In this insightful article, Sudha Ramalingam and RS. Akila highlight the apathy of the State machinery, judiciary and the civil society towards the increasing violations of the right to life through encounter killings. Tracing the history of response to encounter killings, the authors illustrate how perpetrators of this extra-legal deprivation of life and liberty are glorified in news media, revered by the State and civil society, and thus enjoy immunity from the clutches of the criminal justice system. The situation prevalent in a relatively stable Tamil Nadu is especially highlighted in order to demonstrate the falsity of the assumption that encounter killings are widespread only in conflict-ridden states. The willingness of society to acquiesce while the law of the court is replaced with the law of the street is attributed to the lack of faith of civil sociey in the criminal justice system. The authors lament the proliferation and acceptance of these extra-legal killings in a constitutional democracy like India, labelling the same to be unacceptable.

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Sudha Ramalingam and R. S. Akila, 'the Right to Life Endangered' (2010) 6(1) Socio-Legal Review 141

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