December 01, 2005

By somebody, I swear

As I recounted briefly in my recent OK to sleep, I was in court a few days ago. A fuller account of that day is on, here.

Your comments welcome.


Update: Got a call this morning from the police, asking me to appear tomorrow in an Andheri court in the criminal case over this incident. Five years later. Wonder what details I'll be quizzed about now.


Kartik said...

Yes more detail on rediff - two things:

The "no more questions" - is that suppposed to imply that your testimony was received as your lawyer expected?

And more important - how hard is it to stick to one's stand and not deviate from what one saw (or in your case, didn't) in the face of ... I don't know, just in the face of the facts of the case.

I hope you get what I'm saying, unable to express it in words per se. If not, just satiate my suspense, thanks :-)

Kartik said...

Yes, more detail on rediff - two things:

1. Was your testimony to the cross-examination of the opposing lawyer taken as your lawyer had feared it would?

2. More importantly - I really want to know how easy or hard it is to stick to what one saw (or didn't see) in the face of the case as it is - what ran through your head at that point?

You can be candid, rest assured :-)

Kartik said...

And pardon me Dilip, didn't see that comment moderation was enabled - hence the repeated comments (if you see more than 1).

Effect of HKLB's anonymous "supporters"? I frankly had no idea your blog had readership all around - good going :-)

a correspondent said...

Let me confess, I am totally clueless about the way courts function. Please forgiove my questions.

What happens if after five years, you refuse to repeat the taxi's number? Yu have forgotten, and not repeating it in court is the correct ting to do, right? If you do, what happens? What will the judge ask you? What if you explain that its been five years, and you can't remmeber anymore? Will he say, didn't your lawyer coach you? If he doesn't, will he expel you from court? Just what happens?!

What if you say in court that you may not understand questions in Marathi or Hindi? Do the lwayers switch languages? Do they call an interpreter? How is it taken down for court papers - in which language? Do those who take down the exchanges in court know all languages?

What if someone like you stands up and asks the court's permission to read in court? Or asks the judge's opinion on sleeping in court? Will he clarify? Will he throw you in jail for contempt of court? Really are there any rules prohibiting reading in court is it just some kind of custom?

With all the pressure the judges are under, how can they relax when a lawyer doesn't turn up? Is it allowed?

I am genuinely confused - been confused about such stuff always. Does anyone even know the answers?

Kartik said...

I think we all need to pay our judicial processes a visit once in a while -

I daresay that's half the cause for the problem Dilip's trying to outline broadly with his articles on dcubed and rediff - not nearly enough of us have a stake in the judiciary functioning upto the point.

Or at least those of us that have, are just "wasting our time" :-)

Dilip D'Souza said...

Kraktik, I have no idea how my testimony was received. "Our" lawyer told me I should expect the other side to call me a liar etc, and not to get angry with that. Then she got up and simply got it on record that I had not actually seen the accident take place. Fine with me; my sense was that the judge understood that and it wasn't such a big deal. But we'll have to see how it pans out.

How hard is to stick to the stand? Actually, I think perhaps you're asking what somebody else wrote me email to ask: why didn't you lie, because it would have helped the man? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I told that lie, I stood a greater danger of ruining his case. It would have been easy to establish that I did lie -- the opposing lawyer could have asked, for one, why I didn't say in my original statement that I saw it happen; or could have asked me details like exactly how it happened, what happened to the passenger, etc.

I think our lawyer, and the brother himself, realized this. The lawyer told me just before I went to the stand, "just stick to your story." The brother said, "just tell them what happened, nothing more, let's see what happens."

DanceWS: I don't think it would have been such a big deal if I had said I did not remember. The judge seemed perfectly reasonable. The taxi number is in my statement, after all.

The court proceedings were in English -- the questions were asked in English, the judge dictated my answers in English. Must have been the way I looked, because in a previous case where a witness was questioned that morning, the woman was questioned in Hindi and the judge dictated her answers in English.

I think with the reading, it was just that woman being officious. Wanted to throw her weight about. I thought about making a fuss, and then didn't bother. If she wanted to feel that little bit of power, let her.

Kraktik, you're right, that is indeed what I'm trying to do with these articles: offer some little idea (which is all I have!) of how the courts function. IT would be instructive for more of us to just go sit in on some of these sessions once in a while. Maybe it should be part of school curricula.

Finally, please read the short update I've put on this post. Another court appearance tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

Heard similar stories from my friends as well. Make one wonder, is our justice system geared to dispense justice or just dates (expressed in the same sense as Sunny Deol does in Damini). Or now the "Coaching" is so rampant that no coaching is cosidered a lie or a incompetent lawyer. Now i understand how truths are turning into lies.

Anonymous said...

Dilip -- I rarely see your stuff on rediff any more. Today I saw your article in the morning, but by afternoon (now) it's gone from the front page and there's no obvious place to look for it. Does rediff dislike you?

eV said...

Something I had posted a couple of weeks ago:

The Indian media rarely covers the trial proceedings of any case. In contrast, the NYT would spend pages of space to discuss court proceedings and to 'predict' the judgments. Why?
1. The media is too wary to step on the judiciary's toes and (unreasonably) fears being held contempt of court.
2. The media managers believe the readers/viewers don't care about the trial.
3. Excessive delay in our courts end kills public interest.
Are there any other reasons?

I was left wondering if judges would have to resort to dramatic statements like "Throw the governor out" to apply pressure on the government via the media.