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

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Abuse of the Law When in Custody

In Custody: Law, Impunity and Prisoner Abuse in South Asia by Nitya Ramakrishnan; Sage Publications; pp 451, Rs 995.

In Custody is a survey of how six south Asian countries have equipped their systems to tackle custodial torture, a study sponsored by South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR). Nitya Ramakrishnan, a noted lawyer, and her team of researchers have studied and analysed the “torture situation” in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan.

The first four countries have a colonial past, while the latter two “bordered the colonies”. But, as Fali Nariman points out in his Foreword, the legal regimes are varied. India and Nepal profess to be governed by statutory law, common law and customary law. Pakistan and Bangladesh, in addition to these three strands, are governed by overtones of religious (Islamic) law. In Afghanistan the legal system itself is based on Islamic Law with variations adapted from American and British law, while Sri Lanka’s legal system is a medley of Roman-Dutch civil law, customary law and common law.

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