This book presents an ethnography of dispute processing by non-state forums and actors in rural India. As such it sheds light on a much neglected and contested topic. Arising in the context of recent legal and political debates that question the legitimacy of non-state actors engaged in dispute processing, the book explores the nature, form, and functioning of such forums and actors in two locations in rural India. Focusing on a fishermen’s community belonging to the caste of Hindu Machimār Koḷīs in coastal Maharashtra and an agrarian community in Uttarakhand with members from the Pandit, Thakur, Bhotiā, and Harijan caste groups, this study shows the manner in which non-state forums and actors engage with state law and its regulatory systems.

chapter 1|25 pages

Setting the context

chapter 2|32 pages

Early learnings

People, places and perspectives

chapter 3|15 pages

Many laws, many orders

Disputes and their processing in the non-state arena

chapter 4|55 pages

The legal landscape

Forums and their experiences of engagement with state law

chapter 6|16 pages

Concluding thoughts and reflections