Over the past three decades human rights movements in India have persistently interrogated systems of criminal justice in the country. The concerns have ranged from addressing the problem of arbitrary detention during the emergency to constructing entire communities as criminal thereby justifying forced dispossession and/or mass violence. While overt violence by state actors and their complicity in violence by dominant private actors has been a major concern, there has also been the problem of the abdication by the state with respect to provision of the means for bare life to a majority of the people, the denial of the right to bare life compounding their vulnerability to a repressive rule of law. There is a widespread acceptance of the fact that the law is unequal especially in terms of access to and delivery of justice, inequality of process negating the fundamental guarantee of equality.

This collection of essays re-examines the field of criminology through an interdisciplinary lens, challenging in the process unproblematic assumptions of the rule of law and opening out avenues for a renewed and radical restatement of the contexts of criminal law in India. This collection is a significant step towards mapping the ways in which interdisciplinary research and human rights activism might inform legal praxis more effectively and holistically. The contributors are a diverse group – widely respected activists, bureaucrats, scholars, and professionals – who share concerns on criminal justice systems and the need to entrench human rights in the Indian polity.

Parens Patriae: Exercising Patriarchal Prerogative in Post-Partition India

Parens patriae: Exercising patriarchal prerogative in post-partition India

Modern India's history writing has been dominated by the Partition of 1947 and by that event's political, literary, social and economic analyses. That traumatic event apart, post-Independence India was also remarkable for the quantity of legislation that was passed to deal with the massive task of resettlement and rehabilitation, evacuee property, division of assets and so on. A series of treaties, ordinances, agreements, resolutions, bills and acts were passed during 1947–50, covering various aspects of the transfer of power and populations. Nationally, a number of bills were introduced in Parliament to cover practically every aspect of refugee rehabilitation and resettlement: the Evacuee Property Act in 1947; the Finance Administration Bill, ...

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