Saturday, Jun 25, 2022
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Why Are So Many In Custody, Apparently Being Interrogated, When None Required?

In India, 'reasonable belief' of guilt that can get you arrested seems to be a private emotion of the investigating officer, writes Supreme Court lawyer Shahrukh Alam

Why Are So Many In Custody, Apparently Being Interrogated, When None Required?
Why Are So Many In Custody, Apparently Being Interrogated, When None Required? Why Are So Many In Custody, Apparently Being Interrogated, When None Required?

Over the past few months, I have spent the ‘lockdown’ nights reading detective fiction and watching crime shows on Netflix. I’m partial to that genre: British crime dramas, and thrillers by John Le Carre (and only him). As the pandemic stretches indefinitely, and as summer peaks, I find myself turning to traditionally twisty murder mysteries set amidst comfortingly beautiful landscapes. I spend the day advising assorted clients on the phone or, when the matter is quite sensitive, then on Telegram. My clients invariably fall into one of two categories: those who would like a divorce and, quite disparately, activists who have been summoned by the crime branch for some ‘baat-cheet’.

All of last week I watched Shetland, eponymously set in the Scottish archipelago with its emerald hills and its rugged coast. Each time there is a murder, the police detectives drive all over the island to witnesses’ homes to chat with them, form a narrative about the murder, identify a suspect—and it’s only when they gather enough independent evidence that the suspect brought in for questioning, and then formally charged, or if she is only a red herring in the story, then let off.

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