Menaka Guruswamy

Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law

Menaka Guruswamy

Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law

Dr. Menaka Guruswamy is BR Ambedkar Research Scholar and Lecturer at Columbia Law School. She also practices law before the Supreme Court of India.

Dr. Guruswamy has practiced law in New York, as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. She has advised the United Nations Development Fund, New York and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York and UNICEF South Sudan on various aspects of International Human Rights Law and has also supported the constitution-making process in Nepal.

In her litigation practice in India, she focusses on large constitutional rights claims, and has successfully brought reform of the bureaucracy in the country, defended federal legislation that mandates that all private schools admit disadvantaged children, challenged colonial-era laws that criminalises consensual same-sex relations. She is amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court in a case concerning 1528 alleged extra-judicial killings by the military and security personnel.

Dr. Guruswamy read law as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Law (D. Phil.) and as a Gammon fellow for a Masters in Law at Harvard Law School. She has been Visiting Faculty at Yale Law School, Columbia Law School and New York University School of Law. Most recently, she was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin/Institute of Advanced Studies, Berlin for 2016-2017.

Her most recent publications include essays on Constitution-Making in South Asia, in Handbook on Comparative Constitutional Law (Edward Elgar, Forthcoming (2018) and ‘Crafting Constitutional Values: An Essay on the Supreme Court of India’, (An Inquiry into the Existence Of Global Values, Hart Publishing/Bloomsbury: (2015). She has written widely for newspapers including the New York Times, the Indian Express and is currently working on a book on South Asian Constitutionalism. She is also a columnist for the blog of the  International Journal of Constitutional Law.

  • Oxford University, D.Phil. 2015
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2001
  • University of Oxford, B.C.L, 2000
  • National Law School of India University, B.A., LL.B. (with honors), 1997
Areas of Expertise
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Constitutional Theory
  • Post Conflict Constitutionalism
S. Constitutional Design in Post-Conflict Democracies