Roots Resource is a collaborative platform where lawyers and other experts across the country working with vulnerable litigants, can share their research with each other, discuss strategies to improve outcomes in cases, and find solidarity within the larger community of lawyers working to strengthen access to justice.
The Resource has been developed with the guidance of trial lawyers working in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana, who regularly represent marginalized individuals and communities.
While appellate lawyers and appellate court judgments are almost constantly in the public imagination, trial lawyering is often not given the recognition or the support it warrants, despite being the foundation of several social justice struggles.
Trial lawyers are the “Roots” in our pursuit of equal access to justice. This is a Resource to support them as they do important, groundbreaking work that keeps the Rule of Law alive.
Swathi is a lawyer based in New Delhi. She specializes in IP law and has been counsel in several landmark IP judgments. Swathi is an alumna of NALSAR (2005) and Columbia Law School (2010). In 2011, she co-founded iProbono India and set up its access to justice/litigation program, which she led until 2019.
Justice Lokur retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India in December 2018. He holds a degree in law from Delhi University in 1977. He was appointed as Additional Solicitor General in 1998, and as judge of the Delhi High Court in 1999. He served as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court in 2009 and Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2011. He was appointed judge of the Supreme Court in June 2012 and retired in December 2018. He was appointed as judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji in January 2019 and took oath of office in August 2019.
Kalpana Kannabiran is Professor of Sociology and Regional Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, an autonomous research institute. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and an LLM in Jurisprudence from Osmania University. Recipient of the Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists for her work in the discipline of Law in its inaugural year, 2012, Kalpana was awarded the VKRV Rao Prize for Social Science Research in the field of Social Aspects of Law by the ICSSR in 2003. Her work has focussed on understanding the social foundations of non-discrimination, structural violence, and questions of constitutionalism and social justice in India – with a specific focus on gender, sexual minorities, caste, adivasi/indigenous rights and disability rights. Some of her books are Tools of Justice: Non Discrimination and the Indian Constitution, Routledge, New Delhi, 2012; Violence Studies [editor], Oxford University Press, 2016; India Social Development Report: Disability Rights Perspectives, [co-editor] Oxford University Press, 2017; Telangana Social Development Report [co-editor], CSD: Hyderabad, 2017; Re-Presenting Feminist Methodologies: Interdisciplinary Explorations [co-editor] Routledge, 2017.
Seema is a lawyer in Delhi, with over three decades of experience in legal empowerment work. She has been in active practice since 2009. She is currently on the panel of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, and has been assigned the special POCSO courts and the fast-track courts for sexual offences in the South District. She is a Trustee of AALI Lucknow. She has been a consultant to the UNDP on access to justice projects, and to Amnesty International, during which time she designed and facilitated training programmes on the criminal justice system for Judges and Magistrates from the City and District levels, in West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. She has also been a consultant to the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, on forced evictions. She is the author of various publications in the field of human rights and access to justice.
Geeta is an advocate who has nearly 40 years of experience, and practices in Chennai in the area of criminal law, family law and civil law. She has worked extensively with women and children and has represented women living with HIV/AIDS, survivors of custodial violence, women and children who are survivors of sexual violence, undertrial prisoners, juvenile children and minority groups that face discrimination. She has been a Special Public Prosecutor for the CBI for fifteen years. She is a Heinz Fellow from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. She is also an Eisenhower fellow on Human rights, public Interest Litigation and Justice. She has been a guest faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Criminology University of Madras and in Central University of Hyderabad. Currently she is an adjunct faculty at Asian College of Journalism, Chennai where she teaches a course on Media, Law and Society. She has various publications to her name, including a book on “Child and the Law” which she co-authored.
- Hon’ble Mr Justice J R Midha, Delhi High Court
- Nitika Khaitan, Advocate
- Naveen Nagarjuna, Advocate
- Surya Rajappan, Advocate
- Siddharth Satija, Advocate
- Abhinav Sekhri, Advocate
- Sowjhanya Shankaran, Advocate
- Subhoshree Sil, Advocate
- Kushank Sindhu, Advocate
- Saurabh Bhattacharjee, Centre for Labour Laws and Livelihood
- Ankita Goswami, iProbono
- Priya Watwani, iProbono
- Shohini Banerjee, Gender and Development Consultant, formerly iProbono
- Saurabh Malik, University of Toronto, formerly iProbono
- Dr Mrinal Satish, National Law University, Delhi
- Shreya Shree, Independent Legal Researcher
- Piyush Tewari, SaveLife Foundation
- Karuna Raina, SaveLife Foundation
- Gangotri Nath Hazarika, SaveLife Foundation
- Chambers of Siddharth Aggarwal
Developed in consultation with
- Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI), Lucknow
- Centre for Labour Laws and Livelihood, NUJS, Kolkata
- SaveLife Foundation, New Delhi
- Jan Sahas Social Development Society, New Delhi
- National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, New Delhi
Special thanks to
- Dr Arudra Burra
- Vasant Niranjan Burra