ANDHRA PRADESH

Justice at last at Mega Lok Adalat

VIJAYAWADA NOV. 9. Fifty-five-year-old K. Arjun Rao has been knocking the doors of justice for the past three years, seeking compensation for his "crippled'' right leg after he was knocked down by an RTC bus near the Challapally Bungalow.

A fisherman by profession, Mr. Arjun Rao was cycling his way home when the RTC bus knocked him down. His right leg was badly mutilated, making him lame for the rest of his life.

``I had undergone more than 10 surgeries at the Government hospital, but I am still not able to walk properly,'' Mr. Arjun Rao said with tears trickling down his eyes.

Mr. Arjun Rao said that a lawyer promised to take up his case for adequate compensation with RTC officials, but he has failed to fulfil the same. "I have been approaching him for the past three years, but he has been dodging me on one pretext or the other,'' Mr. Rao told The Hindu. His repeated requests to the Three Town police, who registered the case against the RTC driver, for help also proved futile. "The police say that their duty has ended with filing of the case and it is for the court to decide. But my case is yet to come up for hearing,'' he lamented.

But on Saturday, Mr. Arjun Rao mustered enough courage and walked into the Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court here to personally represent his case. The in-charge Judge, N. Sanyasi Rao, who was holding a `Mega Lok Adalat', took some time from the listed agenda to hear Mr. Arjun Rao's woes. After listening to his plight, he directed him to come on next Saturday with the relevant medical papers for settling the case. The victim then walked out of the hall.

In another case, 20-year-old Kalyani, who suffered head injuries after three persons attacked her with sticks over a land dispute, agreed to withdraw the case. She was attacked about three months ago and the case was registered with the Machavaram police.

``We have agreed for closing the case because we don't want to run around the courts since we are poor labourers surviving on daily wages,'' said Yella Reddy, brother-in-law of Ms. Kalyani. However, ask Kalyani whether she was amenable to a compromise. ``I do not know the nuances of the law. I simply nodded my head when the Judge asked me whether I agreed for closure of the case. My family members have said there is no point in pursuing the case as that will involve running around the courts,'' she said.

But for 50-year-old P. John, it was a case of overcoming a six-year-old "hangover''. Mr. John was arrested in 1996 for openly drinking liquor at the Lenin Centre when Prohibition was in force. Since then he had attended innumerable hearings at the courts without the case being decided, causing him untold mental agony. But finally, the case was dropped at the camp here on Saturday after imposing a fine of Rs. 300 for the offence.

In all, 228 cases -- motor vehicle disputes (32), civil (4), criminal (61) and Prohibition (131) -- were disposed of during the Saturday's camp held at the City Civil Courts here. An amount of Rs. 28.58 lakhs was paid towards compensation. Besides, Mr. Sanyasi Rao, those who conducted the special camp included the Principal Senior Civil Judge, V. Appa Rao, the Family Court Judge, P. Raj Manar, the Fast Track Court Judge, P. Muthyal Naidu, and the First Additional Senior Civil Judge, T. Anand.

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