Half justice... By Zafar
09 January, 2013
My daughter died in a road accident involving a Karachi Transport Corporation bus in 1985, which was 27 years ago. I filed a public litigation case against the corporation for damages. At that time, the amount lay within the jurisdiction of the High Court. Later, as the value of money decreased, such cases were transferred to the lower courts.
Meanwhile, the corporation was wound up and the assets were taken over by the provincial government, the case again falling into legalities and delays. My case was rolling just like a football between various courts — sometimes the case papers were misplaced and then traced out by my able advocate. I was not in any mood to file the case as any amount of money could not have brought back my sweet daughter but the advocate argued with me that if such cases were filed and the government had to pay compensation from its kitty, it would take notice of such incidents and undertake traffic reforms, as has been done in civilised countries. Unfortunately, we were neither civilised 65 years ago nor we are today. This gives the impression that we never 'intended' to be, nor do we intend to be.
In one of the hearings in the High Court, the advocate representing the corporation submitted an application seeking adjournment as he had to take his ailing wife to the doctor. The adjournment was granted. I went down to meet a friend in a bank within the premises of the court and returned after about an hour. To my utter surprise, I saw the same advocate busy chit chatting with a fellow advocate instead of attending to his wife's 'emergency'. The case kept lingering in the lower courts — one witness attending, while the other did not, and the government advocate seeking adjournments over flimsy excuses, thus delaying the case as much as he could. At last, my case was upheld and I have been granted compensation. I had to pay bribes to the lower staff of the court for getting the cheque issued in my favour. The driver of the bus has not been punished. Thus I have been granted only half justice.