25 January, 2021

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?

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...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

Latest Magazine

February 01, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section