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How One Female Lawyer In India Is Fighting For Women’s Basic Rights

“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.” Those are the words of Karuna Nundy, a Supreme Court lawyer in India, speaking from her New Delhi office this month. In recent years, Nundy, who specializes in human rights litigation, has battled in some of India’s most divisive and challenging cases. 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. Nundy, 39, recently spoke to The Huffington Post about her career in law, her biggest achievements to date and women’s rights in India, among other issues. Below are edited excerpts of the conversation.

It was very clear to me that my job had to be vocation; a purpose that comes from deep within. [As a student] I realized that what I really care about is making a direct impact on the world. I remember walking into my first law school class at Cambridge. I discovered I had a mind. It really was like coming home. [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.


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