BENGALURU: It’s no secret that seeking justice in this country is a time-consuming affair. Between visits to courts, redirections and legal fees, a person might just give up on the system. “In Metro cities, a 30-minute consultation with a lawyer costs Rs 2,000 and then there are other charges,” says Shubham Sharma, who has founded Nyaykarta in order to expedite the process. The month-old platform has a team of 500 experts from across the country, including 12 from Bengaluru, and deals with almost 200 cases a day.
According to Sharma, there are around 3 crore cases pending at a district level only, with over 1.5 crore new ones filed every year. Having found no alternative for “quick, cost-effective justice”, Sharma has spent the lockdown helping vulnerable groups like migrant labourers for free. “Those who are economically sound, we charge them Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 and try to find a solution in less than a week,” says the 26-year-old public policy expert from Jaipur.
Bengaluru advocate Kishore Kumar, who is also part of the team, says courts have not begun functioning to full capacity yet, and some matters could be solved in other ways. “If everyone goes to court, it would only become tedious for them and overburden the system. If we think an alternative is possible, we suggest settling the matter amicably,” says Kumar, who was prompted by his own experiences in delayed grievance redressal. Recalling an instance of a firm not paying its 200 workers their provident fund, Kumar shares how it has been three years since he has complained against the company. “If people don’t get a solution, it may push them to take extreme steps,” says Kumar.
Sharma too was cheated by an absconding landlord during his college days. “I felt helpless at not being able to do anything about it. The police didn’t even file our complaint,” he recalls. Nyaykarta hopes to make a difference through intervention and mediation. “Sometimes people also suffer due to lack of awareness. For example, a victim of a cyber crime approached a police station, only to be told that he had to go to the cyber cell. But we told him he could file his complaint in any police station,” explains Sharma, who prefers to first escalate the matter with the opposite party. “If that doesn’t work, we suggest the applicant files an FIR and if the police don’t cooperate, we reach out to higher officials,” he says.