IDIA in the news

Times of India 18 June 2017

How these smart students are jumping over social hurdles

“One of the students they found is 23-year-old Karthika Annamalai, now a corporate lawyer at AZB & Partners. Her mother was a stone quarry worker, who earned Rs 3,000 a month. She describes how she wanted to be a lawyer, after hearing about a case where a landlord cut off the tongue of a bonded labourer — but it was only after IDIA’s Bangalore team gave a pitch at her school that the prospect became real.”

LiveLaw 06 June 2017

IDIA Strikes Again: Eight Scholars Make It To Leading Law Schools Through First CLAT Allotment List.

“IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education) continued its success this year as well, with eight of their scholars making it to the leading law schools in India through the first CLAT allotment list. Another scholar made it to to the NLU Delhi, which runs its own entrance exam (AILET). “

Deccan Chronicle 22 April 2017

What an IDIA, young lady!

“At the age of 17, like many girls all over the country, Anusha Reddy too headed out of Hyderabad to pursue her law from a university in Kolkata. Little did she think, life had other grand plans for her. Now 25, Reddy is based in Bengaluru and is the Director of the IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access), a primarily volunteer-driven organisation founded by her college professor, Shamnad Basheer.”

Economic Times 17 April 2017

Young Hyderabad girl is here to make lawyers out of the marginalized

“Basheer’s Bengaluru-headquartered initiative, Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) challenges India’s elitist legal education by helping students from poor, non-Englishspeaking backgrounds get educated in the country’s most decorated law schools. “

The Guardian 10 April 2017

I realized I could become an insider’: from ‘poor tribal boy’ to elite lawyer

“Today, IDIA has 500 student volunteers from the various NLUs, operating in 23 different states. The volunteers visit remote states and tiny schools that teach in regional languages. There they identify students with an aptitude for legal reasoning, but also with what Basheer calls “fire in the belly.” The students are put through gruelling training and assigned mentors to prepare for the Common Law Assessment Test (CLAT).”

Live Law 3 March 2017

Age No Bar For Studying Law: SC Stays BCI 

“The bench comprising Justices Bobde and Nageswara Rao stayed the age bar introduced BCI while hearing petitions filed by CLAT aspirants including Michael Sam an orphan supported by IDIA, from Mumbai challenging the age limit clause introduced by Bar Council of India for taking admissions in law schools.”

India Business Law Journal 14 February 2017

Lending a hand

“Beginning in 2010 IDIA set about making high school students from under-represented communities aware of the benefits of law as a viable, lucrative career, and also helping them gain admission to these law schools. The results have been remarkable.”

Bar and Bench 17 November 2016

AP High Court rules in favour of visually impaired IDIA scholar

“Arepalli Naga Babu, a visually impaired lawyer and aspiring judge based in Hyderabad, had filed a petition in the High Court challenging Rule 7 of the Andhra Pradesh State Judicial Service Rules of 2007. A 2011 IDIA scholar, Naga hails from Machlipatnam in Andhra Pradesh.”

Bar and Bench 2 November 2016

IDIA Football League 2016: Mahindra & Mahindra lift Cup, Wadia Ghandy takes home IFL Plate

“The third edition of the IDIA Football League was held in Mumbai on October 15 and 16. Mahindra & Mahindra emerged winners in the Cup Championship, while Wadia Ghandy took home the Plate Championship.”

The Telegraph 31 October 2016

Workshop on the need for law study.

“A first such workshop was held at Dompara Anchalika Mahavidyalaya at Damapada. The students staged a drama to generate curiosity among them about how law affects our daily life. The initiative has been taken up as part of IDIA (increasing diversity by increasing access) project that aims to sensitise rural students to take up law as a viable career option and also acquire admission to National Law University. It also supports students in tuition fees and helps them survive the five years of a law school.” 17 September 2016

First workshop for IDIA Scholars with disabilities held in Bengaluru

“The IDIA Charitable Trust and Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India Pvt. Ltd. organised a workshop in Bengaluru on Saturday. The workshop was the first to be conducted exclusively for IDIA Scholars with disabilities.”

Indian Express 27 August 2016

This powerful poem is a fitting response to racism and objectification women from North East have to face.

“The poem by Vinatoli Yeptho recounts the objectification, exclusion and sexual harassment that women from the North-East have to go through.”

CNN-News18 31 July 2016

Youngsters in Patna offer Law Entrance Coaching  to the Underprivileged

“Under a unique initiative called IDIA in Patna, youngsters are training underprivileged kids to crack law entrance examinations and gain entry into premier law schools in the country.”

Economic Times 26 June 2016

A Super 30 for law: How IDIA, a nonprofit, is helping poor students enter India’s elite law schools

“With a network of 500 volunteers in 18 cities and towns, mainly law school students, IDIA spreads awareness about law as a career option, helps train students from underprivileged backgrounds for law school entrance examinations, funds successful law school candidates and helps them throughout the time they are in law school, whether it is adjusting to the new environment or for internships.”

Money Life 9 June 2016

Empowering Underprivileged Students through Legal Education

“In the long run, we hope that the ecosystem evolves to self-correct from time to time and embrace diversity as its core theme, to the point that the presence of an external third-party organisation addressing the diversity deficit (such as IDIA) is rendered unnecessary.”

Legally India 03 June 2016
Eight IDIA scholars make it to NUJS, Nalsar, GNLU, NLUO & Nuals

“These scholars grew up amidst adverse poverty and yet demonstrated a wonderful resilience and optimism of spirit that saw them sail through CLAT and perform with aplomb. They hail from diverse backgrounds, and yet are united in their avowed aim to change society for the better through their shot at legal education”

Chambers and Partners 13 April 2016
The Idea Behind IDIA: Creating CHAMPS from Underprivileged Communities, by Shamnad Basheer

“IDIA, a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them to leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves.”

The Better India 31 Jan 2016
This Law Professor Has Created an Amazing Route for the Economically Poor to Become Lawyers

“Shamnad is using his college degree and knowledge to provide the best possible legal education to the underprivileged and enable them to become lawyers and communal leaders.”

Business Standard 4 September 2015
Entry to NLUs; SC to examine plea alleging flaws in CLAT

“The plea filed by advocate Shamnad Basheer, Founder and Managing Trustee of Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA), a non-profit movement to train underprivileged students, said there was no grievance redressal mechanism under the present CLAT structure. “

LiveLaw 1 September 2015
Prof. Shamnad Basheer’s PIL for Permanent CLAT Body will be heard by Justice Thakur Bench on Friday

“Prof. Shamnad Basheer, the petitioner, is the Founder and Managing Trustee of IDIA (‘Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education’), a non-profit pan India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them to leading lawyers and community advocates.”

LegallyIndia 31 August 2015
Shamnad Basheer with KK Venugopal files monster writ vs CLAT in SC, wants permanent body, transparency

“Shamnad Basheer, former NUJS Kolkata professor and founder of NGO Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court seeking a permanent CLAT body and transparency in the exam.”

LiveLaw 11 August 2015
In Conversation with Prof. (Dr.) Purvi Pokhriyal, Director Institute of Law, Nirma University

“ILNU is one of the very rare institutes which provide merit and merit cum means scholarship worth of Rs. 50/- lacs. It also provides two IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access) scholarships to the students on the merits as a part of Institute’s social responsibility to the talented students.”

Livemint 28 July 2015
Cost of legal education shoots up as younger colleges struggle

“The problem of rising fees can skew the diversity of the legal profession. Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA)—an initiative that aims to encourage students from non-traditional backgrounds to study law—surveyed students entering law school in 2013-14.” .

Livemint 28 July 2015
A wake-up call on diversity in the legal profession

“Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA), an initiative that seeks to encourage students from under-represented and marginalized groups to study law, surveyed 550 students, of whom 18 were from non-traditional backgrounds supported by IDIA .”

Social Story | Your Story 23 July 2015
To bring the benefits of Intellectual Property Law to the bottom of the pyramid is what drives Shamnad Basheer

“In the last three years, 40 scholars trained by IDIA volunteers made it to the leading National Law Universities (NLUs) in India. They reflect a truly diverse mix, comprising candidates from various backgrounds (children of farmers, stone quarry workers, shopkeepers and clerks) and across various states.”

The Times of India 20 July 2015
He worked in farms during holidays to get into law school

“Poverty shouldn’t be a reason to give up studies,” he said. “If you want to achieve something in life, you have to work hard. I plan to take up a part-time job during my vacation in Bengaluru to cover my personal expenses,” said Anil from Nokha, Rajasthan.
Anil’s fees at NLSUI will be funded by Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access, an organization working to empower underprivileged students through legal education.

The Hindu 19 July 2015
Grit, hard work brought him to NLSIU

They simply asked my uncle whether it was a good profession and he managed to convince them,” he recalls. He was all but ready to apply for an educational loan when he got in touch with the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to legal education’s (IDIA) Rajasthan team
With steady mentorship, he has been “adopted” by the NLSIU, enjoying a full tuition fee waiver…

The Hindu 17 July 2015
English-speaking, well-heeled students dominate NLU admissions

Admitting to a lack of diversity, the findings of the survey, cited in the new scholarship policy preamble of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), acknowledges that the law schools comprise students mostly educated in English-medium schools from middleclass or upper-middleclass families. The study was conducted by the charitable trust ‘Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access’. …

The Hindu 17 July 2015
NLSIU floats new scholarship policy

The committee itself consists of representatives from the student community, alumni and undergraduate and postgraduate councils, among others. The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) survey had said that extremely high fees charged by these institutions, lack of …

Legally India 10 July 2015
Revealed: 8-page MOU that CLAT tried to hide under RTI but that HNLU disclosed 3 years ago

The MoU dated 23 November 2007, under which India’s first seven national law universities (NLU) had agreed for the first time to admit students not through their separate entrance tests but through the CLAT, was requested together win the 2014 MOU by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) Intiative via a Right to Information (RTI) request.

Live Law 8 July 2015
CLAT – 2015; Meet Five IDIA Scholars who made history

The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) to legal education initiative continued its success this year as well, with five of their scholars making it to the leading law schools in India …

Legally India 6 July 2015
Multi-crore CLAT agreement with 13 other NLUs is so secret it’s exempt from RTI, claims RMLNLU

The convenor with a letter dated 1 July rejected a Right to Information (RTI) request dated 10 June 2015, which was filed by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scheme, asking for a copy each of the MoU signed between seven NLUs …

The Hindu Business Line 26 Jun 2015
Infosys Foundation fetes scientists

Shamnad Basheer is founder and managing trustee, Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access, and founder, SpicyIP, and winner of the Infosys Prize 2014 for humanities..

Livemint 16 Jun 2015
CLAT: A filter that needs replacing

“The admissions test is one of the key reasons behind the success of the NLU model. The fact that you’ve had this rigorous exam filter for picking bright school kids. All other deficiencies, such as the lack of a serious research culture, top-notch faculty, barring a few; and lack of good infrastructure and other resources were by and large forgiven because you had this relatively fine bunch of students who were offered some freedom to engage in peer learning and strut their stuff,” said Shamnad Basheer, who formerly taught at National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata, and founded the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access initiative.

Careers360 – Shamnad Basheer 21 Jan 2015

We need lawyers who are Creative, Holistic, Altruistic, Maverick Problem Solvers


Infosys Prize – Laureates 2014 – Shamnad Basheer 13 Nov 2014
Shamnad Basheer

The Infosys Prize 2014 in Humanities is awarded to Prof. Shamnad Basheer for his outstanding contributions to a broad range of legal issues and legal education. He has been remarkably fair-minded in assessing opposing positions taken on quintessentially controversial areas such as intellectual property laws…

The Pioneer 14 Sept 2014
On Mission Education

But it is not just general formal school education which is being nourished. The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) project too seeks to find ways to reach out to under-represented communities, intending to present law as a desirable career option for them. Its founder Shamnad Basheer is a reputed and well-known name among students of law all across the country. He joined …

Hindustan Times 27 Aug 2014
CNLU Symposium


Hindustan Patna 27 Aug 2014
CNLU Symposium


Hindustan Yuva 27 Aug 2014
CNLU Symposium


LiveLaw 25 August 2014
Scoring for Education: IDIA Charity Football Tournament

IDIA a pan India movement to give proper training to underprivileged children and help them become leading lawyers and community advocates will be starting a 6 a side football tournament to …

Bar & Bench 25 August 2014
Innovative idea of IDIA: To host charity football tournament to raise money for IDIA Scholars

The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) dedicated to making law schools more inclusive, will be hosting a charity football league tournament to raise money for the IDIA scholars. The tournament to be hosted at Kamala Mills Ground…

The Times of India 17 July 2014
Poverty couldn’t stop them from making it to top law schools

In times when law aspirants are striving hard to secure their seat in NLUs, the IDIA scholars have already managed to imprint a mark, by successfully securing their seats in the much desired NLUs. IDIA has, since its inception, managed to send their students to NLUs. It continues the trend this year as well. Out…

LiveLaw 07 July 2014
IDIA Scholars Shine; Eight make it to NLUs and Two to Nirma University

In times when law aspirants are striving hard to secure their seat in NLUs, the IDIA scholars have already managed to imprint a mark, by successfully securing their seats in the much desired NLUs. IDIA has, since its inception, managed to send their students to NLUs. It continues the trend this year as well. Out…

Bar & Bench 07 July 2014
Eight IDIA Scholars make it to various NLUs even as IDIA seeks further funding

Out of the 24 scholars trained by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA), 8 scholars have cleared CLAT 2014 and gained admission to different national law universities (NLUs) across the country. Along with these 8 scholars, 2 scholars Mohammed Danish Gani and Namrata Dubey have got admitted to the Nirma Institute…

LegallyIndia 07 July 2014
IDIA gets 8 out of 24 kids into NLUJ, GNLU, NLUO, +2 into Nirma

The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) to legal education initiative placed eight scholars – four in NLU Orissa, three in NLU Jodhpur and one in GNLU Gandhinagar – out of the 24 scholars it had trained for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2014. Among those placed there are three visually impaired scholars, the son of a stenographer in…

The Times of India 26 May 2014
Ideas that change life

Bhimavarappu Mouli Aravind lost his eyesight at a young age but he found a way to pursue legal studies at National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata
My father is a compounder and mother, a homemaker. My younger brother is in class XII. After an accident in class III, I slowly lost my eyesight but this has not stopped me from living my dream. I attended a school in my hometown Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. I had difficulty reading the blackboard and it was especially tough in the maths class. As my vision slowly…

Business Standard 09 May 2014
Mitali Saran: What an IDIA, sir-ji

I was therefore interested to attend, last weekend, the first annual IDIA conference (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education). It’s a programme designed to make elite law schools accessible to the underprivileged and the disabled. First the staff reach out to persuade communities that (a) the law is a useful tool for social change and (b) lawyers aren’t all scoundrels. Then they train interested students to improve their English skills and take the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), the law entrance exam. They work to ensure that institutions like the National Law Schools and National Law Universities fulfil…

LegallyIndia 05 May 2014
IDIA raises Rs 72 lakhs as Mohan Gopal says diversity initiative should become redundant

The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative, which aims to help students from non-traditional lawyer backgrounds to apply to national law schools, has fund-raised Rs 72 lakhs at an event in Delhi on Saturday attended by 150.

IDIA founder Shamnad Basheer said that donors had pledged Rs 12 lakh in donations, which would be used to support the ongoing activites of IDIA.

LegalWeek 14 Apr 2014
O’Melveny to offer annual internships to Indian law students

O’Melveny & Myers’ (OMM) Singapore office is to offer annual internships to Indian law students in association with a Bangalore not-for-profit organisation.
The US firm’s Singapore base, which has a focus on Indian capital markets led by counsel Pooja Sinha, has agreed to take one student per year from India for a four to six week period, with all expenses and a weekly stipend paid.
The scheme is backed by an Indian project which trains and mentors underprivileged law students in the country, known as Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA).

Political Business Daily, Odisha 31 Mar 2014
Film Festival at NLUO


Times of India, NIE 25 Mar 2014
Films can be a tool for Social Change


The Indian Express 25 June 2013
An IDIA that democratised law

This special IDIA was born of the eternal need to inform,educate and empower the voiceless. The problem it faces is as common as it is frustrating — lack of funds.
IDIA or Increasing Diversity By Increasing Access is a student-powered movement that aims at picking out the bright sparks from marginalised communities and training them to become leading lawyers and..

Legally India 9 Apr 2013
CBSE schools to teach law to kids. Early dis/advantage?

“To my mind on a preliminary level it seems a pretty okay move but it does disadvantage students who are not going to a CBSE school,” commented Diptasri Basu, executive director at Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) – a non-profit initiative training underprivileged CLAT aspirants.

Hindustan Patna 27 Feb 2013
सी एन एल यु के छात्र फ़्री में करायेंगें क्लैट की तैयारी
Translated version for download


IBN Live 21 Feb 2013
Karthika Annamalai gets Zindagi Live Award

Examiner 21 Feb 2013
Aishwarya Rai honors Karthika Annamalai at IBN7 Zindagi Live Awards

Eight fearless women Ami B Shroff, Hema Aziz, Kiran Thakur, Sabeena, Amita Sharma, Ummul Khair, Karthika Annamalai, Hena Nafis and Uzma Nafis were honoured at Zindagi LIVE Awards.

The Hindu 2 July 2012
Providing legal education to everyone

It began as a chimera, a Utopian dream. Equal opportunity for all, irrespective of their caste, class and creed, is a constitutional dream. The team of IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access) found this dream worth chasing.
Shamnad Basheer, Professor at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, was the pioneer of IDIA, which sees participation of students of national law universities around the country in reaching out to the less advantaged students, to make law education accessible to them.

The Hindu 23 June 2012
Against all odds

Among those who made the cut to the 11 prestigious law schools were two bright students, one from Hosur and the other from Manipur.
Tangminlal Haokip (20), who belongs to an underprivileged family in Gamnom, Manipur, made it to the most-preferred National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. The high score of Karthika Annamalai, whose mother is a quarry worker in Hosur, secured her a seat at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.

The Indian Express 20 June 2012
GNLU tweaks its rules to admit bright ‘poor’ boy

Changing its rules that denied admission to students who had not cleared their Class X or Class XII examination in one attempt, the Gandhinagar-based Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) has decided to give admission to every deserving student who makes the cut in Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).
The law university on Tuesday apprised the Gujarat High Court (HC) of its decision in connection with the petition filed by a boy, one Donnie Ashok from West Bengal, who was denied admission by the university because he did not clear his Class XII exam in the first attempt.

DNA India 20 June 2012
Guj law univ grants admission to previously rejected student

The institution finally admitted the Kolkata boy who was earlier refused on the grounds that he had passed his Class 12 examination on the second attempt.
The Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) on Tuesday finally gave admission the Kolkata boy who was earlier refused, on the grounds that he had passed his Class 12 examination on the second attempt. The boy, Donnie Ashok, is the son of poor painter of Kolkata.
The boy’s lawyer, Mukul Sinha, said that the GNLU had informed Justice KS Jhaveri of the Gujarat high court that it had granted admission to the boy.

The Times of India 13 June 2012
Kolkata boy fights law school bar in Gujarat HC

The jury is still out on whether he will become a lawyer. But young Donnie Ashok is already in court, fighting to keep his dream alive.
On Tuesday, the Gujarat high court blocked a seat in the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) in favour of the 19-year-old house painter’s son from Kolkata and asked the law school for a written explanation on why it had denied him admission. The explanation must be submitted by June 19 when the next hearing will happen.

The Times of India 19 July 2011
Quarry worker’s daughter makes it to top law school

‘My past can’t tie me down’, wrote Karthika Annamalai, who cracked the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2011, on her school website. Following that post is the inspiring story of a girl who beat severe odds to join an elite group, that of CLAT achievers.
In her childhood, Karthika followed her mother down into the steep quarry where the latter worked. She would sit a few metres from her mother, watching her frail body shatter stones with a heavy hammer. A heart-shaped mark on Karthika’s forehead, formed when a piece of stone hit her, is still a reminder of what life might have held for her.

Hindustan Times 16 July 2011
Why Karthika Annamalai wants to be Prime minister

There are three things Karthika Annamalai misses at home — a bed, a toilet and English.
Home for the slim, articulate 19-year-old is the village of Marenahalli Bunde, an untidy collection of unpaved lanes, rudimentary open sewers and one water source on the windswept eastern edge of India’s technology heartland, Bangalore. There are two “rooms”, each smaller than a ping-pong table; the flooring is cowdung; the roof, dried coconut fronds; the walls, four granite slabs slammed into the ground.

The Indian Express 28 April 2010
Raising the bar

The law minister recently announced that potential aspirants to any of the law schools or colleges in India would be subject to a common entrance examination. Many are likely to question the feasibility of such a pan-India examination and the merits or otherwise of an exclusive entrance exam-based approach towards selecting students.