Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Justice Raja Khurram Ali Khan’s wife Maheen Zafar was granted interim bail on Tuesday for her part in confining and torturing ten-year-old Tayyaba, a child employed as a house maid at the judge’s residence. Not only that, but even after the substantial evidence of abuse, a sessions court court granted Tayyaba’s family her custody even after it seemed indifferent to the torture she went through.

It seems shocking that the child labour aspect of this case takes a backseat, but the obvious abuse the girl has gone through is unmissable, which makes it hard to move on to the other crimes allegedly committed.

The fact that this case was determined on the basis of the parents’ testimony is hard to grasp, especially since it emerged that they gave up the custody of their daughter for as little as Rs18000.

The state itself was the petitioner against the judge and his wife in this case, which makes dropping it on the basis of whether the parents forgave the accused confusing. The principle of the family being personally being invested applies here just as in cases of honour killing – if forgiveness is not admissible in those cases, it should not be in ones of this nature either. Not only that, but what is to stop the parents of Tayyaba to hand her over to someone else for monetary benefit once more?

Tayyaba’s own statement, about her employers beating her and forcing her hands onto a burning stove lies ignored – which does not make any sense considering it is an official statement mentioned in the First Information Report (FIR) with the police. The judge denies these accusations and calls them fake, but is the girl’s physical condition not enough evidence for the case to be pursued?

In any case, Justice Raja Khurram Ali Khan has offered up no reasonable explanation for the brutal marks on Tayyaba’s body, or the screams heard by various neighbours. With the medical report so obviously detached from reality (calling these injuries a result of falling down the stairs), it can only be hoped that the Chief Justice’s demands for a report into the incident is answered with one that is less biased. One of those that are tasked with the morally upright duty of handing out justice stands accused for heinous crimes himself. One can only hope that the appeal process goes the other way, and Tayyaba is given the justice she deserves.