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Ayushi Agarwal

IWB Blogger

Karuna Nundy: Inspiring Female Lawyer Fighting For Indian Women’s Basic Rights

  • IWB Post
  •  November 28, 2015


Some super-heroes wear capes, some wear masks. Then, there are some who choose to save others in black robes, armed with books on laws and legal regulations.

Meet Karuna Nundy, a supreme court lawyer, no less than a masked crusader standing up for women’s rights. She contributed significantly to the drafting of  anti-rape laws in the country.

“I’m a great believer in deliberative democracy; where you speak, but you also listen. You come through the other side with differences intact, but you also come through together in important ways.”

She sought justice for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, fought for online free speech and contributed to the drafting of India’s so-called anti-rape laws that were enacted following the 2012 gang rape and death of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus.

After pursuing a law degree at Cambridge and then a fellowship at New York’s Columbia University, Nundy, who is also a commercial lawyer, worked at international tribunals and with the United Nations before eventually returning to India more than a decade ago.

Read below some snippets of her conversation with The Huffington Post:

“[As for coming back to India], there were a number of reasons for that decision. I did think quite carefully about acting as a barrister in England but ultimately, I felt that here is where I could make the biggest contribution — not just in human rights work, but also as a general lawyer. I felt this is where the need was. I have a visceral understanding of these various layers [here], in terms of language, in terms of nuance and information”.

“One priority should be the implementation of a very intense public education program to take down patriarchy. Patriarchy is a public health concern”.

“We also need to be teaching kids about consent and sexuality. Kids need to know that gender is a continuum and that sexuality is a continuum. … These things can be done.”

“Criminalizing marital rape is another top priority. Doctrinally in my mind, it’s so clear: Rape is rape. But there has been so much opposition to making marital rape a crime. To me, this is a constitutional issue. Because it’s a constitutional issue, it’s something the courts should be acting on [though] they’ve refused to do so on various occasions.”

With power, comes responsibility. Nundy is using her powers for good, and all this world needs is more of people like her. #YouGoGirl

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