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School of Law, Governance and Citizenship
Saumya Uma

Dr. Saumya Uma

Assistant Professor


Assistant Professor , School of Law, Governance and Citizenship


  • PhD (ongoing), 'Victim and Witness Protection in Cases of Gender Based Violence - A Proposed Legal Framework', National Law School of India University 
  • LLM, International Human Rights, University of Nottingham 
  • LLM, Family Law & Human Rights, Department of Law, University of Mumbai 
  • B.A. LLB (Hons), National Law School of India University

Past Experience

  • Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai 2016-2017
  • National Law School of India University 2015-16
  • Independent Research Consultant 2010-15
  • Women's Research & Action Group 2002-2010
  • Socio Legal Information Centre / India Centre for Human Rights and Law 2000-2001
  • Law practitioner in the courts of Mumbai and Thane in Maharashtra 1994-98
  • Majlis legal centre for women 1994-98


Ms. Uma has 23 years of work experience as a lawyer, law researcher, writer, campaigner, trainer and activist on gender, law and human rights. She has delivered guest lectures in universities and institutions, addressing students from varied disciplines such as law, political science, social work, human rights, victimology, criminology and media studies. She has conducted numerous information dissemination and perspective-building programmes for lawyers, police, judges, social activists, media personnel, academics, women and youth on issues pertaining to gender, human rights and the law. Her legal practice was focused on socio-legal issues pertaining to women's rights

My Zone / Area of Expertise

Areas of research interest:  Human rights law; family law; international criminal law; humanitarian law; laws related to women's rights; mass crimes and impunity; victimology & victims' rights within the criminal justice system; witness protection; cyber crimes and the law; freedom of religion; clinical legal education; engagement of the women's movement with the law; gender justice, conflict, militarism and peace. 

Ms. Uma has worked as a research consultant with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). Additionally she has been a lead researcher in several research projects commissioned to her at the national and state levels. 

Her research is inextricably linked to advocacy efforts at law reform. She spearheaded ICC-India: the Indian campaign on International Criminal Court, which was a national level campaign against mass crimes and impunity, advocating for domestic law reform for mass crimes, based on international standards. She was the founder and national coordinator of the campaign in the years 2002 to 2010. She held two consultations with Parliamentarians across all parties, and from both Houses, in the Indian Parliament. She also organized and addressed numerous workshops, conferences and seminars to create awareness around international legal standards on mass crimes.

 Ms. Uma was nominated by the Government of India to the National Advisory Council's Advisory Committee of the Working Group on Communal Violence Bill. She worked with others (government o?cials and civil society members) towards drafting a Communal Violence Bill in 2010-12. She made a submission to the Justice Verma Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, appointed by the Government of India, in 2013, and made a written and oral submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, during her country visit to India in April 2013.


  • Recipient of the British Chevening scholarship for Human Rights 1998-99, awarded by the Foreign and Commonwealth O?ce, Government of U.K.
  • Recipient of fellowship from Institute for Peace Studies and Con?ict Resolution, Mumbai in 2011
  • Recipient of 'Fearless Woman' award on the occasion of International Women's Day, awarded by the Wockhardt hospital, Mumbai in 2017
  • Life member, Indian Association of Women's Studies
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Women's Research and Action Group
  • Member of General Body, Indo-Global Social Service Society
  • Core Member of Women's Regional Network - Afghanistan, Pakistan and India
  • Founder member, Mumbai Initiative for Human Rights Education



1. Of Broken Bangles and Torn Clothes: Rape and the Criminal Justice System in Odisha, Bhubaneswar: National Alliance of Women’s Organizations – Odisha Chapter (forthcoming)

2. An Introspection of Justice Initiatives for the Kandhamal Violence 2008-2015 (co-authored with Vrinda Grover), New Delhi: Media House, 2017 (ISBN No. 978-93-7495-674-8)

3. Breathing Life into the Constitution: Human Rights Lawyering in India (co-authored with Arvind Narrain), Bengaluru: Alternative Law Forum, 2017

4. From Responsibilities to Results: Functioning of the Odisha State Commission for Women – A Study, Bhubaneswar: Centre for the Sustainable Use of Natural and Social Resources, 2015

5. Social Security Legislations in India, Bengaluru: Department of Distance Education, National Law School of India University, 2015 (ISBN No. 978-93-83363-34-6)

6. Breaking the Shackled Silence: Unheard Voices of Women from Kandhamal, Bhubaneswar: National Alliance of Women – Odisha chapter, 2014

7. Rights of Adolescent Girls in India: A Critical Look at Laws and Policies, Mumbai: Vacha, 2012

8. Kandhamal: The Law Must Change its Course, edited by Vrinda Grover, New Delhi: Multiple Action Research Group, 2010. (ISBN No. 978-81-87377-19-1)

9. Addressing Domestic Violence Through the Law: A Guide to The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, edited by Vrinda Grover, New Delhi: Multiple Action Research Group, 2010 (ISBN No. 978-81-87377-19-1)

10. ‘Supreme Court Speaks: Judgments on Muslim Law and Women’s Rights’, Mumbai: Women’s Research & Action Group, 2007

11. 'International Criminal Court & India: Responses to Queries Raised by Parliamentarians', Mumbai: Women's Research & Action Group and People’s Watch, 2005

12. 'International Criminal Court & India: Some Questions & Answers', Mumbai: Women's Research & Action Group, 2004


1. Remembering Mukul Sinha 1951-2014(co-edited with Arvind Narrain), Bengaluru: Alternative Law Forum, 2015

2. Pursuing Elusive Justice: Mass Crimes in India & the Relevance of International Standards, (co-edited with Vahida Nainar), New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013 (ISBN No. 978-0-19-807999-6)

3. Unpackaging Human Rights: Concepts, Campaigns & Concerns, Mumbai: Women’s Research & Action Group and Documentation, Research and Training Centre, 2009


1. ‘A Beacon of Hope: Reflections on Engagements of Women’s Rights Activists with the Communal Violence Bill’ in Poonam Kathuria and Abha Bhaiya (eds), Indian Feminisms, New Delhi: Zubaan Publications (forthcoming)

2. Atrocities and Discrimination Against Dalits: A Critical Examination of the Response of the Law’, in Ramesh Jare and Sampath Kale (eds.), Caste in Modern India: Atrocities Against Dalits, New Delhi: Studium Press Pvt Ltd. (forthcoming)

3. Women’s Access to Places of Religious Worship in India: The Constitutional Conundrum of Gender Equality versus Freedom of Religion, in International Journal of Law, Human Rights & Constitutional Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1 & 2 (2017)

4. Outlawing Cyber Crimes Against Women, in Bharati Law Review, Vol. V, Issue 4 (Special Issue on Cyber Law), April-June 2017 (ISSN No. 2278-6996)

5. 'Shifting Sands: Collaborative Teaching as a Legal Pedagogy', in South Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 4, June 2017 (ISSN:2349-7858)

6. ‘Secularism and the Indian Constitution: Some Jurisprudential Aspects’, in International Journal of Law and Interdisciplinary Research, December 12, 2016

7. ‘Whither Peace? A Discussion on Violence, Impunity and 1325 in the Light of Communal Violence’, (co-authored with Ila Pathak), in Asha Hans and Swarna Rajagopalan (eds.), Openings for Peace, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2016, pp. 199-245(ISBN No. 978-93-859-8566-9)

8. ‘Reparative Justice for Violence Against Women: A Comparative Study of State Schemes for Victim Compensation’, (co-authored with Manisha Band), in Prof. (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal, Prof. (Dr.) G.I.S. Sandhu, Dr. Upneet Lalli and Dr. Shilpa Jain, Victim Compensation and Restorative Justice, Patiala: Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, 2016, pp. 84-97 (ISBN No. 978-93-84166-11-3)

9. ‘Affirmative Action in the Private Sector: Need for a Multi-Pronged and Holistic Approach’, National Law University Assam (NLUA) Law and Policy Review, Volume 1, Number 1, 2015, pp. 7-17

10. ‘Access to Justice for Women: From Obligations to Outcomes’, National Law University Odisha (NLUO) Law Journal – Special Issue on ‘Access to Justice’, Vol. II, Issue 1,August 2015, pp. 116-134 (ISSN No. 2348-8913)

11. ‘Witness Protection is the Need of the Hour’, In Law Magazine, Issue No. 1, Vol. 03, , (March 2015), Bengaluru: National Law School of India University, pp. 12-16 (ISSN No. 2349-624X)

12. (Co-authored with Arvind Narrain), ‘Honouring Mukul Sinha: The Struggle of Memory Againtst Forgetting’, available at

13. ‘Supreme Court Verdict on Adoptions Is a Turning Point’, Kashmir Times, 6 May 2014

14. Aftermath of Muzaffarnagar Riots: Women Bear the Brunt, Kashmir Times, 17 March 2014

15. Learning document on Single Women’s Land Rights in Gujarat, published by the Working Group on Women and Land Ownership (WGWLO), available at, 2014

16. Muzaffarnagar Aftermath: Mass Marriages to Prevent Abuse: 550 and Counting!, India Together, 28 February 2014, available at

17. Impunity Writ Large: A Study of Crimes by the Joint Special Task Forces (JSTF) in Saumya Uma & Vahida Nainar (eds.), Pursuing Elusive Justice: Mass Crimes in India & the Relevance of International Standards, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 24-59 (ISBN No. 978-0-19-807999-6)

18. Law Reform on Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes in MassViolence in Saumya Uma & Vahida Nainar (eds.), Pursuing Elusive Justice: Mass Crimes in India & the Relevance of International Standards, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 202-244 (ISBN No. 978-0-19-807999-6)

19. Integrating Victims’ Rights in the Indian Legal Framework in Saumya Uma & Vahida Nainar (eds.), Pursuing Elusive Justice: Mass Crimes in India & the Relevance of International Standards, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 245-286 (ISBN No. 978-0-19-807999-6)

20. Advocating Socio-economic Justice: Some Experiences of the ICC-India Campaign and the Potential for a Law Clinic, Social Change, 42, 4 (2012): pp 487-504 (ISSN No. 00490857)

21. On gender-based violence in communal contexts - ‘India: 20 Years after the Mumbai Riots, Don’t Forget Her Story’, in Women’s Feature Service and OneWorld South Asia, 8 December 2012, available at

22. ‘When the Protector becomes the Perpetrator: Justice vs. Impunity’,a web blog on violence against women and militarisation, titled for 16 day campaign on violence against women, organized by Prajnya Initiatives, 27 November 2012, available at

23. ‘Remembering Shahid Azmi: Can the Love of Justice be Assassinated?’, (Co-authored with Arvind Narrain), 24 November 2012, available at and

24. Square Peg in a Round Hole: The Use of Ordinary Law for Mass Sexual Violence by Security Forces in Shveta Dhalival(ed)., Human Rights Advocacy: Global Approaches, Local Experiences, Patiala: Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, 2011, pp. 215-234 (ISBN No. 978-81920809-0-1)

25. The Communal Violence Bill: Countering Impunity, Seeking Accountability, in People’s Verdict: Civil Society Review of UPA II’s Performance, New Delhi: Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, 2011, pp. 68-71

26. ‘Repressive Laws in India’ in Saumya Uma (ed.), ‘Unpackaging Human Rights: Concepts, Campaigns & Concerns’, Mumbai: Women’s Research & Action Group and Documentation, Research and Training Centre, 2009, pp. 72-88

27. ‘International Treaties on Human Rights’ in Saumya Uma (ed.), ‘Unpackaging Human Rights: Concepts, Campaigns & Concerns’,Mumbai: Women’s Research & Action Group and Documentation, Research and Training Centre, 2009, pp. 132-159

28. 'For women, a court of last appeal',The Indian Express, 9 December 2005

29. ‘Responses to the Law Commission of India’s Consultation Paper on Witness Protection’, in Combat Law, Vol. 4, 2005, Issue 1

30. 'Muslim Women's Right to Maintenance in India', Daily Star, 30 January 2005

31. 'Criminal Responsibility for Torture: An Indian Perspective',Daily Star, 19 December 2004

32. ‘Interpreting Muslim Law’,Combat Law, Vol. 3, Issue 4, November-December 2004, pp. 29-33

33. ‘Intimidated Witnesses and Victims: Treated with Hostility’, Combat Law, Vol. 2, Issue 5, December-January 2004,

34. ‘The Case for Protecting Victims and Witnesses: Best Bakery Case Revisited’, UrudhvaMula, Vol. 2, No. 2, December 2003, pp. 70-77

35. 'Triple Talaq, Women's Rights & Indian Judicial Responses',Daily Star, 9 January 2003

36. ‘India’s Failed Tryst with Justice and the Need for an International Criminal Court’, ‘Combating Impunity’, Women’s Research & Action Group, Mumbai, 2003, pp. 39-58

37. ‘The International Criminal Court and its Implications for India’, ‘Combating Impunity’, Women’s Research & Action Group, Mumbai, 2003, pp. 59-62

38. ‘Gujarat Carnage and ICC’, The Hindu, 14 May 2002

39. ‘Gender Concerns at the International Criminal Court, Gender Just Laws Bulletin, India Centre for Human Rights and the Law, July 2000

40. ‘Why India Should Support International Criminal Court’, Humanscape, May 2000 at pp. 32-35, 38

41. Should India View the International Criminal Court with Double-tinted Spectacles of Suspicion?ANICC Bulletin, Issue 1, March 2000

42. `Taking back the Night’, Humanscape, October 1997 (on the gender-discriminatory aspects of the Indian Divorce Act, and the response of the Indian judiciary to the same)

43. `A Ritual Vigilance’, Humanscape, November 1996 (on the response of the Mumbai judiciary to the phenomenon of fake marriage bureaus)

44. `Marriages are made in Karyalayas’, The Lawyers Collective, November 1996 (on the phenomenon of fake marriage bureaus and their repercussions on the rights of women and children within family law)

45. `Right to Maintenance in Bigamous Marriages’,The Lawyers Collective, May 1996(on the economic rights and status of second wives under a law which formally prohibits bigamy)

46. `Trial with Dignity’,Humanscape, April 1996(on the human rights issues involved in in-camera trials in rape cases)

47. `Bigamous Marriages by Hindu Men’,The Lawyers Collective, October-November 1995 (on the gap between law and reality in criminalizing bigamy)

48. ‘ASEAN: Bilateralism or Regionalism?’, The Student Advocate, Vol. 5, published by National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, 1993, pp. 26-31

49. ‘Kewalchand Jain: An Eye Opener on Corroboration’,The Student Advocate, Vol. 4, published by National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, 1992

50. ‘Law of Torts’, (co-authored with Ms. Rose Varghese), March of the Law, Vol. III, published by National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, 1992, pp. 459-473