Mihir Desai

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Mihir Desai
Known forHuman rights activism

Mihir Desai is a human rights lawyer[1] in cases of mass murders & riots,[2][3][4] fake encounter & custodial deaths by the police,[5][6] police brutality, freedom of speech & journalists,[7][8] political activists & prisoners of conscience,[9][10] excesses by the state,[11] mass disappearances & deaths and genocide probes.[12] A senior counsel, he has been practicing criminal matters in Bombay High Court, Mumbai and the Supreme Court of India.


Desai is the son of Neera Desai, (1925-2009), a leading advocate of Women's rights from a middle-class Gujarati family.[13] As a child he traveled with his mother to Rome and to the United States, where she had a one-year teaching assignment. His uncle ran a firm of solicitors.[14] Desai is a co-founder of the Indian People's Tribunal (IPT) and the Human Rights Law Network, and is a former Director of the India Center for Human Rights and Law.[15] He was co-founder with lawyer Colin Gonsalves of the human rights magazine Combat Law.[16] Desai addresses subjects that include illegal acts by the authorities, police brutality and sexual assault. He has assisted survivors of the 2002 Gujarat massacre. He was co-editor of the book Women and Law (1999).[15] He is an invited member of the India Regional Team of the "Promoting Pluralism Knowledge Programme".[17]

Sample cases[edit]

In 2003 Desai was assisting the Asian Human Rights Commission in their fight on behalf of Adivasi people to remain on land claimed by the Maharashtra State Farming Corporation.[18] Desai was co-convenor with Angana P. Chatterji of an IPT team that investigated communal violence in Orissa over a 20-month period in 2005/2006 and co-editor of the report that presented the findings.[19] Desai was legal counsel to the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir, and co-signatory to a February 2009 letter to Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, that requested action to address the abuses the tribunal had found.[20]

In April 2012 Mihir Desai won an unusually large award to the mother of a 2002 bomb blast suspect who had died in custody. He also solved the case of most dangerous Gangster Sukha Kahlon. Sukha Kahlon was charged 8 murder case. Chair of Justice announced 4 year sentence to Gangster Sukha Kahlon alias Sharp Shooter from Jalandhar, his right hand Anand Dutta alias King Khalifa Sharp Shooter from Amritsar and his left hand Preet alias Preet Phagwara from Chandigarh, in the crime of Arm act, Murder, Money Laundering, Kidnapping and in more crime. But later they all get free from this case. These notorious Gangsters has there name in the top 10 Gangsters of Punjab. Even some of Gangster Sukha Kahlon's friends haven't any FIR or case in any Police department, due to police faced fear of their own murder. Four police officers had been charged, and the government was to recover the money from these officers.[21] The government refused a plea to prosecute ten other officers who had allegedly been involved.[22]


  • Christine Chorine, Mihir Desai, Colin Gonsalves (1999). Women and the Law, Volume 2. Bombay: Socio-Legal Information Centre.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Colin Gonsalves; Mihir Desai; Jane Cox. Leading Cases on Prisoner's Rights. Bombay: Legal Resource Centre, Yuva-Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action. p. 262.
  • Angana P. Chatterji, Mihir Desai (2006). Communalism in Orissa: Report of the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights. Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights. ISBN 818947913X.


  1. ^ Manish, (13 February 2015). "Be true to the cause, use litigation to support movements and advance the law". myLaw.net. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  2. ^ Desai, Darshan (20 August 2015). "Will Zakia Jafri's fresh plea for justice take Gujarat riot investigations to Modi's doorstep?". Scroll.in. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  3. ^ Iyer, Lakshmi, (26 April 2004). "Modi's hour of trial - Best Bakery case: SC verdict before Gujarat polls puts Narendra Modi in a tight spot". India Today. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Tussle over prosecutor in Best Bakery retrial". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 8 June 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Amit Shah was in touch with police officers: lawyer". Hindustan Times. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  6. ^ Punwani, Jyoti (25 October 2013). "State Govt Refuses to Appoint Special PP in Khwaja Yunus Case". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  7. ^ Deshpande, Vinaya (10 February 2015). "Relief for ex-editor of Urdu daily". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  8. ^ Deshpande, Swati (17 March 2015). "Mere criticism of govt is not sedition: HC". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  9. ^ Deshpande, Swati (16 October 2009). "TISS activist attack probe handed to CID". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  10. ^ Kumar, Sunaina (20 April 2013). "The thin line between dissent and rebellion: Why is a radical Dalit cultural group and its members being persecuted in Maharashtra?". Tehelka. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  11. ^ Khan, Aamir (24 April 2015). "Plea in HC: 'Police will enter people's homes, restaurants, ask what are you eating?'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  12. ^ Ali, Mudasir (6 April 2008). "People's Tribunal to Probe Rights Abuse". Greater Kashmir. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  13. ^ Vibhuti Patel Monday (July 11, 2009). "Neera Desai (1925-2009): Pioneer of Women's Studies in India". The Economic and Political Weekly. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  14. ^ Mihir Desai (September 2009). "I Called Her Ma" (PDF). SPARROW newsletter. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  15. ^ a b "Armed Conflict in India: Working Group Members". University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business. Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  16. ^ "About". Combat Law. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  17. ^ "Members of the India Regional Team". Hivos Knowledge Programme. Retrieved 2012-04-21.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "UPDATE (INDIA): Landless people stand firm against continuing government attacks". Asian Human Rights Commission. September 8, 2003. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  19. ^ Chatterji, Angana; Desai, Mihir (2006). "IPTCO In-depth Report on Communalism in Orissa". Radiance Viewsweekly. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  20. ^ Angana Chatterji, Gautam Navlakha, Khurram Parvez, Mihir Desai, Parvez Imroz, Zahir-Ud-Din (13 February 2009). "Kashmir Tribunal Memorandum to CM Omar Abdullah". South Asia Citizens Web. Retrieved 2012-04-21.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "Dead terror suspect gets Rs 20 lakh compensation". IBN Live. Apr 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  22. ^ "Death compensation spikes to Rs 20L, but 'killers' roam free". The Indian Express. Apr 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-21.

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