Emerging Leaders

Rajshree Chandra

Rajshree Chandra is an associate professor of political science at the University of Delhi and ICSSR Postdoctoral Fellow at CPR. Her research interests include political theory, normative legal theory, intellectual property rights, and their intersections with human rights. Her publications include a monograph titled, Knowledge as Property: Issues in the Moral grounding of Intellectual Property Rights. Her forthcoming book on contemporary articulations of biocultural entitlements in the context of biotechnological innovation claims, The Cunning of Rights: Law, Life, Biocultures, will be published in 2015. 

Dr Chandra was the UKIERI India Institute Fellow at King’s College London, visiting fellow at Australia India Institute, Melbourne and a visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. She received her PhD from the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Research Topic: Exploring the Content of Farmers’ Rights in India

Before the inception of breeders’ rights, there was no claim that existed as farmers’ rights (FRs). In a way, FRs have emerged as a counter to breeders’ rights in a hasty attempt to also recognise their claims as producers, consumers and conservers. The nature of this right is an interesting field of study for its prime purpose is not to enable the farmer but to make it run alongside IP rights in genetic resources. The Indian Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers Rights Act 2001 is a unique and an instructive example in this regard. What mechanisms of protection and techniques and notions of ownership does it advance? Does it protect the farmer, ensure his access, endow him with the ability to compete with breeders’ rights? Are juridical instatement of rights adequate replacements for the customary protection that farmers enjoyed? These will be some of the questions raised, especially in the context farmers’ suicides in cotton farming areas. When law becomes a strategy of ownership, access to law becomes a prior condition to accessing the right in question.