K. K. Venugopal

Kottayan Katankot Venugopal (born 1931), known generally as K. K. Venugopal (personal name is Venugopal) is an Indian constitutional lawyer and a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India. On 30 June 2017, he was appointed as the Attorney General for India.


Early and personal life

Venugopal was born to a Nambiar family in Kanhangad, a town in the erstwhile South Canara district of Madras Presidency of British India (present-day Kerala, India), and grew up in Mangalore. Venugopal did his B.Sc in Physics from the prestigious Madras Christian CollegeChennai and law from Raja Lakhamgouda Law College, Belgaum. Venugopal has also studied at St. Aloysius College (Mangalore). His father, M. K. Nambiar, was a barrister. He had a traditional arranged marriage and is the father of three children: 1 daughter and 2 sons. He is a keen collector of antiquarian books and has a very fine collection of old books.



Venugopal served as President of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers) from 1996 to 1997.

Venugopal has appeared in many high-profile cases. Most significantly, he was appointed by the Royal Government of Bhutan to serve as the Constitutional adviser for drafting of the Constitution of Bhutan. On 30 June 2017, he was appointed as the Attorney General of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 88-year-old succeeded Mukul Rohatgi, who stepped down after the first term. Venugopal held the office of Additional Solicitor General in Morarji Desai’s Government. He has appeared in a variety of cases in the last 50 years. Venugopal was appointed as amicuscuriae to assist the Supreme Court in the high profile 2G spectrum case.

He also appeared for BJP leader L K Advani in the Demolition of the Babri Masjid case


In 2015, he was conferred Padma Vibhushan award by Government of India. This is the second-highest civilian honour in India. In 2002, he was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honour.

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Afroz Shah

Afroz Shah is environmental activist and lawyer from Mumbai. He is best known for organizing the world’s largest beach clean-up project, which has grown into a movement that has inspired people around the world to clean up their surrounding environment.

In 2016, Shah was named by the United Nations as a Champion of the Earth for leading the clean-up of Mumbai’s Versova Beach.

Shah partnered with the Dawoodi Bohra‘s Turning the Tide campaign to remove plastic from the Mithi river and Dana Pani beach in Mumbai.

Inspired by Afroz Shah’s effort to clean beaches in Mumbai, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) launched the Clean Seas campaign globally.

V. P. Seemandini

V.P. Seemandini is a designated Senior Advocate mainly practicing in Constitutional matters from 1976 in High Court of Kerala and Supreme Court of India.


Seemandini is currently serving as the President of Kerala Federation of Women Lawyers and was the President of All India Federation of Women Lawyers and founder member of the federation. Seemandini was born in Thrissur districtKeralaIndia. She enrolled as an advocate in 1976.She is mainly practicing in Constitutional matters. She is legal adviser to many of the educational institutions in Kerala and Bangalore. She was designated as the Senior Advocate of High Court of Kerala in 2006 . Seemandini is the secretary of Sree Narayana Sevika Samajam, a nursing home for the elderly and an orphanage and President of Sree Dharma Paripalana Yogam, Pachalam branch.

Posted in Law

Srikrishna Deva Rao

Professor Srikrishna Deva Rao is an Indian law professor. As of 2019, he is the Vice Chancellor at National Law University Odisha. He was previously a full professor and Registrar at National Law University, Delhi.



Rao gained a master’s degree in Law from Kakatiya UniversityWarangal, a Master of Philosophy in Law from National Law School of India UniversityBangalore and a PhD from Delhi University.


Rao has worked in legal education and research at National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Nalsar University of LawHyderabadGujarat National Law UniversityGandhinagar and National Law University, Delhi. Rao was also the founding Director of the School of Law at Indira Gandhi National Open UniversityNew Delhi.

He served on the UGC expert committee to transform legal education in India. He was a consultant to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Swedish Development Cooperation (SDC), Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Child Rights and You and Swedish National Science Foundation.


He has worked in the areas of criminal lawhuman rights, legal education and access to justice. He has also researched on “Mapping Media Policy and Law in India” at Jamia Millia Islamia 2011–12.


  • Indian Society of Criminology Award for Senior Social Scientist, Dr. Haikerwal and Prof. Sushil Chandra Award by ISC, Chennai, 2015
  • ICSSR Research Grant for project on “Exploring Changing Dynamics of Children’s laws in India in Post Liberalization Era” (2016–18)
  • Ford Foundation Research Fellow at Centre for Culture, Media and Governance (CCMG), Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (2011–12)

Selected publications

Initiatives at NLUO

At National Law University Odisha Rao has taken several initiatives to strengthen the teaching–learning process and research.

  • The NAAC Self Study Reportof NLUO mentions some of his initiatives at NLUO
  • The University has set up Community College in 2016 under the UGC Scheme to prepare “barefoot lawyers” to strengthen the justice delivery system in India.
  • The Project on Access to Justice is another initiative of the University supported by Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India and UNDP. Under this Project, the University has set up three village Legal Aid Clinics in Dompada village in Cuttack, Jankia in Khurda and Brahmagiri in Puri district. These Village Legal Aid Clinics are intended to improve access to justice in marginalised communities.
  • NLUO will have faculty exchange and joint research with globally reputed institutions.
  • An MOU with National Institute of Securities Markets(NISM) has been signed in November 2016. The MOU is designed to foster academics and research between the two institutes, thereby promoting capacity building in securities markets both in training and employment.
  • Another MoU has been signed between Competition Commission of India (CCI) and NLUO
  • NLUO has recently been accredited by NAAC at A Grade

Kirthi Jayakumar

Kirthi Jayakumar (born 15 December 1987) is an Indian women’s rights activist, a social entrepreneur, a peace activist, artist, lawyer and writer. She is a Commonwealth Scholar, a Vital Voices (VV) Lead Fellow, a VV Engage Fellow, a Local Pathways Fellow, and a World Pulse Impact Leader. Kirthi is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

She founded The Red Elephant Foundation, an initiative built on storytelling, civilian peace-building and activism for gender equality. She also founded The Gender Security Project, an initiative aimed at expanding the global understanding of gender at the policy, legal, and institutional levels. She is the author of Stories of Hope, a collection of short stories; The Dove’s Lament, also a collection of short stories and Doodlers of Dimashq – A Heart Wrenching Tale of Hope From Syria’s Rubble. She received the US Presidential Services Medal in 2011 and two United Nations’ Online Volunteering Awards in 2012 and 2013.



Kirthi was born as Kirthi Jayakumar in Bangalore, India, to Hindu parents. She studied Law at the School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

She earned her MA in Sustainable Peace in a Contemporary World from UPeaceCosta Rica, and an MA in Peace and conflict studies from the Centre for Trust, Peace, and Security at Coventry University, on a Commonwealth Scholarship. She has worked as a UN Online Volunteer.

Gender-based violence advocacy and peace activism

Kirthi is an activist on women’s rights issues and peace and conflict. She runs The Red Elephant Foundation. She has worked in voluntary capacities with “16 civil societies and UN agencies” through the UN Online Volunteering program. She is a columnist for the Deccan Chronicle/Asian Age.

Kirthi is a Global Youth Ambassador with A World at School run by Sarah Brown.[11][12]

Kirthi coded and created Saahas, a mobile app that supports survivors of gender-based violence world over to find support, and that facilitates active bystander intervention. Saahas was listed on the Global Innovation Exchange. The app received recognition from DEF India under the SM4E Awards. For her work with Saahas, Kirthi was listed on the shortlist for the WATC 100 Women in Tech List. Saahas supports access to information and helplines through a mobile app, Facebook Chatbot, and Telegram Chatbot.

In 2013, Kirthi founded her own initiative, The Red Elephant Foundation. She produced two e-Books on entrepreneurship in Africa with the AAE and headed a team that worked for the opening of the first ever school in Okoijorogu, Nigeria, a village that had never had a school for its children until 2013.


Kirthi is an artist, working on pen and ink to curate “Zen doodles.” She uses doodling as a means to express her activism for gender equality and peace education.

She runs an Instagram based project called Femcyclopaedia where she doodles portraits of inspiring women through the ages and from across the world and curates their stories under these portraits. The story of Femcyclopaedia won a Story Award from World Pulse in February 2017.

Kirthi curated an exhibit for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month at the US Consulate General in Chennai as part of Femcyclopaedia.


Stories of Hope is Kirthi’s first solo book, comprising a collection of short stories. She co-authored a book titled Love Me Mama: The Unfavoured Child, along with Elsie Ijorogu-Reed, the founder of Delta Women NGO. She is also the author of The Dove’s Lament, published by Readomania. The book was nominated for the Muse India Young Author’s Award in 2015. A review by Femina of The Dove’s Lament suggests that, “Kirthi embroiders a tapestry of unvanquished human spirit in words.”

The Times of India reviewed The Dove’s Lament, with its critic opining that “…The Dove’s Lament takes the reader to several such places with a compassion that shakes you to your very core.”


Kirthi wrote a play, Frankly Speaking, which, essentially starts off from where The Diary of Anne Frank ends. The play channels the voices of eight young women from conflict zones in different parts of the world, and is interspersed with passages from The Diary of Anne Frank.

She also wrote and acted in HerStory, which brings twelve women from history alive through poetry, performed through contemporary dance in sync with spoken word poetry. Kirthi wrote a monologue and performed it as part of Dolls, by Crea-Shakthi.

Kirthi also lent her voice to the audiobook version of “Like A Girl” by Aparna Jain, where she narrated the stories of Justice Leila SethMayawatiJayalalithaaDipa Karmakar, Shah Bano Begum, Tessy Thomas, and Gauri Sawant.

Awards and recognition

Kirthi is the recipient of the United States Presidential Service Award from US Consul General Jennifer McIntyre. She won the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. She received two United Nations Online Volunteering Awards, in 2012 and 2013, for her work with Delta Women and the Association for African Entrepreneurs.

In 2015, Kirthi was nominated for the Digital Women Awards 2015, presented by She The People TV.[

In March 2016, she was one of the EU top 200 Women in the World of Development Wall of Fame. She was also one of the nominated changemakers for the United State of Women 2016. She is a two-time story award winner with World Pulse, and her work has been picked up and published by Time Magazine.

Kirthi has been acknowledged by India Today as one of the “Game changers” in the city of Chennai, “who are transforming the city with inspiring thought and hard work.”

She was the youngest speaker to address a gathering at FICCI FLO, Chennai.

In September 2016, Kirthi was a shortlistee for the Rising Stars Award 2016 by We are the City India, which she went onto win. In October 2016, she was recognized as one of the “52 Feminists” by 52Feminists.com.

In October 2016, Kirthi was recognized as a Burgundy Achiever at the Digital Women Awards 2016, presented by She The People TV. She received the Peace Award from the Global Peace Initiative in November 2016. She was selected as an Impact Leader at World Pulse in November 2016. She won the Orange Flower Award for Video Blogging, awarded by Women’s Web. Kirthi was featured in Sarah Brown‘s Better Angels Podcast alongside UN Secretary General Antonio GuterresHarriet Lamb, and Jakaya Kikwete.

Kirthi was featured on Google’s WomenWill Landing page on International Women’s Day, 2017, as part of a five-women-stories feature by World Pulse. She was declared as one of “eleven of India’s feminist bloggers who are making a difference to women’s lives” by Women’s Web. She was featured on Show of Force: Social Good. She was awarded Outstanding Social Entrepreneur (NGO) of the Year, by FICCI FLO Chennai (2018) Kirthi received the Heroes of Chennai Award in the Social Good category in November 2018. She also served as a member of the youth council as part of the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education). She was nominated for the Better India’s COVID Soldiers award in September 2020, and the We are the City TechWomen100 Awards for Global Achievement.

List of awards received

  • US Presidential Services Medal (Gold, Silver and Bronze) 2011–2012
  • UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award (Delta Women) 2012
  • UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award (Association of African Entrepreneurs) 2012
  • UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award (Delta Women) 2013
  • UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award (Association of African Entrepreneurs) 2013
  • Finalist, Muse IndiaYoung Author’s Award in 2015
  • Rising Stars of India Award (We Are The City India) 2016
  • The Peace Award (Global Peace Initiative) 2016
  • Orange Flower Award for Video Blogging, Orange Flower Awards, (Women’s Web), 2016
  • Local Pathways Fellow (UN SDSN), 2017
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2017 (Brew Magazine)
  • Young Achiever (Entrepreneurship) MOP Yuva Samman (2017–2018)
  • Outstanding Social Entrepreneur (NGO) of the Year, FICCI FLO Chennai (2018)
  • Nominee, True Honour Awards, 2018
  • Outstanding Woman Achiever Award 2018, FICCI FLO, Jaipur (2018)
  • Vital Voices VV Engage Fellow (2018)
  • Heroes of Chennai – Social Good (Rising) (2018)
  • HerStory Woman on a Mission Award (March 2019)
  • Web Wonder Woman (Ministry of Women and Child Development, Twitter India and Breakthrough India) (March 2019)
  • CII-IWN Award for Unsung Heroes, March 2019
  • Best Feminist Voice, The Lifestyle Journal Awards, August 2019
  • The TIAW World of a Difference Award, October 2020



  • Game Changers: Untold Stories Of Indian Feminists From The Past And The Present(Hay House India, 2020)
  • The Doodler of Dimashq(Readomania, 2017)
  • The Dove’s Lament(Readomania, 2015)
  • Stories of Hope(Maitreya, 2013)


  • Mother of the Nations(Demeter Press, Contributor, 2015)
  • Routledge Handbook of South Asian Criminology(Routledge, Contributor, 2019)

Hekani Jakhalu

Hekani Jakhalu Kense (born after 1976) is an Indian lawyer and social entrepreneur. She set up the non-governmental organization YouthNet Nagaland to help the young people of Nagaland pursue business opportunities. She was recognised with the Nari Shakti Puraskar award in 2018.

Early life

Hekani Jakhalu was born in DimapurNagaland. She was educated at Bishop Cotton Girls’ School in Bengaluru and took a Bachelors degree in political science at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi. She then studied for a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Delhi and took a Master of Laws at the University of San Francisco.


After working in the United States, Jakhalu returned to Delhi and began a career as a lawyer. She was made a partner in the firm but having seen firsthand the number of young people from Nagaland migrating to Delhi, she decided in 2006 to move to Kohima (the capital of Nagaland) in order to set up a non-governmental organization (NGO) called YouthNet which aims to create more opportunities for the youth of Nagaland. As of 2018, YouthNet had 30 employees and claims to have helped 23,500 people. It aims to help entrepreneurs pursue their ideas and set up a “Made in Nagaland” centre in Kohima which sells their artisan goods. After running for two years, the “Made in Nagaland” centre opened an e-commerce platform in 2020.

In recognition of her work, Jakhalu received the Nari Shakti Puraskar award in 2018, which is India’s highest civilian award given only to women. She was the only person from the northeast of India to be honoured that year.

Posted in Law

Jaiprakashreddy Patil

Prof. J.S. Patil is a Professor of Law and currently the Vice-Chancellor of National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam. He was the Founder Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Law University, Hubli, 2009–12.


Early life and education

Jaiprakashreddy Sannabasanagouda Patil was born in an agriculturist family at ManviRaichur districtKarnataka. He qualified in law from Karnataka University, Dharwad in 1977, and pursued LL.M. from the University of Mysore, and earned his master’s degree in 1979. He received his Ph.D from Saurashtra UniversityRajkot in 1997.

Books and publications

  • Legal Regime of the Seabed, 1981, Deep & Deep Publications, New Delhi
  • Gramina Janate Mattu Kanunu, Prasaranga, Gulbarga University, Kalaburagi
  • Tulanatmaka Kanunu, 1995, Vidyanidhi Prakashana, Gadag
  • Mahile Mattu Kanunu, 1996, Prasaranga Gulbarga University, Kalaburagi
  • Nyaya Shastra Adhyayana, 1996 Ramashraya publications, Dharwad
  • Bhrata Sakshya Adhiniyama, 1996 Ramashraya Publications, Dharwad
  • Karnataka Bhu-Sudharane Adhiniyama, 1996, Ramashraya Publications, Dharwad
  • Karnataka Diwani Vyavaharanegala Niyamagalu, 1997, Ramashraya Publications, Dharwad
  • “Sri Gangadhar Namoshi”, a book published by the Government of Karnataka
  • Spirit of Human Rights, A Manual, 2005, published by National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi
  • Intellectual Property Rights, A Manual, 2005, published by Siddhartha Law College, Kalaburagi
Posted in Law

Lily Thomas

Lily Thomas (1927 – 10 December 2019) was an Indian lawyer who initiated improvement and change to existing laws by filing petitions in India‘s highest court and regional courts. Thomas’ petitions resulted in changes to laws to prevent convicted politicians getting elected, the addition of a new marriage law and protections for parliamentarians. Thomas was hailed most notably for petitioning to amend the Representation of the People Act.

Early life

Lily hailed from Kottayam and grew up in Trivandrum. She had joined Madras High Court in 1955, under which she studied the LLM course which was completed in 1959. Thomas belongs to the first generation of women lawyers in India and she was the first woman to complete the LLM course from Madras University.

After obtaining a law degree from Madras University, she started her practice in the Madras High Court. She was the first lady in India to qualify for an LLM degree. In 1960, she moved to Delhi to do a Ph.D but discovered that she was not really cut out for academia. “I realised that I was not competent to do research,” she admitted, “so I started practising in the Supreme Court”.


Thomas had joined the Supreme Court in 1960. She dropped out of doctorate in law after coming to Delhi and started working where her brother John Thomas was already practising. Lily filed petitions since 1964 on different issues such as the validity of ‘Advocate-on-Record Examination’,] sorting out issues of railway employees and case on conversion to Islam for the express purpose of entering into a second marriage in 2000. Thomas worked on constitutional law, women’s rights and issues of personal liberty. Lily was an advocate in ‘OLD LAWYERS CHAMBERS BLOCKS’.

In 2013, at the age of 85, she won a landmark judgement under which members of India’s Parliament and members of state legislative bodies, convicted of a crime or in jail, became ineligible to run for elections or hold an elected seat. Prior to this judgment, members of Parliament who were convicted but had filed an appeal could go about their regular business, including being elected and holding seats.

Lily Thomas, along with advocate Satya Narain Shukla had filed a Writ petition in the apex court in 2005, challenging a provision of the Representation of the People Act which protects convicted lawmakers against disqualification on the grounds of pendency of appeal against their conviction in the higher courts. On 10 July 2013, a bench of justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya held that, “The only question is about the vires of section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951 and we hold that it is ultra vires and that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction.”

Validity of “Advocate on Record” system

Lily was one of the first lawyers to file a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the ‘Advocate on Record’ system on 14 January 1964. Under this system, only those advocates who have passed the AOR exam are eligible to file petitions. Lily believed that ‘Section 30’ under Part IV of the Advocates Act mentions that all advocates have the right to practise in all courts including the Supreme Court in India and no restriction should be imposed for passing an exam and ‘Section 16’ differentiates lawyers into Advocates and Senior Advocates. The issue of AOR was challenged and debated multiple times, on 16 October 2015 the Supreme Court struck down NJAC meant to replace the AOR, as unconstitutional and upheld the collegium system.

Petition on Stopping Conversion for Bigamy

Lily had filed the petition in the Supreme Court on status of the earlier marriage regarding a case when a non-Muslim gets converted to the ‘Muslim’ faith without any real change or belief without divorcing first wife. The Court after hearing similar petitions declared the practice of remarrying as null and void unless the first marriage is dissolved. The Law Commission send the recommendation to the Law Ministry amending Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to stop the illegal practice.

Striking down Representation of the People Act


Lily along with Lucknow-based NGO Lok Prahari were the petitioners in the case when the Supreme Court had struck down Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to disqualify a legislator immediately when convicted for two or more years’ prison. When the UPA government had prepared an ordinance to nullify the judgment, Thomas made a review petition against the ordinance, the government had later withdrawn the ordinance route after severe criticism. She had got help from other experts, including Fali Nariman in the case. Lily’s petition was accepted the third time after successive rejections. The law had far reaching effect when influential politicians such as then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Rasheed Masood and Lalu Prasad were disqualified. The judgement is largely seen to cleanse politics from criminalization.

Other notable cases

  • Lily Thomas vs State Of Tamil Nadu.
  • Lily Thomas (Ms), Advocate vs Speaker, Lok Sabha And Ors.
  • Lily Thomas vs State Of Maharashtra And Ors.
  • Lily Thomas vs Union Of India (Uoi).

Personal life

Lily believed it is the responsibility of the lawyers to fight through petitions to improve the existing laws and having criminals as politicians is an insult to the parliamentary system. Thomas considered her father a hero. At an old age she went to the court every day and worked for 8–10 hours. Lily preferred reading Mills and Boon and having knowledge of Bible and Vishnu Sahasranam. She was a practising Syrian Christian.


Posted in Law

Kaleeswaram Raj

Kaleeswaram Raj is an Indian lawyer practising in the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Kerala. He has successfully argued for decriminalisation of the offence of adultery in India.

Legal career

Raj practices in the fields of civil, criminal and constitutional law. There are about five hundred reported judgments on which he is counsel of record. Before the Supreme Court of India, in Joseph Shine v Union of India, he appeared as the lead counsel for the petitioner. In that case, the top court of India struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised adultery, as unconstitutional.

He also appeared before the Supreme Court of India in the Government advertisements case (2015), Kerala Liquor Policy case and National Highway liquor ban case (2017). He was appointed as Amicus curiae in various cases.  He appeared for the victims of the endosulfan tragedy in the Kasargod district in Kerala. In that case the Supreme Court of India directed the Kerala government to pay compensation to the child victims.


Raj has written articles appeared in leading newspapers in India, including The HinduThe New Indian ExpressThe Times of IndiaDeccan Herald and The Statesman, as well as journals such as Economic and Political WeeklyFrontline and Mainstream Weekly. He has also written in the law journals.

His published works in English include “Commentaries on Marumakkathayam law”,[16] (1995, along with Ms. K.P. Suchitra) “The Spirit of Law” (2012) and “Rethinking Judicial Reforms: Reflections on Indian Legal System” ( 2017).

Posted in Law

Pradeep Rai

Pradeep Rai is a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. Rai is the president of the India Legal Research Foundation (ILRF) and member of Supreme Court Bar Association of India.

Education and career

Pradeep was born in Kushinagar. He received an LLB degree from Banaras Hindu University, and an L.L.D (Honorary) from Invertis UniversityBareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India. He is ex-Director of the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), a statutory agency under the aegis of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. He is also the President of Society for Human Rights and Civil Liberties (SHRCL). Rai was designated as senior advocate under provisions of Section 16(2) of the Advocates Act. In 2018 he founded national news channel APN Live. Rai founded an e-library of data books of Supreme Court of India which he later donated to Banaras Hindu University.. Rai also travelled and lived in both The United States as well as the United kingdom for a while.

Notable cases

Pradeep Rai represented many notable politicians, actors and Government organizations of India.


Posted in Law