Durga’s court

Shabnam Ramaswamy, the guardian angel of over one thousand homeless children (© The Better India)

Shabnam Ramaswamy runs an informal court of law in a small village in India. For the illiterate and the poor, India’s unwieldly, corrupt and slow justice system is inaccessible. So she started her own court on the verandah of her home. She arbitrates on cases ranging from murder and torture of women to dowry negotiations and land arbitration. Shabnam is totally untrained in the law, but she uses folk stories, the different law structures in the area and her own common sense as guidelines.

Producer: Dheera Sujan

Broadcast: October 24, 2006