NLSIU announces Thakur Foundation PhD Scholarships in Public Health & Law

NLSIU announces Thakur Foundation PhD Scholarships in Public Health & Law

National Law School of India University is delighted to announce a new doctoral scholarship programme, the Thakur Foundation Scholarships in Public Health & the Law. The programme is supported by the Thakur Foundation, an organisation investing in capacity building for an empowered society through participative, socially-just governance.

In 2020-21, the COVID pandemic has generated acute awareness of the systematic underinvestment in the public health sector in India. The success of public health interventions rests on multiple factors including socio-economic considerations, training and capacity of public health cadre, access to reliable information, and the regulatory ecosystem of drugs and medical professionals.

By supporting doctoral research in this area, NLSIU seeks to strengthen our understanding of the role of law and public institutions in delivering health services. Through this research we hope to address issues which lie at the interface of law and public health while developing research capacities of early career researchers.

The scholarship will be offered to two students for the entire duration of their doctoral studies over a period of three years.

We invite candidates interested in topics of public health and the law to apply for this Scholarship through the 2021 NLSIU PhD application process. Application deadlines for 2021 will be announced shortly.

Eligible candidates may choose their research topic and design a proposal. Possible research directions include:

  • Public Health and the Regulation of Speech – the issue of misleading information in the advertisement of health-related products and increasing misinformation on public health issues, raising the question of how and to what extent, the state can regulate speech impacting public health in India under Article 19 of the Constitution.

  • Judicial review of regulatory decisions in the public health context – examining the extent of judicial review of Government’s decision to prohibit drugs that may lack therapeutic justification or which may be dangerous. Recent cases raise a crucial question of the extent to which the judiciary can review decisions by specialist regulators. What should be the theoretical framework for judicial review in such cases?

  • The Right to Medicine & Judicial Activism in the context of Rare Diseases & Experimental Medicine – examining recent High Court decisions interpreting the ‘right to health’ to direct the government to provide access to medicine, including medicine with insufficient clinical trial data. Research would query the extent to which citizens can claim the right to access experimental medicine lacking adequate clinical data, and whether judges can override specialist regulators in such cases.

  • Public Health and Federalism in India – examining public health decision-making from the perspective of constitutional theory. Can there be a single unifying theory on the issue of public health and federalism? If yes, what will be the contours of such a theory?

  • Regulation of the medical professions – empirical research on the two regulatory mechanisms governing the medical profession: through consumer and criminal courts, and through self-regulation bodies like the erstwhile Medical Council of India. Questions arise on the efficiencies of these two different regulatory mechanisms and the ‘quality of regulation’.

  • The ‘Right to Health’, discrimination and insurance policies – the extent to which insurance companies can discriminate against potential customers on the basis of their genetic disorders or other pre-existing medical conditions, especially government owned insurance companies.

  • Epidemics and the law – the need to update the antique Epidemics Act, 1897, keeping in mind issues ranging from questions of liberty to federalism to equitable access to medicines and vaccines.

  • Regulation of Indian medicine – the extent to which practitioners of traditional Indian medicine can practice modern medicine, with variation in state laws and recent decisions by the Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM), allowing practitioners of Indian medicine, recognized under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 to perform 58 surgical procedures.

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