ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Notions of Justice

S P Sathe Law, Power and Justice by Vasudha Dhagamwar; Sage Publications, New DHAGAMWARs book recreates the environment of the early colonial period and the efforts of the colonial government to stabilise its rule over India. She gives a graphic description of how utilitarians like James Mill and Macaulay who accepted adult franchise in principle were opposed to a representative government for India; how they opposed colonisation in principle but justified Company rule in India. Mill was in favour of universal adult male suffrage (for men above 40) and against votes for women; on the other hand, Macaulay favoured votes for women but was against universal adult male suffrage (p 47). He favoured property qualifications. The author brings out the contradictions in the men who made law for British India during the initial years of colonial rule This book on legal history is unlike other books on this subject by Indian authors. Instead of giving a chronology of events or of the Governors-General, it lays bare, very subtly, the interaction between the English lawmakers and the Indian society and the English people's perception of India. What was good for England was not necessarily considered good for India and vice versa. Dhagamwar's book tells the story of how law was made essentially to subserve power resulting in the denial of justice to the disadvantaged Indians such as the staves, the lower castes and the women.

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