Wait for justice gets longer, litigants edgy - ECAS Punjab

Wait for justice gets longer, litigants edgy

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Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24

Noor Begum (name changed), who got separated from her husband around one year ago, has been waiting for maintenance charges from the latter.

Reason: After a series of hearings, the lockdown imposed in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak led to adjournment of her case.

Begum's father, who used to repair bicycles to earn livelihood, has been rendered jobless due to the lockdown. "My son-in-law had an extra-marital affair and married another woman without getting a divorce. Let alone paying maintenance, he came to our house and thrashed my daughter and broke her knee. With no income source, how will I run my household and bear her treatment expenses," said Rahim Iqbal, father of Begum.

There are scores of civil cases, which were not heard during and after the lockdown and deemed "non-urgent". In another matrimonial dispute, a woman with two kids was granted divorce by a court against her wishes, a few days prior to imposition of the lockdown. As a result, she could not appeal in the High Court.

There are numerous cases related to financial, land disputes, cheque bounce and serious crimes where hearings are not taking place. In 18 courts in Bathinda, more than 1,500 cases were heard daily, which has come down substantially post-lockdown.

Kamaljit Kuti, president, District Bar Association (Bathinda), said, "Mostly criminal or cases deemed urgent are being taken up in the courts, including those seeking bail and stay orders. Cases related to land dispute, money, matrimonial dispute or general criminal complaints are not deemed urgent. Even if such cases are taken up for hearing, courts are adjourning these cases."

A large section of lawyers who have been left with no work, have sought financial assistance from the government.

'Non-urgent'

There are scores of civil cases, which were not heard during and after the lockdown and deemed 'non-urgent'



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