A traffic cop impounded driving license of one of my friends for driving without a helmet. Now he didn’t know how to get back the driving license, as he has not been listening carefully to the cop.
The usual challan now became a prosecution slip, which had the name and place of the court and the time at which he had to report to the court.
So after he had that slip, he knew he had to visit that court, but didn’t know anything that would happen after that. He missed the date that was mentioned in the slip. He went there once.
Now after this, he called me up and asked if I had time to go to court with him, my first reaction was “Court!, what crime did you commit?”. After his explanation I went along with him.
1st Visit to the court
We entered the court and were hoping that it would have very clear directions about where to go and might even have a reception area, where somebody would be “Happy to help”(read customer support).
But it was nothing like that, everywhere you could see people moving, lot of them in black and white(the lawyers). But nobody seemed like was there for help. So I asked one of the lawyers walking past us “Sir, we have got this slip from traffic cop and need to get back the license” while I was saying this my friend was already tugging at my shirt, saying that he had already done it i.e asking a lawyer.
But I had handed over the slip to the lawyer, he checked it and said that the date has already passed and we need to get a new date for which he will charge 200rs. Now this didn’t seem to be help! As soon as he mentioned the money I thanked him and took the slip from him.
It wasn’t very clear regarding what I have to do with this slip. I tried asking a few more people, but either they didn’t know or they demanded some money to get me that information. Then I found one lawyer who kept on following me and said that he would do it in 50rs and nobody would do it at such a price and also the courts have already closed.
The visit by my friend(before I went with him)
I was about to say yes to this lawyer, but my friend told me about his last visit. He said “Today we are standing here at this time because this was mentioned by some lawyer who took 50rs from me, the date and time is written at the back of the slip”. I turned the slip and it was there!.
OK so I got the picture now. Some of these lawyers would just give you any date and time and take some money from you. They know it would be very difficult for you to find them again.
I told my friend that for today we should leave for home and come back some other day in the morning, just when the court opens.
Second visit to the court
Now this time I was determined that I would talk to the right person at any cost. As soon as we entered the court, a larger number of people where there and equivalently larger number of lawyers came to us asking what do we need.
I kept on ignoring them. I was checking if I can find somebody who is associated with the court directly. So I started checking out the court rooms.
One had its door open I went inside and saw that a case was going on, similar to what I have seen on TV(yeah!). I observed it for a minute and was also scared that someone might throw me away any minute. I came out of the room.
I went to the other court room. The gate was closed, I openly it slightly and very carefully just as to peek inside. There was a gentleman sitting alone there. I said “Excuse me, Sir”. He noticed and I opened the door a bit more.
I told him that I had an impounded license that I need to get back but I don’t know how. He told me that I need to get the “Trial” date and appear in the court. “Ok so this was almost like a proper court case” I thought to myself.
I asked him where I can get this date and time, he told to visit a room(numbered), where I can get this detail. I thanked that guy and headed to the room.
Alas! a step in right direction.
I entered the room and saw a man sitting with a pile of files and paper, more than a feet in height. I asked him the same question. He told me that I can start looking through the pile of the papers(which were marked with date), from the first date in the challan.
I started with the first date as was mentioned by the traffic cop. The paper had the next trial date for everyone who had missed that date. It led to another date, which led to another paper, then another date and another paper and.. the man stopped me and said that he will find it for me.
He found it in seconds and I wrote down the date and time and started thanking him. I asked how much should I pay him. He said “Nothing!” Wow! This was my first experience of a Govt. employee saying no to money being offered!
Now this time we had all the information we needed. We went over the court room that we had got from our last visit and reached it at the correct time. My friend was asked to appear in the witness box, and was asked “Does he plead guilty for the offense?”. Like he had any other option :). He quickly said a yes. The he was asked to pay a fine which was about 200rs or so. After which he got the license back and this is how the story ended.
Lessons Learned from this incident.
- One reason people don’t follow the right path, because some people have made a business out of helping. In old times the postman used to read letters for people and they used to offer them money for their help. But with time the postman started demanding money from people even if they knew how to read!. This is the same case with such govt. offices. Such people don’t even let us help ourselves!
- Usually we are scared when there is something involving govt. This is because we don’t want any kind of problem related to it. But I guess, every govt. process should be for the people it is trying to serve. So you should not worry about asking for directions or any kind of questions.
- Another point is our distrust on govt. workers. Media keeps on highlighting cases of bribery and corruption that we start feeling that we cannot get our work done without paying extra. We accept it as De-facto and readily pay whether asked for or not.
- We are lazy. Doing things the right way takes some time and we just don’t want the hassle. We see that there is a faster option available and we go for that. Similar to a one-day delivery option available on many e-comm platform. Pay extra and get quicker delivery. But here the case is a bit different. here you have to remember that for every delivery that you get faster, another one’s is delayed further!
Try doing it the right way first, show some trust. Maybe your will be pleasantly surprised like I was.