Prof. Radhika Chitkara completed her B.A., LL.B.(Hons.) from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore in 2013, and obtained her LL.M. with a Concentration in International Human Rights at the Harvard Law School in 2017. She is a legal researcher and clinical practitioner in the areas of forest rights, women’s rights and conflict. She has an overall interest in methods of critical lawyering for change, which are able to mutually reinforce democratic struggles for justice, research, pedagogy and legal practice.
Her present research focuses on constitutional and human rights articulations of indigenous peoples’ rights to land, autonomy and self-determination. She has particularly written on the tensions produced by constitutional recognitions of differentiated autonomies for distinct regions and ethnic groups, in the overall operation of State sovereignty on land, territory and legal systems. Her article “Indigenous Peoples Rights to Land in India and Europe” in the upcoming volume on Dimensions of Constitutional Democracy – India and Germany, edited by Anupama Roy and Michael Becker and published by Springer, delves into a comparative analysis between norms recognition and State obligation under the European and Indian human rights systems. Her current research on “A Crisis of Sovereignty: Governance of Adivasi Land and Resources” is pending publication.
Her research is drawn from, and in turn influences, a clinical praxis of legal support to movements, lawyers, activists, victims of violations, and general civil society on issues of forest and human rights. As part of her continuing association with the Legal Resource Centre, a collective of lawyers, academics and activists working on forest rights, she works closely with lawyers in central Indian states to provide research and advisory support.
She has previously taught seminar courses on “Feminist Legal Theories and Praxis” at the National Law University, Delhi in 2017 and 2019, offering an introduction to feminist theories as approaches to change, and their use of law for transformation. The courses were targeted at those interested in the study and praxis of feminist struggles with theoretical tools for engaging with contemporary issues of sex and gender based inequalities, and to critically reflect on feminist methods of change-making. She has also been invited for guest lectures at law schools and universities across the country, and continues to be engaged in innovating pedagogies and developing curricula for legal instruction on critical lawyering and forest rights for law students and lawyers.
She has also published widely in international journals and participated in conferences on issues relating to women’s rights, family law and constitutional law.