Monday May 20, 2024

Court dismisses woman’s plea seeking FIR against fellow beggars over ‘territory dispute’

By Yousuf Katpar
April 20, 2024
This representational image shows the gavel in a courtroom. — Unsplash/File
This representational image shows the gavel in a courtroom. — Unsplash/File

The case of a woman who had filed a petition in a sessions court seeking registration of an FIR against five people for allegedly harassing her took an interesting turn when the police informed the court that the petitioner and the proposed accused were beggars embroiled in a dispute over lucrative spots for panhandling.

Additional Sessions Judge (West) Sohail Ahmed Mashori dismissed the criminal petition filed by Ameera Khatoon, who had named the SSP Complaint Cell (West) and the SHO of the Saeedabad police station as respondents and private persons — Shafi Muhammad, Nazeer and Meer Gul, along with two unidentified individuals as the proposed accused.

She had alleged that on March 21, the accused harassed her at a bus stop at gunpoint, requesting the court to issue directives to the police to lodge an FIR against them.

In his response to the petition, the SHO stated that the complainant as well as the accused were beggars, who had been filing complaints against each other.

State Prosecutor Muhammad Ashraf Qaiser contended that the dispute between the parties did not pertain to verdant lands or estates, but to densely populated urban areas prized for panhandling.

The judge noted that the petitioner and the proposed accused shared a profession that "is as old as time but as legally tenuous as a house of cards in a stiff breeze."

"While the heart of this court beats in sympathy with the strife and struggles of those compelled to seek charity at the mercy of passers-by, it is bound by the unyielding chains of the law, which, in its current state, deems the act of begging not as a rightful claim to a patch of pavement but as an activity falling outside the embrace of legal sanction," the judge observed.

"Thus, with the weighty gravel of justice in one hand and a quill for recording decisions in the other (figuratively speaking, since we now use computers), I am compelled to dismiss the application filed by petitioner," ruled the judge.

He explained that it was not within the court's power to adjudicate turf wars over a territory that neither party may rightfully claim. "However, let it not be said that justice is blind to the plight of its supplicants," he went on, recommending "the powers that be to cast a compassionate and reformative eye upon our societal structures that push individuals to vie over pavement pieces as sources of sustenance."

"Therefore, the case is dismissed, but not without a whispered word of hope that perhaps, one day, we may find a solution that elevates all, leaving none to quarrel over crumbs. May peace and prosperity find both parties away from the contested concrete," read the judgment.