Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Clients & Their Questions

Aggrieved by the endless questions of clients because of courts’ closure, an advocate makes some humourous FAQs for them.

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By Amit Jaiswal

Life throws different challenges at every step. And the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown its own set of challenges for advocates. For the last one and half years, advocates throughout India are grappling with the restricted functioning of courts. They have to answer a flurry of questions emanating from their infuriated clients on a daily basis. 

My situation is no different. So while answering the same questions by clients numerous times, I was struck with the idea of formulating my own FAQs for their benefit and of course, myself. I analysed the pattern of questions and formulated 15 standard ones raised by my clients and tried to answer it.

These FAQs are communicated through e-mail and WhatsApp to my clients. Besides answering their innumerable questions, these FAQs at least seem to demoralise a good number of them from asking me further questions. Whatever may be the reason, the FAQs have served their salutary purpose and I am answering far less questions and feel relieved. Here are the FAQs for the benefit of my brothers and sisters in the profession so that they also may be benefitted:

Why the Court is closed/almost closed?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

When will my matter be taken up?

After the pandemic is over.

But schools are open.

Courts are not schools and the world over, children have been found to be less susceptible to the Covid-19 virus.

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But now even theatres are open.

Courts are not places of entertainment and cannot be compared with theatres.

But elections and big rallies are being held all over.

Courts are not political arenas.

Even my corner kirana (grocery) shop is open.

Courts are not grocery shops. Please do think before drawing any comparison.

My tenants are sitting in my shop/house without paying rent for the last few years. When will I get rent and possession of my shop/house?

Your life is more important than your rental income and other mundane things like property.

I have not been getting maintenance for the last two years.

Your life is important. Stay home, stay safe. You will get your entire maintenance along with arrears once the courts return to normal functioning.

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My 138-NIA (Section 138 of the Nego­tiable Instruments Act, 1881, relates to bouncing of cheques) is hanging fire for last so many years. Is there any chance of its disposal soon?

Thousands of persons are languishing in jail because their cases cannot be taken up because of restricted hearing during the pandemic and they have priority over your cause. You should not be selfish during this trying time for humanity.

When will my divorce case be decided?

The prime concern of the court administration is to keep you safe from the deadly virus so that both the spouses are alive to get a decree of divorce from the Court, as in case of death of any of them, the divorce proceedings will be infructuous. So the court is alive to the situation and actually wants to see you through the pandemic.  

But how long will this restricted hearing mode go on?

Courts are alive to the situation and concerned about the safety of litigants and advocates and decisions are taken keeping in view the extraordinary situation in the best interests of all.

I don’t care for my life and I want my case to be decided anyway.

Courts are guided by higher considerations and values and not by emotional, irrational and often selfish opinions of individuals. 

In this manner, my case will not be decided for years and years.

Patience is a virtue. Good things come to those who wait. Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet, said Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

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Is this the way courts are supposed to function?

One’s vision should not be blurred by selfish motives and one should think with objectivity and in the larger interest of humanity. Litigation, particularly civil litigation, is not above life.

So when will all the courts start functioning normally?

That depends on the subjective satisfaction of the court administration. Rest assured all the decisions are taken keeping in view the best interests of all the stakeholders and justice.

Remember, courts do a serious job of dispensation and administration of justice and thus, think twice before drawing comparisons with any other institution or enterprise.

Note: Please ponder over my answers and if still not satisfied, then you may see me personally. 

Assuring you of my best services at all times.

I hope my colleagues will find the above effort useful and put in their valuable contribution to make these FAQs more comprehensive, rich and useful and share it for the benefit of all.

—The writer is an advocate

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