The LIC agent who brought disrepute to the Supreme Court

Advising the PM and the President through letters to change the name of the courts and justices, an insurance agent wrote,<i> ‘Nyayalay ko tarikhalay aur nyayadhish to tarikadhish kar diya jaye’ </i>

NH Photo by Vikrant Jha
NH Photo by Vikrant Jha
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Vikrant Jha

Film buffs may remember the insolent and dramatic dialogue, unlikely to be ever pronounced in a real courtroom from the film Damini when the hero tells the judge that the judicial system did not deliver Justice.

“Nyay nahi milta judge saab, milti hai to bas taarikh! Taarikh pe taarikh” (… What we get in courts are dates after dates…)

A real life LIC agent was inspired enough to write to the President and the Prime Minister asking for changing the names of courts and judges. “Nyayalay ko tarikhalay aur nyayadhish to tarikadhish kar diya jaye.” He did not receive any reply.

I spot Virender Kumar’s scooter, conspicuous because of the placards at the back and the front, at a traffic signal in Delhi. The placards read in Hindi:

Saavdhan, savdhan savdhan!

Bhartiyo, duniya ki sabse lambi chalne wali nyay vyavastha: Bharatiya nyay vyavastha.

Jaha aajiwan hi nahi, janm janmantar tak aapko taarikh hi milta rahega.

It was a stinging comment on the Indian judicial system, which the placard alleged, took so much time to deliver justice that one often has to wait for the next birth to benefit from it.

Curious, I request him to spare a few minutes for a chat. He agreed. We waited for the signal to change and then stopped, ironically, at one of the gates of the majestic Supreme Court of India. Kumar casually informed that he had received a warning from the apex court for bringing disrepute to the judicial system.

Kumar’s story is hardly uncommon. He had paid a sum of ₹6 lakh for a 100 yards plot to a builder named Kuber Developers and Marketing Pvt Ltd. based in Faridabad. He made the payment in July, 2012. He blames the Tehsildar of Jasana for misleading him. While the Tehsildar, in collusion with the builder, confirmed that the builder had bought 5,000 square yards from farmers and registered the entire plot, he had apparently bought just 1,240 square yards. But the builder fraudulently sold around 3,000 square yards of land. “It was devious because gullible and misled buyers like us went in for litigation while the builder retained the possession of the 1,240 square yards that he had legally purchased,” he recalled with a shrug.

The agitated buyers, and there were many of them, mobbed the builder’s office and demanded their money back. And he issued cheques for ₹5 lakh to each buyer. But almost predictably, they bounced. An FIR lodged with the police did not help much.

The builder then played a cat-and-mouse game, appearing in court on one date and seeking adjournment on the next four dates. Faridabad Police claimed he was not traceable and the builder had moved to Noida. He was moving freely and conducted his business while buyers ran from pillar to post to recover their money.

Buyers’ persistence paid off when the police finally caught up with him. He was made to give a written commitment that he would pay back the amount to Kumar. “But I am yet to receive a paisa,” quipped a disillusioned Kumar in October 2017. The brazen builder once told Kumar that he was unperturbed because he had bribed all police stations. “Go wherever you want,” he had said.

He then began writing to all the dignitaries, the President, the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. The PMO did respond and the letter from the PMO moved the Faridabad SHO Anil Kumar to ask the Investigating Officer to accompany Kumar in a bid to nab the builder. The builder was at home and in his pyjama. The IO, Kumar claims, winked at him and asked him to change as his dress as it was not appropriate to meet the SHO. He took the opportunity to escape from the back door.

The Legal Aid cell in the Saket Court, when he approached for help, told him that since he belonged to the general caste and his annual income was a little over ₹4 lakh, he wasn’t eligible for legal aid.

He even tried meeting the Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad. The minister’s PA told him that he had no time to look at his complaint. “Ek lakh complaint daily aata hai, hum kude me phenk dete hain…,” ( A hundred thousand complaints arrive every day; I throw them into the wastepaper basket), he remembers Prasad’s PA saying.

But Kumar is not giving up yet. He is planning to knock on the International Court of Justice for relief. “I’ll attach all the documents, everything. I’ve spoken to the post-office and got my papers weighed. They will charge me `1,980,” he informs before driving away into the haze.

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