MY daughter died in a road accident involving a Karachi Transport Corporation bus in 1985. I filed a public litigation against the corporation for damages.
At that time the amount was within the jurisdiction of the high court. Later, as the value of money decreased such cases were transferred to lower courts.
Meanwhile, the corporation was wound up and the assets taken over by the provincial government, the case again falling into the legalities and delays. My case was rolling just like a football between various courts, sometimes the case papers being 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 that if such cases are filed and the government is made to pay compensation from its kitty, it will take notice of such incidents and will undertake traffic reforms, as was done in civilized 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. I will mention a very interesting thing. At 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 a 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 in friendly chat with a fellow advocate.
The case was lingering in lower courts: one witness attending while the other not. The government advocate seeking adjournments on flimsy excuses, thus delaying it as far as he could and, above all, the frequent strikes of lawyers delayed it.
At last, my case was upheld and I was 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, however, not been punished. I still consider it half justice.
A CITIZEN Karachi