Dr. Colin Gonsalves

Founder, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India


Colin Gonsalves is the Founder of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN). A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mr. Gonsalves started his professional life as a civil engineer but was drawn into the field of law through his work with the unions in Bombay. He commenced formal legal study in 1979 and litigated his first case, while still in law school, on behalf of 5,000 workers locked out of their jobs.

Upon attaining his law degree in 1983, Mr. Gonsalves co-founded the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and developed it into a national organization that brought together over 200 lawyers and paralegals operating out of 28 offices spread throughout India. Mr. Gonsalves transitioned his practice from the Labour Courts to the Bombay High Court in 1984 and was designated as Senior Advocate, before moving onto the Supreme Court of India in 2001.

Mr. Gonsalves has written, edited and co-edited copious number of articles and books on a range of human rights law issues. For such inspiring work, he was presented with the “International Human Rights Award” by the American Bar Association in 2005. Most recently, in 2010, he has been conferred a Doctorate of the University, honoris causa, by the University of Middlesex, UK. He was also given the “Mother Teresa Memorial Award” for Social Justice “in recognition of remarkable contribution in legal services addressing human rights” in 2010.

Dr. Colin Gonsalves was awarded Right Livelihood Award in 2017.