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ILLICIT JUSTICE: Aspirational-Strategic Subjects and the Political Economy of Domestic Violence Law in India

  • Poulami Roychowdhury

Abstract

Criminal cases against domestic violence in India frequently result in unlawful “compromises” where litigants breach legal procedure and negotiate out-of-court settlements. Using ethnographic and interview data, this Article analyzes how legal cases become extralegal settlements. I argue that India’s legal environment engenders an “aspirational-strategic” legal consciousness among survivors, who simultaneously believe they deserve what the law promises while distrusting legal procedure and law enforcement personnel. Their bifurcated vision of the law leads them to negotiate illicit settlements. These findings indicate that expansions in legal rights can have contradictory effects on rule of law. Depending on the political economy of the legal institutional environment, citizens may respond to rights by simultaneously adopting new norms while ignoring legal rules and procedure.

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ILLICIT JUSTICE: Aspirational-Strategic Subjects and the Political Economy of Domestic Violence Law in India

  • Poulami Roychowdhury

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