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Arundhati Katju  

Lawyer & LGBTQ Rights Advocate; Helped Overturn Anti-LGBT Laws

Arundhati Katju is an Indian lawyer with over thirteen years’ experience in Indian trial and appellate courts. Her work encompasses a broad array of practice areas, including white collar defense, legal aid, and LGBT rights litigation. Arundhati successfully represented the lead petitioners in the Indian Supreme Court’s historic judgment in Navtej Singh Johar and others v Union of India, where the Court struck down India’s 157-year-old sodomy law and upheld the rights of LGBT Indians to equality and dignity.

The ruling has already made a difference to LGBT Indians: Lower courts now cite the ruling to send local police—who previously were using the penal code to keep same-sex couples apart—to protect gay citizens from intimidation from their families or communities.

Heading her own law offices since 2011, Arundhati has a robust white collar defence and commercial litigation practice. She regularly acts as a barrister for leading Indian law firms, having represented clients in India, Germany, Singapore and the US on corruption, and defence procurement cases. She has advised India’s leading public university, prosecuted pollution complaints on behalf of the State pollution regulator and been appointed amicus curiae to assist the Delhi High Court on numerous occasions.

Arundhati was also a public defender with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee, India’s top legal aid program, for over three years. In this role, she argued nearly 100 appellate cases before the Delhi High Court. Her pro bono work includes representing child sexual abuse survivors in cases against their abusers.

Arundhati holds a BA LLB (Hons.) degree from the National Law School of India University, and an LLM from Columbia Law School, where she was a Human Rights Fellow, James Kent Scholar, and Public Interest Honoree. She has taught white collar crime law at the National Law University, Delhi, and worked with India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to draft the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Her doctoral project, “From Criminal Tribe to Sexual Citizen: Creating Identities through Colonial Law, Constitutional Rights, and Global Human Rights Movements” focusses on the genealogy of sexual, criminal and constitutional identities in South Asia through the colonial, independence, and post-liberalization periods. Her research sheds light on the history of sexual and gender regulation in South Asia in order to better develop strategies for future LGBT rights challenges in the region.

Arundhati is a yoga teacher and practitioner in the lineage of Sh. TKV Desikachar, and has taught yoga in New Delhi and New York.

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