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.
Chapter 7: Whose Life is it Anyway? Adivasi Communities and Entitlements to Life
Whose Life is it Anyway? Adivasi Communities and Entitlements to Life
‘The law favours and protects only the rich’ is a constant refrain. Far from being mere rhetoric, this is the everyday experience of most people that contradicts the notion of the supremacy of the rule of law. The belief that equality and the protection of the law are available only to the politically and economically well placed is reinforced by the differential treatment of illegality in society. This does not bode well for peace and the maintenance of law and order in society.
Illegality is decided by law. What comprises an illegal act and the remedies that are available are clearly defined and provided by ...