In Custody examines the professed and actual commitment to custodial justice on the part of six South Asian countries. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have all been affected by the geopolitics of colonialism. Nineteenth century Europe is often simplistically seen as the ideological source of the rights discourse in South Asia. But, like any ideological theme, the discourse on rights is also a negotiated space. Resistance created a need to justify imperialism by importing a purpose to it. Regulation of policing was the coloniser's superior norm, and also, his tool of control.
The erstwhile colonies inherited the practice of affirming norms while systems enabled their breach. Which is not to say that the purpose of norms is merely hypocritical; political struggles and intellectual discourse have, over the years, ensured the recognition of human rights in international instruments, national charters and even in the very pretexts for their breach. Though human rights are inalienable, the modern state has been uniformly guarded in its response to their imperatives. This book traces the historical and contemporary nature of the conflict between the norm and its practice. Constitutions, statutes and mechanisms of justice are reviewed with case studies and interviews that illustrate the many layers of impunity.
Nitya Ramakrishnan is a well-known lawyer practising in New Delhi, India. She has many terror trial defences to her credit, notably the Indian Parliament Attack Case and the Haren Pandya Murder Case. Also reputed for her media-related cases, Ramakrishnan successfully challenged the censorship imposed on many political documentaries such as Bhopal-Beyond Genocide and Punjab-From Behind the Barricades.
Preface Torture as as Public Secret...Introduction The International Regime on Torture I: INDIA India's Public Secret Rights Discourse: Rhetoric and Reality The Constitution and Custodial Rights The Penal Code and the Law of Evidence Due Process: CrPC, Police Acts and Prison Manuals State of Custodial Justice Judicial Trends Perspectives on Torture Six Case Studies II: PAKISTAN Pakistan's Regimes Subverting Due Process: The Force of Religion and the Force of Necessity The Judiciary International and Statutory Commitments Correcting the Custodians III: BANGLADESH Martial Law and Other Regimes: 1971-2010 International Commitments and Domestic Legal Frameworks Court Directives and Recommendations of Judicial Commissions Case Studies IV: SRI LANKA History and Politics The Constitution and Emergency Legislation Criminal Law and Custodial Justice International Law: Obligations and Compliance Enforced Disappearances V: NEPAL An Overview The 1990 Constitution Accountability under the Interim Constitution The Army Nepal's Legal Framework The Torture Compensation Act, 1996 The Courts and Custodial Justice Five Case Studies Two Interviews with Law Enforcers VI: AFGHANISTAN The Land and the People The Afghan Nation State and the Great Game 1920-1978: Challenges to Constitutionalism Human Rights and the Soviet Occupation (1978-1992) Terror and Counter Terror Afghanistan's Human Rights Norms Criminal Justice and the State of Human Rights Epilogue Bibliography Index