Centre for Human Rights Studies

Research Centres

Centre for Human Rights Studies

CHRS is an independent research Centre based within the Jindal Global Law School engaged in the study and intervention of human rights violations in India examined through the lens of international human rights law and practice. Research at the Centre will focus on evolving best practice strategies for human rights lawyering and human rights focused research methodologies, by providing a critical space for engagement and debate on human rights issues at JGU.

The Centre aims at nurturing partnerships and collaborations with academic institutions, human rights organizations, independent researchers, academics, practitioners engaged in innovative interdisciplinary research, education, and practice of human rights in critical areas. Scholarly research conducted by the Centre is communicated through publications, conferences, seminars and workshops.

The work of the Center is focused on thematic research clusters in the following areas:

  • The Violence of Social Exclusion
  • Intimate Violence as A Human Rights Violation
  • Human Rights in Cyberspace
  • Rights-Camera-Action’ – The Human Rights Film Club
Pinki Mathur Anurag

Her middle name is passion! From feminism to gardening, human rights to traveling, Pinki is absolutely excited about everything. Her enthusiasm is infectious and fuels her work and the work of her team. Pinki has lived in three metros in India – Calcutta (before it was Kolkata), Delhi, Bombay (and Mumbai) and briefly in the UK and Singapore. She was a social worker and a lawyer in her previous life and absolutely loves her quiet, slow paced life as an academic in Sonipat.

CLICK HERE FOR ACADEMIC PROFILE Prof. Pinki Mathur Anurag | O.P. Jindal Global University (jgu.edu.in)

Varsha Mohan
Assistant Director

Varsha is a child of immigrant parents, who has made many countries her home over the years, but now finds comfort and belonging in experimenting and cooking food from around the world. She loves spending time with nature and expresses herself through acrylic on canvas or digital art. She buys more books than she can read! She enjoys autobiographical graphic novels, historical non-fiction, and literary fiction. Recently, she has found her way back to music, and hopes to rekindle her love for Hindustani classical vocals.

CLICK HERE FOR ACADEMIC PROFILE Prof. Varsha Mohan | O.P. Jindal Global University (jgu.edu.in)

Ajita Sharma
Senior Fellow
Project Lead- Human Rights and Climate Change Laws

Ajita loves strolling on the grass and occasionally basking in the winter sun with a paintbrush in her hand. She believes care has to be built into the (eco)systems so that she can live the life she imagines worth living. At the Centre for Human Rights Studies, she will be leading the project on human rights and climate change law.

CLICK HERE FOR ACADEMIC PROFILE Prof. Ajita Sharma | O.P. Jindal Global University (jgu.edu.in)

Senior Research Associate

Aishwarya is best described in four words: Chai, hormones, law, and poems. When not studying, she binge watches courtroom dramas and crime thrillers, while experimenting with new salads. An amateur poet, with a love for human rights, she is passionate about studying the use of language in framing legal discourse.

CLICK HERE FOR ACADEMIC PROFILE Aishwarya Pagedar | O.P. Jindal Global University (jgu.edu.in)

Senior Research Associate

Having lived between the Brazilian sultry tropical weather and the Canadian freezing cold, Alex is a vivid adventurer and an inquisitive human being. Navigating with his boat in the sea called life, Alex has made his stop in India where he is discovering new ways of thinking, new culture, and new knowledge. He strongly believes in the balance of mind, body, and soul through yoga, other physical activities, reading and (non)human relationships.


Senior Research Associate

Idris is a culinary enthusiast with a penchant for history and law. He is passionate about business and human rights. He is an adventurous traveller, cinephile, Urdu poetry aficionado, and a dedicated fan of Sheldon Cooper.


Senior Research Associate

Apart from his time spent teaching, researching and writing, Srinjoy is husband to a practicing lawyer – Neha and works for his cat – T2. When free from his obligations, Srinjoy enjoys reading fantasy-fiction, exploring maps, running medium distances, and the occasional long trek in the hills

CLICK HERE FOR ACADEMIC PROFILE Prof. Srinjoy Sarkar | O.P. Jindal Global University (jgu.edu.in)

Adwitia Maity
Research Associate

Adwitia is an avid reader, with her reading preferences ranging from labels on shampoo bottles to psychological thrillers. She loves listening to all kinds of music and is especially interested in indie music. She is also trained in Indian classical dance and music and is a self-taught digital artist. Though Adwitia relates to cats more than humans, she is infinitely passionate about human rights!

CLICK HERE FOR ACADEMIC PROFILE Ms. Adwita Maity | O.P. Jindal Global University (jgu.edu.in)

Ishan Vijay Avadhanam
Research Associate

Ishan’s interest primarily includes child rights and queer theory, in the broad field of human rights. Away from research, his time is spent enjoying football, podcasts, and horror movies. He loves to explore, and start new TV Shows without ever completing them


The Violence of Social Exclusion

Research within this cluster explores dimensions of international human rights law principles of non-discrimination and inclusion within the context of caste, class, gender, and ageism. While discrimination on grounds of caste, class, race, and gender have generated significant scholarship, discrimination and exclusion on grounds of ageism is a relatively new area of study from social and legal viewpoints in Asia. Exclusion of a group from basic economic, social, cultural rights forms the backbone of this area.

Human Rights of the Elderly:

Globally, ageing constitutes one of the most significant demographic transformations of the 21st century. Research under this project is undertaken with the objective of assessing the existing standards on human rights for older people under international law to examine the adequacy of these provisions, including those under soft law, in addressing contemporary concerns of the elderly in India. While considerable attention has been accorded to the human right concerns for the elderly under the UN Mechanisms in the last decade or so; including, inter alia the appointment of the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons, in the absence of a legally binding international law treaty addressing and articulating specific needs of the elderly and for setting international standards, states regularly violate and neglect the human rights of elderly. Critical areas of study at the CHRS focus on:

      • Right to Housing for the elderly
      • Gender and ageing
      • The Law and ageing
      • International Human Rights standards for the elderly

Manual Scavenging in India:

The legal discourse of customary practices helps ‘normalize’ and ‘naturalize’ caste-based division of labour by fixing the categories of clean and unclean bodies performing clean and unclean occupations. The practice of manual scavenging is grounded in the acceptance of the idea of the inevitability of caste-based labour. In 1993, India enacted the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act and in 2013 The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act. The laws recognize the practice of manual scavenging, which continues unabated in major parts of the country as ‘dehumanizing’. Implementation of the law is the subject matter of pending litigations at several High Courts and the Supreme Court of India. CHRS in collaboration with civil society organizations working towards the eradication of this dehumanizing practice focuses its work on:

      • Engagement with the law and its implementation. Research on the wide variety of practices that fall within the dimensions of manual scavenging
      • The practice of manual scavenging in India as a violation of international human rights law
      • The gendered dimensions of manual scavenging

Intimate Violence as a human rights violation:

Research within this cluster explores violence in private spaces within the context of the patriarchal structures and gendered power hierarchies in society that sustain private violence. Despite the enactment of laws such as The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005, provisions for criminalization of cruelty and dowry death (Section 498A and Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code respectively), violence on women in domestic spaces is trivialized, normalized, and tolerated by the survivors as well as the State and its functionaries. The overarching theme of this cluster is the study of the various ways in which violence manifests and adversely impacts the right to bodily integrity, physical and mental health, and dignity of the survivors. It also interrogates how far the laws and their implementation have been useful in addressing violence in intimate spaces.

A social -legal research study of domestic violence on women in select states in India will be conducted in collaboration with grassroots organizations and other stakeholders working in this area. The broad objective of the study is to assess the enforcement of laws addressing domestic violence, to understand gaps in implementation and identify best practices for intervention in working with domestic violence survivors.

Human Rights in Cyberspace

Information technology has created the internet which has become an indispensable facet of human life. While cyberspace has enabled easy access to resources and ensured better connectivity and the online space has emerged as a major platform to express, seek, receive, and impart information and ideas, it has posed several new challenges—burgeoning criminal activities such as hacking, data breach and cyber-bullying, raising human rights concerns relating to the right to privacy, non- discrimination in the digital media. Cyberspace also poses novel human rights challenges such as protection of digital rights of marginalized groups and online gender-based violence. These issues involve the delicate balancing of the rights to freedom of expression with protection against hate speech, misinformation, disinformation, obscenity and sexual abuse in cyberspace, often blurring the boundaries between protected and unprotected speech in online spaces. Exploring these complexities in cyberspace, CHRS focuses its work on:

  • Emerging forms of online harassment, such as cyber-bullying, cyber-sexism, cyber-homophobia, sexual harassment, as a violation of international human rights law.
  • Research on mechanisms to balance online freedom of speech and expression with its limitations in cyberspace.
  • Intersection of cyber-crimes and digital rights of vulnerable groups in online harassment.

‘Rights, Camera, Action’
 – The Human Rights Film Club

Centre for Human Rights Studies in collaboration with Jindal School of Journalism and Communication (JSJC) conducts a series of discussions around the representation of human rights on screen. The aim of the Club is to encourage student and faculty-led discussions around representations and conversations about human rights. It allows for a space to develop research-oriented critical perspectives around mainstream conversations in human rights across JGU.

The Film Club curates a fortnightly screening of movies and documentaries that center around diverse themes of human rights at the Performing Arts Academy at the JGU campus. Screening of the film is followed by open-house discussions around the film. On occasions filmmakers, directors, producers, cinematographers are invited to share their experiences in engaging with subjects of human rights violations during the ‘making’ of the film.

Call for papers for chapters in edited volume 

The Centre for Human Rights Studies, Jindal Global Law School invites Chapters (6,000- 8,000 words) for its upcoming edited volume on: ‘Violence in Intimate Spaces – The Law and Beyond.’


We invite Papers/Chapters from across disciplines and schools to contribute to this interdisciplinary book. The Paper/Chapter must respond to the broad thematic area discussed in the concept note. Chapters must be submitted on or before 31st May 2023. Please mail your chapter/paper to chrs@jgu.edu.in with the subject to the mail titled: Violence Publication.

Please find below the Concept Note for the book describing the broad theme to be covered by the volume.

Concept Note for edited volume

Violence in Intimate Spaces: Law and Beyond

The book will provide a textured understanding of intimate violence across the unlimited stretch of human relationships, institutions, and social structures. The overarching objective is to examine institutions through the lens of violence beyond disciplinary and topic boundaries from a range of methodologies. The volume will encourage reflections on the complexities of society and gender that enmesh violence and intimate relationships to examine the contexts within which violence operates as a dynamic tool for maintaining inequalities within society. What is this complex relationship between the perpetrator and the victim in private, intimate spaces that legitimizes violence? Courts and their judgements reflect the inflexible nature of institutions, focusing singularly on heterosexual marriages within rigid definitions of family, thus establishing the law’s limitations in addressing intimate relationships beyond normative familial units. What are the other dimensions of violence in intimate relationships? What role does violence play in preserving status quo and gendered hierarchies in society and its institutions? Who is vulnerable to violence and when? The volume proposes to cover academic silences around these conversations.

The narrative on violence foregrounded on toxic masculinity as a tool for perpetuating patriarchal institutions, generally centres around male violence against women. Are men the sole embodiments of violence? While most violence is perpetrated by men, who is the ‘real’ agent of violence, where does it emanate? Why is violence by men normalized? Chapters in this volume will examine state, society, and its institutions as the real ‘agents’ of violence. While men may be the primary ‘actors’ of violence, the recipients are not just women, but persons of all genders who are considered ‘inferior’ in society. The cis-heterosexual male who does not follow the norms set by society or refuses to exist within the institutions of marriage and family can also be vulnerable to violence. This volume foregrounds violence as a manifestation of ‘entitlement’ based on social hierarchies and examines its countless forms, in a variety of intimate ‘situationships’.

Indicative themes (not limited to):

  • Expansive definition of inter-personal violence
  • Violence in non- heterosexual intimate relationships
  • Dating violence among teenagers
  • Male victims of violence
  • Family violence on the elderly
  • Violence of motherhood
  • Forced marriage
  • Natal family violence and singlehood
  • Mental and emotional health dimensions of violence
  • Law’s silences on violence – critique of law and judicial interpretations
  • Legal interpretation of violence – for example, definition of cruelty in a marriage under Family Law
  • Violence and intersectionality
  • Violence on sex-workers in private spaces
  • Cyber bullying as a form of violence