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Sonali Chugh

Academic Fellow

Sonali graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication from Vivekanand Institute of Professional studies in 2016. She pursued her master’s degree in Law, Politics and Society from Ambedkar University, Delhi in 2020. Her postgraduate dissertation titled “Making of a Terror Trial: The Affected Judgement and Its Exceptions (2020)” looks at the Parliament and Red Fort attacks with a special focus on their media coverage. She has worked for organisations such as NDTV, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and Lawctopus before pursuing a career in legal academia. Currently, she is serving as a researcher at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Sarai’s project “Media and the Constitution of the Political” where she is researching the impact of media coverage on pre and post-independence trials including the Tarakeswar and Bawla Murder Case among others. Her published work includes articles titled “Bihar Elections: Why Election Promises of Free Coronavirus Vaccine Can be Both a Freebie and a Policy Statement” (2020) published in The Leaflet, “A Discourse Of One's Own: Unfiltered Anecdotes By Women In Law” published in Lawctopus (2021) and “Not So ‘Mahatma’: The Regressive Views of Gandhi on Caste and Gender” published in Lawctopus (2021).




What made you choose to apply at NLU Delhi?

National Law University Delhi is known for its interdisciplinary approach towards legal education. Unlike traditional law Universities, it is an academic space that invites people from across the fields to participate and engage in meaningful research and discussions. Since my core research explores the intersection of politics, law and media, I believe that NLUD can serve as a viable platform for me as a researcher. Research centres here such as Project 39A, the Centre for Communication Governance and others, undertake work that has both a direct and an indirect impact on society, which speaks to its relevance.


What made you choose research and teaching as a career? 

Moving from journalism to legal academic research was an unlikely shift. However, I believe my interest in research was ignited by closely following long-format journalism. Moreover, my postgraduation in Law, Politics and Society exposed me to a number of great philosophers, sociologists and legal anthropologists. Their work pulled me deeper into thinking and reading more. It allowed me to engage with primary material and archives that live beyond the moment of their creation. My interest in teaching developed over time. The idea of sharing knowledge excites me. Teaching enables one to keep learning, and therefore one can work without the fear of plateauing. 


What is your area of interest, and what excites you about it?

I think the state-citizen relationship fascinates me. It’s interesting to see how individuals negotiate with the state and how they deal with governance, law, legal documents and the judiciary. Currently, my research areas include terror trials, media trials, speech and citizenship. I am also intrigued by how the law interacts with media theory. 


How do you see yourself contributing to NLU Delhi as an Academic Fellow?

I want to contribute to making the legal space more democratic and accessible. While I understand it is a long process, I am committed to contributing to this to the best of my abilities. I hope to hold conversations and generate written material that has a reach even outside the bounds of law schools. Ultimately, the social sciences or humanities are as important as the study of law. I’d like to strengthen my voice and add value to the institution.


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