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

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Does a Settled Court Case Have an Afterlife?


The Hathras judgment arguably has two opposite sides to it. From a legal point of view, the judgment is claimed to be adequate to the crime committed against the victim, even though it may be considered to be adequate by those who side with caste pride rather than human dignity. On the other side of the spectrum, some may find that the judgment may not account for the loss to humanity. Put differently, legal loss has to be understood outside the legal framework. This is because the legally settled case has an afterlife—a life that continues to occur, particularly in the affective realm of an ethically sensitive being. What is seen as adequate in this case may be viewed as not only a legal but also an emotional loss.

A legalistic and hence cognitive approach to the court’s judgment is what is procedurally “assisted” by the so-called rational procedure adopted by the investigative agencies, and it seems to put a closure on the settled court case. It does not account for the affective force that has an impact on the emotional shaping of the public, if not politicians’, feelings towards the value of human dignity. Thus, one may ask: Does the affective response resulting from the inadequacy of justice not depend on the people’s capacity to feel sorry, if not enraged, by the socially produced tragedy such as the Hathras case of the killing of a Dalit woman?

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Updated On : 18th Mar, 2023
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