SOAS University of London

Right to Sanitation in India: from formal recognition to realisation

Right to Sanitation in India: from formal recognition to realisation

Sujith Koonan, SOAS University of London

Date: 17 November 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 17 November 2016Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

Abstract: Sanitation is a complex problem that has interrelated implications for human health, environment, and water quality. Inadequate sanitation is a root cause of human and ecological degradation. Inadequate or abysmal sanitation scenario is serious issue in developing countries and particularly so in India. Sanitation issues in India are multifaceted and complex. Improper disposal of waste, widespread open defecation, violence against women while going for/engaged in open defecation and manual scavenging are some of the critical issues in India. Further, the realisation of the right is impeded by a number of factors including caste, gender and class. Human dignity, autonomy, agency and safe environment are severely compromised and violated due to the abysmal sanitation scenario. It also makes realisation of many other human rights (health, water, education etc.) difficult. Articulating a right to sanitation is regarded as one of the effective tools to address sanitation issues in a way that respects human rights and environment related concerns. In India, the right to sanitation has been recognised as a constitutional right, a fundamental human right. The government has been implementing a number of laws, programmes and schemes in the last several decades to address the sanitation crisis and thus there has been a framework linked to the realisation of the right to sanitation. This seminar will look at the existing framework related to sanitation in India from a right to sanitation perspective, particularly through the lens of caste, gender and class.

Sujith Koonan is a lawyer and researcher working on environmental law and policy issues with a special emphasis on India. He is a research scholar at SOAS and is also associated with the Environmental Law Research Society, New Delhi. His main areas of interest also include law relating to natural resources, sustainable development, international law and human rights. His recent research has been mainly on law and policy framework relating to water and sanitation and he has published his research papers in various reputed national and international publications (for publications, see

The seminar will take place from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in Room B111, Brunei Gallery (opp. Main Building), SOAS – All Welcome
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