Based on ethnographies of terrorism trials in Delhi’s Tis Hazari Courts, Mayur Suresh’s Terror Trials shows how terror-accused work with legal procedures and technicalities in order to intervene in their trials. While India’s terror trials have been viewed through the lens of an expanding security state and displays of Hindutva nationalism, Suresh elaborates how trials are experienced by the defendants through a minute engagement with legal technicalities.
Amidst the gruelling terror trials—which are replete with stories of torture and fabricated charges—defendants school themselves in legal procedures, build friendships with police officials, and cultivate a cautious faith in the courts. Though seemingly mundane, legal technicalities acquire urgent ethical qualities in the life of a trial: the file becomes a space in which the world can be made or unmade, the petition a way of imagining a future, and investigative and courtroom procedures enable the unexpected formation of relationships between police and terror-accused.
Through the detailing of how legal technicalities are made to work in the everyday world of terrorism trials, Suresh shows how human expressiveness, creativity and vulnerability emerge through the law.
This book will be of interest to scholars of legal studies, political science, anthropology, sociology, and linguistics.
Contents: Abbreviations and Glossary
1. Custodial Intimacy: Law and the Police in Two Parts
2. Recycled Legality: Doing Things with Legal Language
3. Law and the Vulnerable State
4. Hypertext: Files and the Fabrication of the World
5. Certification and the Fabrication of Truths
6. Petition Writing: Desire, Ethics, Mourning
Conclusion: An Acquittal?
About the Author: Mayur R. Suresh is Senior Lecturer at SOAS, University of London.