroking, Cajoling , hitting mouse wont work. By now, my eyes had turned over to an argument of a defamation case filed by Jail doctor against a press article. My lawyer quietly admonished me to be attentive to our case instead of others, no matter how interesting they may sound. Half an hour wait and two member team from stores dept of the court arrives. 'Janab' is livid at them for not giving new replacement gadgets but when told that matter is under consideration and procedure for procurement has already begun , he lowers his guard. After all laws are laws and they must be respected. A thought of poster stuck outside the wall of Tees Hazari Court न्याय पालिका को अपनी मर्यादा में रहना चाहिए ( Judiciary must remain confined in its limits). PC may have refused to cooperate but our clerk was there fighting with two pencils and two short hand pads. Clock opposite 'Janab' signaled three hours, A lady underneath the clock was typing verdict. 'Janab' must get that in time, so as to maintain his scorecard of justice. By now, all files on the right side of 'Janab' had vanished. A time for him to quit and so was for us. New date for cross was given. I was asked to sign a print page interlaced with handwritten words comprised statement of my cross. I had no courage nor inclination to go through the contents of it and I signed with glee.

So another date to continue our Cross, another ordeal would begin and another fascinating journey of Tees Hazari Court would continue.

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