In Pudukkottai, a town in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu, an all-male assembly called a Jamaat investigates crimes as well as civil matters and coordinates with the police and court system to administer justice. By Islamic tradition, no woman can appear before it. It is therefore unsurprising that domestic violence against women, who have no voice, is a traditionally common way of life.
Director Deepa Dhanraj’s documentary provides a rare look into the difficult lives of women in South India, and the empowerment created by a woman’s Jamaat in 2004. INVOKING JUSTICE follows real cases of violence against women, including a tragic bride-burning case, and chronicles the efforts of these pioneer women to effect social change. From investigating their own cases, courageously motivating the police on domestic violence reports, and exposing the indifference of the male Jamaat members, the women in this film epitomize the strength of the human spirit to overcome oppression and prejudice.
Synopsis written by: Valerie Kato