Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

TISS Patna Lecture Series on Justice, Lecture 4


Venue: College of Commerce, Kankarbagh, Patna - 20

Title: Ideas of Justice for a Democratic Future: Cascades of the Right to Privacy in India

Speaker: Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad



The right to privacy was declared as a fundamental right under the constitution of India by a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in August this year.  I will attempt in this lecture to work to de-code the right to privacy judgment and its implications for re-negotiating our paths to democratic futures even as we combat a virulent, violent, post truth right wing political moment in the country.  In fact, this judgment is significant precisely because it provides a counter to that political moment – and must be understood in relation to its location in this moment.  The resurrection of older memories of older forms or moments of authoritarian rule serve to signpost the criticality of the pervasiveness of emergency powers and impunity in statecraft.  What is the place of dissent, dignity, speech, life and liberty in the contemporary Indian imaginaries of justice?  What do these ideas mean and what are their genealogies?  And what does this recovery signify for our collective future?

About the Speaker

Prof. Kalpana Kannabiran is currently Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad. In the past two and a half decades, she has researched and written in the areas of sociology of law, social movements, gender studies, disability studies and jurisprudence – especially focusing non-discrimination and criminal law.  Trained as a sociologist and as a lawyer, she has combined research, teaching, activism, pro bono socio-legal counseling and rights advocacy in her work. Some of her published works include Tools of Justice: Non-Discrimination and the Indian Constitution; Re-Presenting Feminist Methodologies: Interdisciplinary Explorations (co-authored); Violence of Normal Times: Essays on Women’s Lived Realities (ed.); Women and Law: Critical Feminist Perspectives (co-edited); and Challenging the Rule(s) of Law: Colonialism, Criminology and Human Rights in India (co-edited). She was the recipient of the Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists in 2012.  She has been a member of the Expert Group on the Equal Opportunities Commission, Government of India and a General Secretary of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies. She is currently Member of the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association, 2014-18.

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