Terror Trials: Life and law in Delhi’s Courts
Dr Mayur Suresh, SOAS
In his book Terror Trials: Life and Law in Delhi's Courts, Mayur Suresh studies the lives of people accused of terrorism offences, in Delhi’s Tis Hazari courts. Amidst the grinding terror trials – which are replete with stories of torture, illegal detention and fabricated charges – the book shows how terror-accused schooled themselves in legal procedures, had friendships with police officials, cultivated cautious faith in the courts and expressed a deep sense of betrayal when this trust was belied.
The book shows that though seemingly mundane, legal technicalities are fraught and highly contested, and acquire urgent ethical qualities in the life of a trial: legal language becomes a question of a form of life, 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 close relationships between police and terror-accused. In attending to the ways in which legal technicalities are made to work – through legal language, through files and the everyday interactions among lawyers, judges, accused terrorists, and police – we are offered a way of understanding how human expressiveness, creativity and vulnerability emerge through the law.