With the unfolding of recent events surrounding #Tejpal case, it does not require very high-level intellectual abilities to understand how Indian justice system works differently for a common man and for an elite individual. One (men and mostly women related to men) who has undergone any false complaint in one’s lifetime understands this very well. A common man is sent to jail or treated with humiliation when accused under any section, however, the elite always gets one Shoma Chaudhury or Javed Akhtar to at least try safeguarding them.
If you are unfortunate enough that your case becomes so popular that the whole nation stops functioning because of your case, you better have some powerful people like these by your side, else expect a treatment like Ram Singh. I am not trying to support anyone here; I am only trying to show that you should expect a speedy delivery of justice by the street people, social media, and tweeple if you do not have enough powerful people by your side.
Since not every common man in India has “guts” like Tarun #Tejpal to venture out like him; a beautiful way is devised to trap every one of them. This is through several sections under family laws. Since all of us want to have happy families; that is where we are caught by this system which claims to protect its women.
If you are one of those unfortunate people who is caught in this legal tangle but fortunate enough not to have a nationally important case against you, you will see and experience the legal terrorism racket functioning smoothly from day one against you. If you are a woman who has filed such case under these laws meant to protect you, you will be extorted less compared to what men undergo. But in any case, you can not escape this racket unless you are a part of it. But in this process, you set a wrong example for the society and future generation and make justice impossible for the real victims. In a way, you strengthen the terrorism racket that may engulf you as well.
For a man, the extortion starts even before the case reaches a court. Women NGOs, Political wings of different political parties, local dadas, clerks working in courts/police stations, National and State women bodies all stakeholders in our legal system become immediately active to suck your hard earned money. You will experience this more if you are a law abiding, peace loving citizen and work in a reputed organization and earn handsome amount every month. Any woman (mother or sister of the accused man) also suffer like hell and they become an easy target as they want to save their respect in the society. Most of these families unaware of the system prevailing in our legal jungle, pay up a huge ransom to all these stakeholders and promote this legal terrorism. There are a good number of people who earn handsome amount simply by making innocent people afraid of legal consequences.
But once you are in this mess you need to satisfy all these stakeholders in order to proceed on your long journey of getting justice.
Once you pay up to a satisfactory level to these sentries of our legal jungle through various means and hire a lawyer for your own that is the second time you enter another danger zone. No matter how you employ an advocate and how much careful you are in the time of employing one for you unless s/he is very close; you will almost always be extorted by him with a smiling face. This time you may also feel happy about this extortion as you will feel that your advocate is trying to save you from danger. Some of the charges these advocates charge are simply outside any logical fees structure and without any rationale. Sometimes you pay up for the name of the advocate while only their juniors attend the court dates, sometimes you pay up senior consultation fees to juniors if you show “guts” to recruit a struggling junior advocate. In any case, you need to pay up these sentries for being your guards.
When your case comes up for hearing and you get the first date for the same, don’t be surprised if you get just another date without anything happening on the first date. Please expect similar kind of new dates given to you for absolutely no explanation/compensation given to you with absolutely no progress in your case on the given date. You still pay up the lawyer fees and if you are present in the courtroom you may be asked to pay a Peshkar / Bench Clerk fees as well. Your advocate may give you an explanation that the Peshkar does so much to search the records for you, so you need to pay him. You may wonder if you are paying the Peshkar for doing his own duty but well that is how this system works. There is no standard for the Peshkar fees as well. The more reputed your advocate is, the more fees he pays to the Peshkar for some unknown reasons.
In this modern hi-tech world when multinationals are managing complex global businesses without any physical records I have always wondered why our court system requires keeping and transferring all records physically with no standard of record maintenance. You ask any Peshkar or bench clerk in any court in India you will get to know how difficult it is for them to retrieve a record. Well, the situation may be better in Supreme Court or High courts but the lower courts’ records management system and records preservation system works most pathetically. With each case extending for an unlimited number of years don’t be surprised if your valuable records are lost or misplaced and you are asked to pay up to find out the same.
If you are IT savvy person you may wonder why these records are not kept electronically with proper validation done by the judge. In that way, we can ensure excellent world-class management of each case record and the entire system becomes more efficient. When I have given this proposal to the bar council and eventually the Law ministry of India I was asked about the safety and security of the sensitive documents, possibility of hacking into court database by unscrupulous criminals and stealing the data. Even though all these can be achieved with a world-class security system in place, I wondered if the way the records are kept today in our courts is safe and secured at all. 😀
You will find the problem when for any reason you need certified copy of any of your case records. You may know that each page costs you 2 rupees to get a photocopy from the court but the process is deliberately kept complicated so that the common man can never master the same. By your strong determination and willpower even if you dare to master the process and follow the same you will encounter new challenges at every step as you proceed. Don’t be surprised if some of these challenges are actually orchestrated by your own lawyer. So after a few times, you will consider paying up the stakeholder huge premium to get those certified copies some of which may not be required for more than once. As an IT savvy person, you may wonder if the records with proper authentication system were kept online, the record access and retrieval would have been much easier and completely cost-free for a common man. But our legal system is devised in such a way that it wants maximum money from each family of common man and does not want to mend its way.
Then to add to this misery of a common man, there are various sections that give almost the same kind of benefits or cases filed under the same section in different courts of law. For example, claiming maintenance from a husband or filing a dowry complaint. A wife can file maintenance under five different sections at different points in time; a wife can file multiple cases under IPC 498a in different police stations or courts. Since women safety has become the most important issue in the country today and all political parties and media houses find good business out of it, even if Supreme Court is concerned about a high number of pending cases in India, such misuse of law is never taken seriously or tried to be stopped. This is all to sustain and feed the legal terrorism racket that has become a multi-crore rupees business today. And to add to this our government is bringing in yet another law named Marriage Law Amendment Act, 2010 (or IRBM) to affect each family in India. As a result please expect this extortion to skyrocket if you don’t protest against this now.
As a peace loving, law abiding common Indian man even if you do not need to fight a battle outside the courtroom, you still pay up huge ransom money to these various forms of legal extortion to get justice. In one word, in our legal jungle, a common Indian man needs to buy justice even at the cost of his life. No wonder why we see sky-rocketing suicide rate among married men in India.