Meet Our New Academic Fellows! 2023-25
July 25, 2023
NLSIU is excited to welcome its second cohort of the Academic Fellowship programme for 2023-25!
The University’s Fellowship programme allows Fellows to (i) assist NLSIU faculty on research projects and policy interventions, and (ii) support faculty in the delivery of both on-campus and off-campus academic programmes.
Our nine Academic Fellows come from varied backgrounds with a wide range of academic and intellectual interests. We asked them to share more about their work and interests. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Aditi Rai
Aditi is a development professional with experience in rural grassroots. Prior to joining NLSIU, she worked in remote tribal blocks of rural Chhattisgarh towards building sustainable women collectives, creating livelihood prototypes, collective social action and PRI strengthening. She graduated with a Bachelors in Philosophy from University of Delhi and has a Master’s degree in Social Work specialising in ‘Community Organisation and Development Practice’ from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.
Areas of interest: Deriving from my previous work engagement, I have a keen interest in understanding and engaging in public policy and governance from a gender lens. I also am interested in tribal practices and their representations.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: I had been contemplating a shift towards academia and research for a while. The fellowship provides right mix of teaching and research which will help me further refine my area of interest. The fellowship also opens windows of opportunities in exploring my themes of interest before pursuing further education.
Focus area at NLSIU: At present, I am primarily engaged with the Master’s Programme in Public Policy of
2. Apoorv Kumar Chaudhary
Apoorv is currently a PhD Scholar at NLSIU, working under the supervision of Dr. Arul George Scaria. His thesis aims at exploring different contours of criminal enforcement of copyright in India. After graduating from NUALS, Kochi, Apoorv pursued his LLM from Cochin University of Science and Technology with a specialization in IPR. Following this, he joined the Centre for Innovation, Intellectual Property and Competition Law where he worked on Open Source textbooks on IP and Competition Law. Here, he was also involved in developing the curriculum and teaching students of the LLM professional programme.
Areas of interest: My interests primarily lies in examining the interaction between law, technology and society. I got interested in IP after a field trip to Kadamakudy village which aimed at studying the socio-economic impact of getting a Geographical Indication (Pokkali Rice). The finding that the GI was of little significance to the proprietors because of large scale infringement and poor enforcement prompted me to delve further into the world of IP. I have undertaken various online courses like CopyrightX by Harvard University, NPTEL course on Patent Drafting and WIPO online courses on ‘Intellectual Property and Right to Health’ and ‘Software Licensing’.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: While my previous workplace had given me a holistic understanding of IP and Competition law, the Academic Fellowship programme provides an opportunity to broaden my horizons by prompting an engagement with a more diverse subject matter. Moreover, the fellowship will also be helpful in developing my skills in teaching, as I plan to join academia in the future.
Focus area at NLSIU: At present, I am involved with teaching ‘Reading Judgement and statutes‘ course to the first-year MPP students. I will also be assisting in delivering the Post Graduate Diploma course on Intellectual Property Rights.
3. Debaranjan Goswami
Debaranjan completed his law degree from National Law University, Delhi in 2019. He has previously worked as a Legal Manager with ICICI Bank before transitioning as an independent litigator, focusing on civil commercial litigation. He completed his master’s degree in commercial law from the Melbourne Law School in 2023.
Areas of interest: My areas of interest include insolvency and restructuring, financial regulation, contract law and arbitration.
Focus area at NLSIU: At present, I am teaching a course on Regulatory Governance. I am also working with the Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) department on banking laws.
4. Ishita Ghosh
Ishita completed her undergraduate degree from Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, with a focus on International Law. She completed her LLM in Law and Technology from WBNUJS, Kolkata, with a focus on developing guiding principles for the development and deployment of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems under International Humanitarian Law. She has previously worked as an in-house counsel, and thereafter as a Law Clerk at the Calcutta High Court, under Justice Rajasekhar Mantha, on primarily writ and criminal matters.
Prior to joining NLSIU, she worked as a Research Assistant at Jindal Global Law School on a project covering Health Insurance Discrimination in India under the Thakur Foundation Grant; with GNLU, Gandhinagar on a project measuring the Gaps and the Impact of Women-Centred Criminal laws in India; and with the Centre for Media and Entertainment Law at WBNUJS on a Project on Media Malpractice in India. She has also been closely associated with IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access), the Charitable Trust started by Prof. Shamnad Basheer.
Areas of interest: International Law, Human Rights, Technology and Critical Legal Theory; I am especially passionate about Third World and Marginalised Approaches to Legal Theory.
Outside of work, I love watching movies, and especially noir, thrillers and nature documentaries. I am also a foodie, and love experimenting with different cuisines. I am addicted to watching Nat Geo and often binge on air crash investigations. I thrive on evening walks and sunsets.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: I have always harboured a love for learning, teaching, and for deep engagements with ideas. Previously, I have worked as a Teaching Assistant for Prof. Michael C.Davis at Jindal Global University; and for Prof. Vijay Kishore Tiwari at WBNUJS. I have thoroughly enjoyed both experiences as they have shown me how much I enjoy reading and deliberating with ideas, both old and new. I especially enjoy the thrill that students get when they finally grasp a complex idea, principle or provision. I believe that NLSIU is an exciting place to be at the moment, and serves as the melting pot for a diversity of ideas from the best legal scholars across the country. I am invested in pursuing a career in academia, and hope to get a holistic sense academic life before I take the plunge. I like being a specialised generalist and am always interested in discovering more about how novel fields work.
Focus area at NLSIU: I am currently assisting Prof. N S Nigam with his course on jurisprudence for undergraduate students, and will be working with the PACE department on the PG Diploma in Human Rights Law. In the future, I would like to also work on issues related to Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights, alongside Legal Theory, and Law and Marginalisation.
5. Kiran Suryanarayana
Kiran Suryanarayana completed his schooling from Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and obtained his BA LLB (Hons) degree from School of Law, Christ University in 2020. He further completed a post graduate diploma in Liberal Studies, as a Young India Fellow from Ashoka University in 2021. He recently graduated from UCLA with an LLM and a dual specialization in Constitutional, International and Comparative Law.
Areas of interest: Presently, my main research interest pertains to the question of regulating political parties through the Constitution in democratic systems. I am fascinated by the intersection of Constitutional Law and International law, particularly regarding questions like the use of constitutions to bolster the effectiveness of international legal rules; and the impact of colonial legal architecture on such rules.
Outside of work, I love food, especially trying interesting dishes and learning about how it’s embedded into our cultural landscape.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: I applied for the fellowship because I wanted to pursue interesting research questions under some of the best legal academics in the country.
Focus area at NLSIU: Currently, I am working under Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Ms. Nanditta Batra on a project about locating Public Health in the Indian Constitution.
6. Rongeet Poddar
Rongeet holds a a B.A., LL.B (Hons.), and an LLM in International and Comparative Law from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (WBNUJS). He has recently joined the Ph.D. programme at WBNUJS. He had a short stint in the industry as a corporate lawyer at Argus Partners, Mumbai. After obtaining his LLM degree and clearing the UGC-NET examination in 2022, Rongeet briefly worked at Sister Nivedita University, Kolkata as an Assistant Professor of Law.
Areas of Interest: My areas of interest include critical approaches to International Law, particularly the Third World and post-colonial prisms. I also have an inclination towards International Human Rights Law and International Refugee Law.
Outside of work, I enjoy following football, socio-political satire and honing my culinary skills.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: The Academic Fellowship programme offers me an enriching opportunity to work closely with esteemed faculty members from the legal and social sciences fraternity. I see the fellowship as a learning curve that will foster my critical thinking skills and exhort me to challenge my limitations in pursuit of my teaching and research goals.
Focus area at NLSIU: As of now, my focus area is to assist in the delivery of academic courses taught on campus alongside working with the Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) department.
7. Shivani Pegatraju
Shivani is a lawyer and a literature graduate interested in studying the intersections of law, literature, and politics. On completing a B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from O.P. Jindal Global University, she litigated at the High Court and trial/civil courts in Bangalore, working on criminal, commercial, and public interest litigations. She also holds a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from SOAS, University of London, where her dissertation was declared the runner up for the BASAS (British Association for South Asian Studies) Master’s Dissertation Prize 2023.
Areas of interest: My areas of interest are criminal law, legal history, South Asian literature(s), and feminist theory and jurisprudence.
Outside of work, I enjoy travelling and reading fiction.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: I applied for the programme as it provided an ideal space for me to move from law practice to academia. I was keen on NLSIU as this is one of the few universities which allows me to combine my academic interests within the law and beyond it in the social sciences and humanities. As I intend to pursue a PhD in the future, this fellowship is a valuable opportunity to engage and work with some of the best faculty in the law and social sciences at NLSIU.
Focus area at NLSIU: I am currently working with the Writing Centre at NLSIU which is an exciting initiative focused on helping students develop and strengthen the foundational skills of academic reading and writing that are essential for a successful engagement with any discipline.
8. Varada Balachandran
Varada completed BA LL B (Hons.) from the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi, with gold medals for overall academic performance in the programme, and in the subjects of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Administrative Law. She also has a PG Diploma in Cyber Law and Cyber Forensics from NLSIU, Bengaluru, and an LLM from the University of Melbourne in 2022 as an Alex Chernov Scholar. During this time, she also worked as a research staff in the University of Melbourne’s Academic Research Office.
Varada has litigation experience of over four years. She began her career as an Associate at Wadia Ghandy & Co., Mumbai where she was engaged in arbitration and litigation matters for two years. Thereafter, she assisted the former State Attorney of Kerala, Mr. K V Sohan as his Research Assistant for another two years. After her LLM, she resumed her work as an advocate in the High Court of Kerala for a brief stint before turning to academia. She cleared the UGC NET in 2022 and has worked as Guest Faculty at NUALS, Kochi where she taught Insurance Law and Banking Law.
Areas of interest: Human rights, women and child rights; but I will be focused more on Labour Law, Professional Ethics, Medical Law and Ethics at NLSIU.
Outside of work, I find myself drawn towards music, poetry and recreational cooking.
Why I applied for the academic fellowship programme: I applied for the programme shortly after completing my LLM as I felt it would give the required direction to my academic career. From a professional perspective, I am thrilled about the opportunity available to academic fellows at NLSIU to collaborate with and assist the faculty on research work and publications. I am also excited about the teaching opportunities and the potential interactions with faculty and students. From a personal perspective, the job would enable me to seek guidance and learn from some of the best academicians in the country, and in the company of motivated peers.
Focus area at NLSIU: I am currently assisting Associate Professor Dr. Saurabh Bhattarcharjee in the ‘Labour Law-I’ course for fourth year students of the BA LLB (Hons) programme. I am also involved in teaching the Professional Ethics module for a Bridge Course student. Apart from this, I am engaged in the PG Diploma programme for Medical Law and Ethics offered by the PACE department.
9. Vidya Subramanian
Vidya was a researcher at NLU Delhi on an interdisciplinary project (under an MoU between IIT-Delhi and NLU-Delhi). The project aimed at developing a framework for potential algorithmic bias with a specific lens on legal applications within the Indian context. She was a practising advocate in Delhi for two years, before deciding to venture into academics. She has a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Delhi and an LL.M (Business Laws) from NLU Delhi where she secured a gold medal for Competition Law. Prior to this, she worked as a Cisco firewall engineer for three years having obtained a B. Tech degree from Pondicherry University.
Areas of interest: My areas of interest are tech policy and competition law.
Why I applied for the fellowship programme: I was fascinated by the opportunity that this fellowship position presents – to work with leading scholars in the field and contribute to research on themes and issues that are contemporarily relevant. I am particularly excited about the teaching prospects that this role offers. As an aspiring research scholar, with a background in tech and an advanced degree in law, this programme shall aid in honing my research skills and equip me with the necessary expertise required to elevate my knowledge base in the conduct of interdisciplinary study.
Focus area at NLSIU: Currently, I am co-teaching the core course – Reading Judgments and Statutes, for first year students of the Master’s Programme in Public Policy (MPP).