My contact for the Consumer Court had sent me an email listing the address of the court as Room 4 Floor 8, Oil Bhawan (Name of building) on JanPath Road. So I took a cab and headed for JanPath. The traffic was horrendous. It should be a five minute drive. It took twenty minutes. Once on JanPath, we started asking people for the Oil Bhawan. No one seemed to know the building. After three tries, I called my host. He said he was late and was driving so he could not talk much. He said it was not in Oil Bhawan but in “Janpath Bhawan” on JanPath next to the courts. Now we headed to the courts, which were easy to find but once again we had to ask for directions to the right building. After we found it, there was no sign as to how to get inside. So after another two inquiries I got inside the building and got in the elevator. The elevator had signs only for seven floors. So more inquiries followed. I had to get off at the fifth floor, cross to the other side of the building through a maze of corridors and then take a second elevator to the seventh floor! This time another fellow accompanied me thru another set of corridors to stairs and I climbed one more floor to reach my destination.
In the USA, I am going to miss all this human interaction! I talked to fifteen people today to find my way to the Highest Consumer Court of the land.
Inside the court room there were two commissioners. They did not have to be judges, but one of them was. All the people doing the talking were attorneys for the people. Here I was under the impression that Consumer Courts were made so that people could argue their cases without attorneys!
The commissioners were all business. They seemed to know the cases and the law very well. The arguments and outcome was more like a regular court! The same problem too! All three cases I sat through, ended up being continued. My host's case was filed in a local court seven years back :( His opponent carried out the same old trick, he sent a junior attorney who pleaded ignorance of the case and asked to postpone the case. It was postponed for three months. It was getting late for my next appointment so I left at 11:15 AM.
It was noon when I got to my next stop at the offices of the Max Hospital chain. This chain has several very posh hospitals in India, and is aggressively promoting medical tourism in USA and Europe. This official was interested in starting an allergy specialty department in the hospital. Once inside the office building, it was like I was in some big law office in Century City. All leather sofas and an ornate waiting room. The guard showed me to the waiting room and informed my host. I was glad to be there on time. The problem was that only the building was western not the people working inside. The staff was Indian and they were on Indian Time! After waiting for 25 minutes I left. On my way home the official called to apologize. She blamed it on her assistant and miscommunication among them.