Professor Tarun Khaitan

Professor Tarun Khaitan

Professor (Chair) of Public Law

LSE Law School

Room No
Cheng Kin Ku Building 7.22
Bengali, English, Hindi
Key Expertise
public law, legal theory, constitutional design, discrimination law

About me

Tarun Khaitan is the Professor (Chair) of Public Law at the LSE Law School and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School. Previously, he has been the Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights (Oxford), the Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory (Oxford), Vice Dean (Faculty of Law, Oxford), and a Visiting Professor of Law (Chicago, Harvard, and NYU law schools).

He completed his undergraduate studies (BA LLB Hons) at the National Law School (Bangalore) in 2004 as the 'Best All-Round Graduating Student'. He then came to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and completed his postgraduate studies at Exeter College. His research has been cited in over a dozen cases by influential courts, including the Indian Supreme Court, the Canadian Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Israeli Supreme Court, the Madras High Court, the High Court of Kerala, and the Superior Court of Quebec (a list of these cases is available here).

Research interests

Primary research interests are comparative public law, legal theory, discrimination law. Current projects include the relationship between the value of fraternity and constitutional design.



Constitutional Resilience in South Asia (Bloomsbury, 2023) co-edited with Ms Swati Jhaveri & Dr Dinesha Samararatne

Professor Khaitan's latest book was the outcome of a workshop on South Asian public law organised by Prof Khaitan at Melbourne Law School in 2019. The contributions consider the design and functioning of an array of institutions and actors, including political parties, legislatures, the political executive, the bureaucracy, courts, fourth branch / guarantor institutions (such as electoral commissions), the people, and the military to examine their roles in strengthening or undermining constitutional democracy across South Asia. Each chapter offers a contextual and jurisdictionally-tethered account of the causes behind the erosion of constitutional democracy, and some examine the resilience of constitutional institutions against democratic erosion.

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A Theory of Discrimination Law (OUP 2015) (South Asia edition and Oxford Scholarship Online, 2016 pbk)

A Theory of Discrimination Law was reviewed very positively in leading journals, including in Law and Philosophy, where Sophia Moreau said "In this magnificent and wide-ranging book ... Khaitan attempts what very few others have tried." In Ethics, Deborah Hellman said that its 'ambitious scope and the careful argumentation it contains make it one of the best in the field’.  In his review in the Modern Law Review, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen claimed that "Khaitan's account is sophisticated, extensive and among the best normative accounts of discrimination law available." Colm O'Cinneide's review in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies says that "Khaitan’s quest shows up the inadequacies of previous attempts to track down this Holy Grail, and the path he has laid down will encourage others to follow in his footsteps." The book won the Woodward Medal (with a cash prize of 10,000 Australian dollars) in 2019 for making ‘a significant contribution to knowledge in a field of humanities and social sciences.’ A list of reviews is available here.

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Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law (Bloomsbury, 2018) co-edited with Professor Hugh Collins

Professor Khaitan co-edited and contributed two co-authored chapters to the volume. This collection was the outcome of a major international workshop with leading discrimination law scholars to rethink the moral foundations of the legal prohibition of indirect discrimination in the face of growing judicial hostility towards it. Chapters from the volume have been cited by the Canadian Supreme Court, the Indian Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Madras High Court, the Superior Court of Quebec, and the Kerala High Court.

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Book chapters

‘Aversive Constitutionalism’ in Catherine O’Regan, Sujit Choudhry, and Carlos Bernal eds., Research Handbook on Constitutional Interpretation (Elgar, 2023) (forthcoming)

‘Guarantor (or ‘Fourth Branch’) Institutions’ in Jeff King and Richard Bellamy eds, Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory (CUP, 2024) (forthcoming)

‘Constitutional Directives and the Duty to Govern Well’ in Vicki Jackson and Yasmin Dawood eds., Constitutionalism and the Right to Effective Government (CUP, 2023) 193-205

‘The Point of Discrimination Law’ in Martha Nussbaum et al eds., The Empire of Disgust (OUP, 2018) 348–368

‘Indirect Discrimination Law: Controversies and Critical Questions’ (co-authored with Prof Hugh Collins) in Hugh Collins and Tarunabh Khaitan eds., Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law (Bloomsbury, 2018) 1–30 (cited by the Canadian Supreme Court in Fraser v Canada 2020 SCC 28; cited by the Indian Supreme Court in Nitisha v India 2021 (the introductory chapter co-authored by me was cited))

‘Wrongs, Wrongfulness, and Blame in Indirect Discrimination Liability’ (co-authored with Dr Sandy Steel) in Hugh Collins and Tarunabh Khaitan eds., Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law (Bloomsbury, 2018) 197–128 (cited by the Canadian Supreme Court in Fraser v Canada 2020 SCC 28)

Discrimination’ in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and Rule of Law, 2017)

‘Indirect discrimination’ in Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen ed, Routledge Handbook of the Ethics of Discrimination (Routledge, 2017) 30–41 (cited by the CJEU Advocate General in Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (Case C‑625/20))

‘Equality: Legislative Review under Article 14’ in Sujit Choudhry et al eds, The Oxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law (OUP, 2016) 699–719 (cited by the Supreme Court of India in Tamil Nadu v National South Indian Rivers Interlinking Agriculturalist Association(2021)

‘The Architecture of Discrimination Law’ in Vidhu Verma ed, Unequal Worlds (OUP, 2015) 119–163

Prelude to a Theory of Discrimination Law in Deborah Hellman & Sophia Moreau eds, Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law (OUP, 2013) 138–162


A full list of Prof Khaitan’s publications is available here.

Peer reviewed articles

‘Rewriting State of West Bengal v Anwar Ali Sarkar: The Possibility of an Anti-Colonial Jurisprudence’ (2023) 56 VRU|World Comparative Law 17-32

‘Areas of Law: Three Questions in Special Jurisprudence’ (2023) 43 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 76-96 (co-authored with Prof Sandy Steel)

‘Theorizing Areas of Law: A Taxonomy of Special Jurisprudence’ (2022) 28 Legal Theory 325-351 (co-authored with Prof Sandy Steel)

‘Guarantor Institutions’ (2021) 16(S1) Asian Journal of Comparative Law S40-S59

‘Political Parties in Constitutional Theory’ (2020) 73(1) Current Legal Problems 89-125

‘Killing a Constitution with a Thousand Cuts: Executive Aggrandizement and Party-State Fusion in India’ (2020) 14(1) Law & Ethics of Human Rights 49-95 (quoted by The Economist, The Wire; Focus of a blog symposium organized by Law and Other Things)

‘Religion in Human Rights Law: A Normative Restatement’ (2020) 18(1) International Journal of Constitutional Law 111-129  (co-authored with Dr Jane Norton)

 ‘The Right to Freedom of Religion and the Right against Religious Discrimination: Theoretical Distinctions’ (2019) 17(4) International Journal of Constitutional Law 1125-1145 (co-authored with Dr Jane Norton) (received a Special Mention for the 2020 ICON Best Paper Prize)

‘The Indian Supreme Court’s Identity Crisis: A Constitutional Court or a Court of Appeals?’ (2020) 4(1) Indian Law Review 1-30

Political Insurance for the (Relative) Poor: How Liberal Constitutionalism could Resist Plutocracy’ (2019) 8(3) Global Constitutionalism 536-570

 ‘Constitutional Directives: Morally-Committed Political Constitutionalism’ (2019) 82(4) Modern Law Review 603-632

‘Executive Aggrandizement in Established Democracies: A Crisis of Liberal Democratic Constitutionalism’ (2019) 17(1) International Journal of Constitutional Law 342–356 (basis of an interview for the Philosophy 24/7 podcast)

 ‘Directive Principles and the Expressive Accommodation of Ideological Dissenters’ (2018) 16(2) International Journal of Constitutional Law 389–420

 ‘Indirect Discrimination Law: Causation, Explanation and Coat-Tailers’ (2016) 132 Law Quarterly Review 35–41 (cited before the UK Supreme Court in Essop v. Home Office (2017))

‘Constitutional Avoidance in Social Rights Adjudication’ (co-authored with Dr Farrah Ahmed, 2015) 35(3) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 607–625

Koushal v Naz: Judges Vote to Recriminalise Homosexuality’ (2015) 78(4) Modern Law Review 672–680

 ‘“Constitution” as a Statutory Term’ (2013) 129 Law Quarterly Review 589–609

 ‘Dignity as an Expressive Norm-Neither Vacuous nor a Panacea’ (2012) 32 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 1–19

 ‘Reading Swaraj into Article 15—A New Deal for all Minorities’ (2009) 2 NUJS Law Review 419–432 (Cited by the Indian Supreme Court in Navtej Johar v. Union of India (2018))

 ‘Beyond Reasonableness—A Rigorous Standard of Review for Article 15 Infringement’ (2008) 50(2) Journal of the Indian Law Institute 177–208 (cited by the Indian Supreme Court in Dhariwal v Union of India 2021)

Non-peer-reviewed journal articles

‘On Scholactivism in Constitutional Studies: Sceptical Thoughts’ (2022) 20(2) International Journal of Constitutional Law 547 (subject of a blog symposium and response on Verfassungblog)

‘A Case for Moderated Parliamentarism’ (2021) 7 Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law 81-155 (focus of a blog symposium on the IACL-AIDC Blog)

‘Two Facets of Religion: Religious Adherence and Religious Group Membership’ (2021) 34 Harvard Human Rights Journal 231-247

‘The Supreme Court as a Constitutional Watchdog’ (2019) 721 Seminar 22-28

'The Real Price of Parliamentary Obstruction’ (2013) 642 Seminar 37–41

‘Reforming the Pre-Legislative Process’ Economic and Political Weekly (18 June 2011) 27–30

‘Transcending Reservations—A Paradigm Shift in the Debate on Equality’ Economic and Political Weekly (20 September 2008) 8–12

‘Should Britain have a Written Constitution’ (2007) 78(4) The Political Quarterly 499–517 (with Prof Vernon Bogdanor & Prof Stefan Vogenauer)

Policy briefings

External activities

Prof Khaitan was the founding General Editor of the Indian Law Review and founder & advisor of the Junior Faculty Forum for Indian Law Teachers. He sits on the advisory board of the International Journal of Comparative Law, is a member of the European University Institute's Research Council, and is a trustee of the Equal Rights Trust.

Public engagement

Prof Khaitan was awarded the 2018 Letten Prize, a 2 Million Norwegian Kroner award given biennially to a young researcher under the age of 45 conducting excellent research of great social relevance. He is using a part of the award towards setting up the Indian Equality Law Programme, aimed at capacity-building for early-career scholars. In 2020, he was awarded the Excellence in Engagement award by the University of Melbourne. Prof Pratap Mehta said in the context of this award that “No discussion of the rights of minorities in India is now conceivable without engaging with his conceptual and legal arguments”. At Oxford, he received the Oxford Policy Engagement Fellowship Award in 2020 and a special mention by the O2RB Excellence in Impact Award in 2021. In 2023, he received the India-UK Achievers Honour from the National Indian Students and Alumni Union. He helped draft the Indian Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill, introduced in the Indian Parliament in 2017.

Prof Khaitan writes regularly for newspapers and blogs: links to his columns are available here. His podcast course on Indian constitutionalism (in Hindi), संविधान संवाद, can be downloaded here. He has served on the advisory board of the United Nation’s Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner’s effort to draft ‘A Practical Guide to Developing Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Legislation’.