Judicial Iconography and Access to Justice in the Bombay High Court
Südasien-Chronik - South Asia Chronicle 7/2017, S. 351-374, Südasien Seminar der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin ISBN: 978-3-86004-330-1
Posted: 30 Aug 2018
Date Written: February 17, 2018
In this paper I argue that certain aspects of the judicial iconography of the Bombay High Court and its practices hinder access to justice. The idea of access to justice that I refer to, is the physical accessibility of the court building which is read through Franz Kafka’s parable on Before the Law. Further, the article focuses on the public interest litigation that has been filed in the Bombay High Court for the creation of a new high court building. Based on my ethnographic study, I look at the restrictions through the visual in the form of the dress worn by judges and lawyers and the ban on photography in court premises. In conclusion, I discuss the idea of law as heritage and how the Bombay High Court deals with its iconography in relation to its heritage and eventually, how this affects the process of access to justice.
Keywords: Bombay High Court, Judicial Iconography, Access to Justice, Kafka, Law as Heritage, Ethnography
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