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Law and Critical Legal Theory

Reports

INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSES TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (2003)

This report, prepared by A. Suneetha, Vasudha¬†Nagaraj and R. Bhagya Lakshmi,¬†presents the findings of a study that investigated the responses of women police stations, family counselling centres, public hospitals and family court to the women facing domestic violence. Important findings include: a) public institutions, especially law, figure only in a minor way in the lives of women dealing with violence; b) women found it useful to access a range of informal institutional set ups ranging from family, kinship, local community networks, caste, women’s groups along with public institutions; c) the problems of access are much more for women without endowments such as caste, class, education, ‘connections’ etc; and d) apart from the biases of the institutional personnel, women find it most difficult to keep up with the schedules, mandates and requirements of the various institutions.

EXPERIENCES OF THE POOR IN REVENUE COURTS (2002)

Drawing from her experiences in the Ibrahimpatnam land rights struggle, Gita Ramaswamy documents the experiences of how poor people engage with the revenue courts for claiming land rights. The two interviews with Satyamma and Yacharam Buddajangaiah reveal the map of scare resources of legal expertise, finances or contacts with which claimants have accessed the legal system.

CONTEXTUALISING CRIMINALITY: CONVICTED WOMEN’S NARRATIVES AND PROCEDURES OF THE CRIMINAL TRIAL (2002)

Written by Vasudha Nagaraj, this report presents the experiences of convicted women and the codes in which the criminal justice system selectively sets up evidence to judge criminality. The women’s narratives explored in this study point to the various processes that constitute the legal discourse where the ‘histories’ that mark these women remain outside the courtrooms even as they inflect notions of legality and justice. The criminal trial seems to be a terrain of contesting notions of identity with stated and unstated charges coming up for adjudication.