Sital Kalantry, associate clinical professor of law and co-founder and faculty director of the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, has received a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar Award from the U.S. Department of State. Kalantry will spend the spring of 2012 in New Delhi, where she will study public interest litigation (PIL) in India and co-teach a clinical class to be listed jointly at Cornell Law School and Jindal Law School outside New Delhi.
With Theodore Eisenberg, Cornell's Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law and adjunct professor of statistical sciences, Kalantry will conduct an empirical study of all PIL cases brought to the Indian Supreme Court. In India, Kalantry will also interview lawyers, judges and other stakeholders involved with PIL cases.
Kalantry and Eisenberg will consider the success rate of PIL cases compared with non-PIL cases; whether the success rate varies if the defendant is exclusively a government entity or a government and individual or private entity; and whether it varies if the plaintiff is an individual or private entity or a nonprofit organization.
Developed in the 1980s, PIL allows an individual or organization to sue a government entity in the belief that the entity has violated fundamental constitutional rights -- even if the party suing has not been harmed.
The strategy has been used to foster some of the most important human rights developments in India's history, but a widespread perception exists that it clogs the courts and is often used for harassment or private gain. A bill to restrict PIL in the 1990s ultimately failed, but in 1999 the Supreme Court issued guidelines aimed at curbing misuse.
While in India, Kalantry will also teach a class on human rights and international law. The class will use live videoconferencing to connect Cornell and Jindal Law School students for class discussions, simulations, guest lectures and work on joint projects.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world.