It was a regular working day and I was on my way home on my scooter from college after a session of corrections of end of term answer scripts. The traffic lights were red at the Lifestyle junction and I waited till they turned green before I rode onto Richmond Road. As I took the turn I noticed a large pile up of traffic before me stretching backwards to the Sapphire Toy Shop. So riding up fairly slowly I came to a halt behind a large black car.
Barely had I put my feet down and left my grip on the brakes, when I was hit from behind by an old model Maruti car. My scooter and I both fell to the ground and I was shocked and trembling with the sudden impact. Luckily the driver infront and the owner got out and helped me on my feet and put my scooter on the stand.
The owner of the white Maruti just got out from the back seat and began to abuse me saying I had come in his way. Shocked and traumatised, I could not respond as loudly and vociferously as I suppose was expected by me. I was grateful I had not been hurt as I am diabetic and besides some scratches and a broken mirror my new scooter too looked fine. Breathing a sigh of relief I headed home and calmed myself down with some tea and forgot about the incident.
The next morning two policemen stood at my front door. “You banged a Maruti and ran away-a Madam?” said one policeman very agressively to me. No amount of explaining would do. "Sign this letter and come to the Ashok Nagar station by 4 pm or we will have to force you to come there. What is your phone number?” he demanded.
Inexperienced with the working of the law, I called up several friends to ask for advice. The secretary at the police commissioner’s office told me to get myself a good lawyer. I could not believe where this was all heading to! It is not even my fault, I said and was curtly told well a case has been filed against you. Why did you not go to the station and file one before they did if you were in the right?
This was ridiculous I thought. How can a false case be filed against me? So I decided to let reason take over and forget all the advice I had been given. I wrote a strong counter complaint and took it to the police station. There I met the investigating team and I was in for a pleasant surprise. There were two young plain clothes policemen sitting there who took my complaint very affably and asked me to explain in detail. Once I made my explanations, they called up the complainant who happened to be a senior government official. I also told them to check the CCTV footage and see who had come onto the road first, the car or me and probably the man’s brakes were faulty as it was an old car.
In minutes, the problem was solved and I left, with the officers being very polite and understanding. There were no lawyers and court cases and no waste of valuable time which I was so worried about. The complainant had also wanted to know how much money I would give him, "let us sit and discuss that Madam,” he said with no compunction. However the investigative officials were thorough and honest and closed the issue in minutes.
The reason for my writing this is to tell the common man that he need not fear the law especially with aggressive and abusive people who are in the wrong. They must think clearly and address the issue squarely rather than allow position and power run rough shod over them. Only then can we hope for some semblance of honesty and justice to prevail in our city.