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This edited volume provides an anthropological approach to examining the way criminal cases are dealt with by courts in South Asia. It takes criminal cases as a framework to study how power dynamics and individual strategies either comply or clash with a legal setting.
The case-study approach that is used here allows us to examine a set of state and non-state institutions and the practices of people associated with them. It helps analyse the underlying tension in institutional contexts between legal practitioners such as police officers, lawyers, and judges who orient their claims towards neutralism, objectivity, and equality and a set of everyday interactions and decisions where cultural, social, and political factors play a major role.
The volume relies on the theoretical assumption that the study of these judiciary cases in all their multifaceted complexity provides a pertinent and original angle from which to access some issues of contemporary India, as well as a variety of frameworks where the interactions between different forms of operative power and authority may be observed. The respective authors contextualize the contributions in terms of the activism, discourses and relationships around criminal cases that shape how ideas circulate in the public sphere and how mediation and negotiation between different actors characterize police and court practices.