Understanding women’s legal worlds in Delhi’s rape trial courts

Event date
9 May 2024
Event time
15:30 - 17:00
Oxford week
TT 3
Wharton Room - All Souls College (and online)

Arushi Garg, University of Cambridge

Notes & Changes

Please note that this event will be recorded, if you do not wish to be part of the recording, please feel free to turn your cameras off once the talk begins. The talk will be made available on the Criminology website and YouTube channel at a later date. 


Registration closes at midday on Wednesday 8th May. The Teams link will be sent to you that afternoon.


An extensive body of socio-legal feminist scholarship has drawn out how patriarchal and other discriminatory attitudes within the criminal justice system influence the enforcement of rape laws. Much of this scholarship impliedly endorses an ideology of legal centralism or monism i.e., the belief that state law is single, unified and dominant over all other forms of normative ordering in society. In contrast, this talk takes up Ambreena Manji’s invitation to develop a richer understanding of women’s ‘legal worlds’ by engaging with legal pluralism. Thus, this talk teases out how women in India leverage rape laws to secure outcomes, which are incompatible with stated legislative objectives, but which are better aligned with women’s own conceptions of justice. These conceptions of justice, in turn, are linked heavily to women’s material and social conditions and often involve selecting the least bad option from a limited menu. The analysis is developed through thematic analysis of primary data collected in 2016 through ethnographic observation in and judgments from Delhi’s rape trial courts, and qualitative interviews with a range of stakeholders including victims, victim support-persons, judges and lawyers.


Arushi Garg

Arushi Garg is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. Prior to this, she held lectureships at the universities of Sheffield and Oxford. Arushi’s research focuses on issues relating to gender and crime, particularly in postcolonial criminal justice systems, and she is currently working on a monograph titled Sexual Agency and Victimisation: A Postcolonial Feminist Analysis of Rape Trials (forthcoming with Oxford University Press). She is on the Editorial Board of the Indian Law Review and the Criminal Law Forum.

Found within