[Ip-health] The Wire: Documenting Anand Grover, Indira Jaising's Fight for Human Rights Over the Years

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sat Jun 22 00:51:36 PDT 2019



Anoo Bhuyan

New Delhi

On June 13, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed an FIR against Anand
Grover and Lawyers Collective for alleged violations of rules related to
NGOs receiving foreign funds.

Grover and his partner Indira Jaising, both senior advocates, have been at
the forefront of public interest and civil rights litigation in India.
Several Indian lawyers have cut their teeth doing human rights work as a
part of Lawyers Collective since 1981. Their work has had implications
around the world.

Between the two of them, they have contributed to the legal field in India
for close to 80 years.


HIV/AIDS, TB, healthcare

“Incredibly important global leaders in global AIDS response” is how
Matthew Kavanagh describes Grover and Lawyers Collective. Kavanagh is
currently director of the Global Health Policy and Governance Initiative at
Georgetown University.

Grover found his niche fighting various cases that made it possible for
Indians to access affordable healthcare and without discrimination.

He continues to fight these cases and in 2017, was able to successfully get
access to a life-saving TB drug, bedaquiline, for a young Indian woman with
drug-resistant TB. The woman died soon after winning the case, but it
caused the Indian government to roll back their procedure of giving the
drug only in five big cities and begin larger distribution

A watershed case which Grover won was the Supreme Court’s verdict in
the Novartis
case in 2013
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant wanted a patent for its life-saving cancer
drug Glivec. The Indian Supreme Court dismissed it. This case was vital as
it strengthened Indian patent law which allows India to continue to supply
cheap generic drugs to countries around the world, saving millions of lives.

“Mr Grover and the Lawyers Collective work has been truly global,
supporting the AIDS response not just in India but throughout Asia and in
Africa and Latin America. The series of cases they worked on in India set a
global standard against discrimination for people living with HIV. Other
cases helped build the global legal norm that HIV treatment is not only an
imperative, which they showed at a time with the Indian government and
others were saying it was too costly, but also a core human right. Their
work was also essential on bringing down the cost of AIDS drugs by over
99%. Without their work on creating and maintaining pro-health patent laws,
it is likely the Indian generic versions of key ARVs that are used
throughout the world to keep people alive would not be available,” says

“The work of Lawyers Collective has formed the backbone of the civil
society and even the state’s response to challenges of gender equality,
Violence Against Women, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, access to medicines and
treatment and the rights of Sexual and Gender Minorities,” says a petition
<https://petitions.labiacollective.org/lc/endorse> being circulated by the
Labia Collective.

Shamnad Basheer, legal scholar on patent issues and founder of an
organisation that works on legal diversity, says, “I can tell you that
Anand is a phenomenal lawyer, excellent at his craft and standing for the
highest level of integrity. I’ve witnessed his work first hand in a number
of patent and access to medicine cases including the Novartis litigation in
the Supreme Court and the *Bayer vs Nexavar*compulsory licensing case. He
is one of our heroes, as is Indira Jaisingh and her fearless work in court
on countless issues of public interest. Both represent the highest
traditions of the law and public interest lawyering.”

Grover has also fought individual cases of medical negligence. One of his
clients, Shishir Chand, has been fighting against a doctor at Tata Hospital
in Jamshedpur over the death of his brother. “It is because of lawyers like
Mr Anand Grover that a common man like me can hold people in power
accountable. Otherwise the entire criminal justice system of our country is
broken and a victim pitted against the powerful and influential is further
victimised in his quest for justice,” says Chand.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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