An integral part of Asian Education Group and ranked as one of the best Law Colleges in Delhi NCR –Asian Law College welcomed its new batch of B.A.LL.B. & LL.B. students by launching an impressive week-long Orientation Programme scheduled from Monday, 26th October 2020 to Saturday, 31st October 2020. However, in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and keeping in mind the social distancing norms, this programme was organized virtually to benefit the students who commenced upon a new phase in their academic life.
At the ALC Orientation 2020, International Human Rights Lawyer, United Nations and Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India – Ms. KARUNA NUNDY – was an Eminent Guest who delivered a thoughtful LLS Lecture session on Friday, 30th October 2020 as part of the week-long Asian Law College B.A.LL.B. & LL.B. Orientation Programme 2020.
Ms. Karuna Nundy is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India and an international human rights lawyer. She represents and acts as legal policy adviser to governments, United Nations, companies and civil society movements. The focus of her work is on constitutional law, commercial litigation and arbitration, media law and legal policy. She was included by an Economic Times jury in a list of ‘Corporate India’s Fastest Rising Women Leaders’ which cited her as being ‘famous in the corporate world for her expertise in commercial law’.
Her pro bono practice includes also, the Supreme Court litigation from the 1984 gas disaster and toxic waste dumps in Bhopal. She has argued cases involving the rights of alleged terrorists, mentally ill people and class actions on sexual harassment. Ms. Karuna’s advisory and policy work includes contributions to the Nepal Interim Constitution; a legislation workshop with the Senate of Pakistan; advice to the Government of Bhutan on compliance with human rights treaties; and legal reform in the Maldives with the Attorney General’s Office and the Chief Justice of the Maldives Supreme Court. In India, she drafted contributions to the new “anti-rape” laws and the Right to Food Act.
Ms. Nundy has also played a significant role in drafting the anti-rape bill after the 2012 Delhi gang rape. In 2019, the UK foreign office appointed the lawyer to a new panel of experts to develop legal frameworks to protect freedom of the media across the globe.
Ms. Karuna has an Economics degree (St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University), a law degree (University of Cambridge), and an LL.M. (Columbia Law School). She is qualified to practice in India and NY. She is interviewed and comments on free speech, gender and legal issues on the BBC, India Today, the New York Times, NPR, FAZ, NDTV and other media.
In her LLS Lecture delivered on Friday, 30th October 2020 at Asian Law College as part of the week-long ALC B.A.LL.B. & LL.B. Orientation Programme 2020, Ms. Karuna Nundy majorly spoke about her life, work and experiences during her illustrious career so far.
She began by thanking Dr. Supriya Srivastava of ALC for the “lovely” introduction and congratulated the new batch of ALC B.A.LL.B. & LL.B. students for choosing to study law, which she said, “is lot like love; either you fall for it or you don’t!” She then went on to recount her own life’s journey and said, “when I started, I wasn’t sure … but wanted to do something important and create some good impact on society. I began by becoming a TV journalist, which was interesting and fun … creating new story every day! And then, I decided to do a course in law and joined the law school at Cambridge University. After 3-year law degree, I got a fellowship from Columbia University for LLM and a clinical program opportunity to work with UN and especially on the case of Comfort Women of South Korea.” This was an eye-opening experience for her and she “realized that law is about different things in different situations and there are a lot of things that needs to be done for the amelioration of various aspects of human existence like war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Here, she also made reference to the legal challenges in the “Bhopal Gas Tragedy” and “Gujarat Riots” which made her realize that “the top quality required to Human Rights litigation is Perseverance and Resilience.”
Ms. Karuna Nundy’s highly thoughtful lecture was followed by a series of questions put up by students of Asian Law College covering a range of subject matters like her experiences as a Supreme Court lawyer, women inspirations that impacted her life, the role of social media for communicating legal & human rights issues, the legal framework in India to help women in the corporate sector, her experiences as a lawyer in UN, constitutional pitfalls in India, and so on. Needless to say, the erudite guest speaker answered them all to the utmost satisfaction of the students.
Towards the end of her talk, the eminent guest Ms. Karuna Nundy – known as a “Lawyer without Fear or Favour” – shared an important message for the new batch of ALC B.A.LL.B. & LL.B. students who had just embarked upon a new phase in their academic life. She said, “Courage is doing what is right. Throughout human history, lawyers have always been a bastion of civil liberation. Hence, it is incredibly important to be a lawyer. The question is whether we should do our job courageously without fear and favour, or succumb to cowardice and ignominy.”