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Namita Wahi Photo

Namita Wahi

S.J.D. 2014

Byse Teaching Fellow

“The Tension between Property Rights and Socioeconomic Rights: A Constitutional and Comparative Analysis”

Graduate Student Associate, South Asia Initiative

nwahi at


The Right to Property and Economic Development in India

My dissertation examines how the Indian Supreme Court has, over the last sixty years, managed tensions between the right to property and the state’s power to acquire property for the purposes of redistribution and economic development. Conventional scholarly accounts have labelled the Court as reactionary or progressive by focusing attention on the kinds of rights that the Court has enforced during different periods, namely, property rights and socio-economic rights respectively. In contrast, I argue that the Court’s enforcement of particular rights has been determined less by the kind of right sought to be enforced and more by whether the Court sees the enforcement of that right as hindering/enhancing economic development goals. These development goals have in turn been conceptualized within a fluid and transnational “development” discourse shaped by the interactions between development theorists, and third world and international development advisors.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Legal and Social Theory, with Professor Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School, Overall Faculty Supervisor
  • Constitutional Theory and Comparative Constitutional Law , with Professor Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School
  • Political Philosophy with Professor Richard Tuck, Department of Government, Harvard University

Additional Research Interests

  • International Law
  • Law and Development
  • Property Law
  • Legal History


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate, 2008 – 2014
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M., 2005
  • National Law School of India University, Bangalore, B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), 2004

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, 2011-2012, Teaching Fellow, Perspectives on American Law
  • Harvard Law School, 2008-2012, Advisor, Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition
  • Harvard Law School, 2008-2010; 2011-2012, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Writing Workshop
  • Harvard Law School, 2010-2011, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor
  • Teaching Fellow, Fall 2009, Gov 1255: Politics of India, Harvard College
  • Harvard Law School, Spring 2008, Graduate Program Fellow, Section Leader, Constitutional Law : First Amendment Course

Representative Publications

Additional Information

Languages: English

Last Updated: March 12, 2015