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This page lists important books (with weblinks, some of which are open access, and brief descriptions) at the intersection of criminal law, criminal process, trial/lower courts, police, punishment, deviance, harm, state violence, sentencing, and social justice from different methodological, disciplinary, theoretical, and identity perspectives on/from the Anglophone world (with a special emphasis on South Asia).

South Asia

2020: Routledge Handbook of South Asian Criminology edited by K. Jaishankar

Although the literature and cultural practices of the South Asian region demonstrate a rich understanding of criminology, this handbook is the first to focus on crime, criminal justice, and victimization in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.


2017: Crime, Criminal Justice, and the Evolving Science of Criminology in South Asia: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh edited by Shahid M. Shahidullah

This edited volume provides a compilation of research from some of the most highly-regarded criminologists specialising in South Asia​ and addresses a wide range of timely topics such as gender, policing, and justice​. 

2015: Regimes of Legality: Ethnography of Criminal Cases in South Asia edited by Daniela Berti & Devika Bordia
An anthropological study on judicial practices in South Asia, this volume takes criminal cases as frameworks to examine power dynamics within a legal setting. Case studies in this book analyse a set of state and non-state institutions and the practices of people associated with them.


2023: Terror Trials: Life and Law in Delhi's Courts by Mayur R. Suresh

An ethnography of terrorism trials in Delhi, India, this book explores what modes of life are made possible in the everyday experience of the courtroom.

2021: Police Matters: The Everyday State and Caste Politics in South India, 1900–1975 by Radha Kumar

Police Matters moves beyond the city to examine the intertwined nature of police and caste in the Tamil countryside. Radha Kumar argues that the colonial police acted as tools of the state in deploying rigid notions of caste, refashioning rural identities in a process that has cast long postcolonial shadows.

2021: The Truth Machines: Policing, Violence, and Scientific Interrogations in India by Jinee Lokaneeta

Using case studies and the results of extensive fieldwork, this book considers the nature of state power and legal violence in liberal democracies by focusing on the interaction between law, science, and policing in India.

2020: Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva by Anand Teltumbde

Commanding in its scope, revelatory and unsparing in argument, the Republic of Caste amounts to a new map of post-Independence India. Anand Teltumbde identifies the watershed moments of its journey: from the adoption of a flawed Constitution to the Green Revolution, the OBC upsurge and rise of regional parties, up to the nexus of neoliberalism and Hindutva in the present day.

2020: Sex, Law, and the Politics of Age: Child Marriage in India, 1891–1937 by Ishita Pande

Ishita Pande's innovative study provides a dual biography of India's path-breaking Child Marriage Restraint Act (1929) and of 'age' itself as a key category of identity for upholding the rule of law, and for governing intimate life in late colonial India.

2020: The Death Penalty: Perspectives from India and Beyond by Sanjeev P. Sahni & Mohita Junnarkar

It examines the current debate on capital punishment around the globe and in India and discusses the psychosocial factors associated with the death penalty. 

2019: Courting Desire: Litigating for Love in North India by Rama Srinivasan

Tracing organically evolving notions of sexual consent and legal subjectivity, Courting Desire underlines how non-normative decisions regarding marriage become possible in a region otherwise known for high instances of honour killings and rigid kinship structures. 

2018: Trials of Truth: India’s Landmark Criminal Cases by Pinky Anand

Drawing on her vast experience as a senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General at the Supreme Court, Pinky Anand examines criminal cases that have captured public interest. Breaking down each aspect of cases such as the Nirbhaya rape, the Nanavati murder, the Nithari killings and others, she gives us an inside look and lawyer’s perspective into the manner of legal proceedings, strategies employed by legal counsel on both sides and the rigour with which courts come to verdicts.

2018: Demons and Demigods: Death Penalty in India by Aparna Jha

In India, the death penalty continues to be in practice. The author in this book argues that the death penalty be abolished in India. She strengthens her argument with the help of a personal narrative recounting her experience as a lawyer in arguing a case in the Supreme Court, in which four young men had been sentenced to death by the trial court.

2017: Cyber Crimes against Women in India by Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar

The first record of cyber crimes against women in India was in 2013 which indicates the fact that women are and have been easy targets of such crimes. Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar write on the types of cyber crimes in India, legal provisions and ways to combat the crime. They bring in the question of gender from the very beginning keeping the discussion tight and straightforward. 

2016: Provisional Authority: Police, Order, and Security in India by Beatrice Jauregui

Jauregui explores the paradoxical demands placed on Indian police, who are at once routinely charged with abuses of authority at the same time that they are asked to extend that authority into any number of both official and unofficial tasks. Her ethnography of their everyday life and work demonstrates that police authority is provisional in several senses.

2016: Discretion, Discrimination and the Rule of Law: Reforming Rape Sentencing in India by Mrinal Satish

This book addresses and analyses the rape sentencing regime in India, and demonstrates that despite law reform, the myths and stereotypes about rapists and rape victims that used to be embedded in the positive law of rape and/or in evidence law have, in many cases, merely shifted from the charging and trial stages to the sentencing stage. 

2014: Public Secrets of Law: Rape Trials in India by Pratiksha Baxi

Public Secrets of Law describes the everyday socio–legal processes that underlie the making of rape trials in Indian courts. Based on an ethnographic project in the rural District and Sessions Court in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), as well as critical readings of the juridical archive, this book demonstrates how rape trials furnish scripts of the social via the juridicalized bodies of violated women.

2011: Codification, Macaulay and the Indian Penal Code: The Legacies and Modern Challenges of Criminal Law Reform by Barry Wright & Wing-Cheong Chan

This book is a valuable reference on the Indian Penal Code, and current debates about general principles of criminal law for legal academics, judges, legal practitioners and criminal law reformers. It also promises to have a wider scholarly appeal, of interest to legal theorists, historians and policy specialists.

2010: The Juvenile Justice System in India: From Welfare to Rights (Second Edition) by Ved Kumari

The book explores the socio-legal and human rights dimensions of the Juvenile Justice System (JJS) in India. Addressing the issue from a wide range of perspectives-sociological, demographic, legislative, judicial, and interventionist-the book attempts a macro-level examination of these issues from a multidimensional perspective. 

2005: Colonial Childhoods: The Juvenile Periphery of India 1850–1945 by Satadru Sen

An exploration of the shaping of childhood in the colonial period.

1998: A Despotism of Law: Crime and Justice in Early Colonial India by Radhika Singha

This book explores the emergence of colonial criminal law against the backdrop of the British conquest and pacification of North India. Criminal justice is examined as an ideological and cultural enterprise in which the East India Company sought to communicate new notions of sovereign right.

1919: The principles of the law of crimes in British India by Syed Shamsul Huda


2022: Insecure Guardians: Enforcement, Encounters and Everyday Policing in Postcolonial Karachi by Zoha Waseem

An in-depth study of the policing practices of an insecure state, foregrounding the experiences of officers on the frontline of Pakistan’s armed conflicts. This exploration of policing in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and financial capital, reveals many colonial continuities. Both civilian and military regimes continue to ensure the suppression of the policed via this institution, itself established to militarily subjugate and exploit in the interests of the ruling class. 

2019: The Women's Movement in Pakistan: Activism, Islam and Democracy by Ayesha Khan

This book is a history of the modern women's movement in Pakistan. The research is based on documents from the Women's Action Forum archives, court judgments on relevant cases, as well as interviews with activists, lawyers and judges and analysis of newspapers and magazines. Ayesha Khan argues that the demand for a secular state and resistance to Islamization should not be misunderstood as Pakistani women sympathizing with a Western agenda. Rather, their work is a crucial contribution to the evolution of the Pakistani state. 

2017: How KPK Police Reforms Failed us Terribly: An in-depth review and biopsy of a police case by Shahzad Khan

KPK Police reforms have received widespread praise across the country but our recent experience with them has been a complete opposite. This was not a failure of one person or two, there was systemic failure across the board. Listening to media, we were expecting great things but what we got was a textbook example of police manipulations, bias, favoritism, incompetence, thriving VIP culture and complete lack of accountability. This is an extensive review of our experience.

2016: Honour and Violence: Gender, Power and Law in Southern Pakistan by Nafisa Shah

The practice of karo kari allows family, especially fathers, brothers and sons, to take the lives of their daughters, sisters and mothers if they are accused of adultery. This volume examines the central position of karo kari in the social, political and juridical structures in Upper Sindh, Pakistan.

2009: The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan: Sharia in Practice by Tahir Wasti

Less attention has been given to studying the consequences of the Sharia legal system's operation, particularly in the area of Islamic criminal law. This book aims to fill these gaps in our understanding of Sharia law in practice. It deals specifically with the consequences of enforcing Islamic criminal law in Pakistan, providing an in-depth and critical analysis of the application of the Islamic law of Qisas and Diyat (retribution and blood money) in the Muslim world today. 

2006: Muslims and Crime: A Comparative Study bMuzammil Quraishi

In the aftermath of 9/11, a critical analysis of offending and victimisation of Asian Muslims is desperately required. Muslims and Crime addresses this need by means of a comparative criminological evaluation of British and Pakistani South Asian Muslims.


Sri Lanka





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