[Reader-list] abstract

chander nigam chandernigam at rediffmail.com
Thu Jan 29 20:36:38 IST 2004

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Dear All

Here is the abstract of my proposal for the Sarai Independent fellowship. 

My research is based on Tis Hazari Court. It would be an effort to understand the daily life of this court as a public space and how it intervene the socio-cultural and legal fabric of the city. Tis Hazari is the first District and Sessions Court in Delhi, which came into being after Independence. Situated in the middle of Mughal,s Shahjahanabad and Colonial Civil Lines, Tis Hazaari is one of the biggest Distt. and Session Court in Asia not only in terms of number of cases but also in terms of number of advocates.

People come to this court premises related to various civil as well as criminal cases such as theft, doucaty, prostitution, rape, murder, matrimonial, recovery etc. in different roles. Some comes as accused while others come to support him to bail out, some comes as witness while some witness comes for turning hostile, some comes to plead for the accused, while other comes to deliver justice. Many come to help the court proceedings as Govt. & non Govt. employees (such as court staff, private MUNSHIS and bar employees). Some are regular in the court with the typing and Xerox machine while some are with STD/PCO booths. Some has tea stall while some other comes as hawker. Some comes as tout while some other comes to search clients for prostitution. All these are having their own mood and modes of operation.

Judiciary is know as the third pillar of democracy, bur my experience and observation force me to realize that this temple of justice has some pillars of injustice also. Sitting underneath the chair of My lord, Reader / Ahelmad (court staff) never talk to clients even sometimes to advocates without having NAZRAANA (favored). After taking their fees from clients advocates thinks to find out ways how to get more money from clients pocket. Touts are always ready to “volunteer” their service to clients and new comers to the premises. Sometimes they even offer their service to the un-uniformed advocates. Typists busy in thinking that how Rs. 30/- or 40/- can be charged for one page of typing, pco owner successfully charge Rs. 3-4 for one call. Police! Even after taking note of 50/- or 100/- they keep shunning the relatives and acquaintances of accused who try to meet them. Sometimes this happens even after the permission of magistrate.

After finishing court works advocates’ MUNSHIS move towards THEKA (wine and beer shops), flesh traders (male and female) form different parts of the city start searching their clients around the advocates’ chambers and thus the time of SHARAB AND SHABAB starts in the holy premises of justice. However, for some chambers this always goes on, no matter whether it is day or night, morning or evening. 

It is a fact that the ongoing activities in and from the court premises have certain relationships and networks, which give new meanings, dimensions and shades to this space. And these altogether form new trends in the city life and these trends are very significant for the city’s daily life. Therefore, it is obvious to be curious towards this court premises.

As far my knowledge is concerned, till date there has been no documentation of such a life, which operate within and from the court campuses. My opinion is that the general public must know the reality and this is why I am trying to document this. As a practicing lawyer I know this space and I have some observations of it. And being a woman I feel this space some other ways also. 

During my research period I would try to share all these experiences and activities with you. And I hope you will help me through your suggestions and comments in the coming days. My next posting will followed soon. Tab tak ...i n t z a a a a a r ....

cheers and thanks


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