Last week I received courts summon. The charges which it showed (although I could hardly interpretate the IPC section which it showed) but one thing which I realised was that, they were neither the common section 302 and 304 (used in cases of culpable homicide, this knowledge courtesy over dramatic court room scenes of Hindi flicks) nor those of over speeding and red light jumping. But something a little rare of stopping beyond the stop line at the red light. Well I guess it would have been better if I had jumped the red light, as then the cop might have missed out my car’s registration number. Well but that’s another possibility.

Now I committed only one offence but the notice showed me in violation of two. Actually I got to know it later (from the out of the world difficult and confusing court language on the challan, challan as we call it in vernacular language or the ticket for those who are under the influence of too much Americi movies and TV shows) that other was a fine on the first fine only for not responding to the first fine and the best part is I never knew about this first fine for the ignorance of which I was fined on fine, which is not at all fine.

Well the total fine was of Rs.1100 which I was supposed to submit in the court. But this submitting process isn’t that simple, after all it is an Indian court; remember tarikh par tarikh-tarikh par tarikh-tarikh par tarikh…….. (Dunno how long it goes, ask Sunny Deol) and den beech mein fir something-something, insaf nahi milta your honour. So my first experience with IPC goes like this.

I was supposed to report at 10 o’clock at Rohini Court, and as soon as I reached there, even before parking my bike in the parking, I was already having a lawyer by my side. Yes even before I could ask for, a lawyer was there to help me out of trouble (as if I was there battling for some extortion charges). He told me about everything, what options do I had, as in how much I will have to pay by my own and if I’ll take the services of a lawyer how much would it save me and if I’ll go out of the way then it’ll be the most beneficial for me (or for him?). So he told me about everything except what I asked for, that is the way to court no. 116, where I was supposed to appear. When I said will let you know in a while, he left immediately after giving me a cold look (as if I wasted a huge amount of his precious time) but not the way to court no. 116.

When I went to the next lawyer (let me tell you that there is a plethora of lawyers over there, each in exact filmy costume with those awkward looking white ties on white shirt with black coat) to ask the way to court no. 116 he asked me to show the slip. The slip, i.e. the court notice, I said which way? And he again asked for the slip ‘dikhayo toh kya hai.’ When I showed him the slip he went through the same process (telling me my options) but didn’t told me anything about the way and moved ahead after giving me the same cold look.

By the time I reached to the third lawyer, I had wizened up, so when I again heard ‘dikhayo toh zara kya hai’ I insisted on telling me the way first and ultimately I got to reach there. So here I was, finally standing in front of court no. 116. But again so many lawyers to tell me not to appear and get it settled out of the court, ‘fadwa de kya?(Should we get it teared? The challan which I received).

Now although I was determined to appear in front of the judge (who was nowhere to be seen till 10:45, and going by what the veterans there said, you may never know when will he turn up, guess the reason for millions of cases still pending in the Indian courts). Moreover the option which they offered me for ‘fadwane ke liye challan’ was really very lucrative and hence I settled for this option only and it made me poor by 400 bucks.

Now the moral of the story is you do not know the right time to reach there, so that you are lucky enough for the ‘judge’s darshan’. Moreover the ‘lawyers’ there will use all their skills to make sure that you do not appear in front of the judge (about whom you do not know when will he going to come). So next time when you go for getting your challan done, more chances are you will settle it out of the court only (which will happen inside the court itself), as ‘fadwa de kya?’ option is available in abundance. And most importntly next time when you are stopping at a red light, then make sure you are behind the stop line. Or else you will lose 400 bucks for not breaking the signal.

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