Edward Premdas Pinto

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Political Economy of Health
  • Equity, Ethics and Social Justice
  • Human Rights, Accountability and Governance
  • Caste and Gender Intersections of Marginalisation
  • Amebkarite Perspectives of Social Justice and Emancipation
  • Health Systems and Rights
  • Civil Society, Democracy and Social Movements


Edward Premdas Pinto is a human rights lawyer and public health practitioner-academic (pracademic) with 28 years of engagement with the social justice issues of marginalised communities in India.

Prior to joining Azim Premji University, he held leadership roles at the Centre for Health and Social Justice, Delhi (Director – Research and Advocacy, theme lead: Health Governance and Accountability), Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action – SOCHARA (Director), Bengaluru. 

He worked as the Global Coordinator of the Secretariat of Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action for Health (COPASAH) from 2014 to 2020, the international global south network of accountability practitioners. 

He was the coordinator of the global symposium on Citizenship, Governance and Accountability in Health (Delhi, 15 – 19 October 2019). He was one of the co-initiators of Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS), Raichur, Karnataka in 1999. JMS is a Dalit women agricultural labourers’ collective, that addresses caste and gender-based structural oppression.

His praxis of social justice and rights-based development practice includes engaging with rural youth (Dakshina Kannada and Mangaluru, Karnataka), Kathkari tribal communities (Maharashtra), pavement dwellers (Mumbai), dam displaced communities (Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra), and Dalit women, manual scavengers, devadasis and agricultural labourers in Karnataka). 

His critical development practice has been enriched through his engagement with several social movements and campaigns in the country such as the National Alliance of People’s Movements, People’s Health Movement, Wage Workers’ Labour Unions, grassroots community-based organisations, and civil society coalitions at the national and international solidarity networks. 

As a human rights lawyer, he has practiced in judicial courts and has played a key role in organising training lawyers on issues of social justice in association with Karnataka Legal Service Authority, and legal training for civil society leaders resulting in over 300 application/​complaints and petitions with the Lokayukta, state and national human rights commissions on various issues of human rights violations.

He has a master’s degree in Social Sciences from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Law from Karnataka State Law University. He has a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Rights Law from the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru. He has a PhD degree in Public Health and Law from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. 

His academic studies have been interdisciplinary in nature and have been pursued alongside engaging with civil society on issues of social rights. He has received a Diploma in Human Rights Educators’ International Training from Equitas, at John Abbott College, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, near Montréal, Canada. 

He has delivered lectures on public health and ethics, qualitative research, the law-making process, the criminal justice system and structural issues, community health approaches, and social analysis in academic institutions. 

He has designed modules and conducted capacity-building short courses for public health managers, health care providers, and civil society leaders on social analysis, health and human rights, social accountability and governance, rights-based approaches to development practice, community-based monitoring, and access to health care services. 

As the executive editor of SEVAK, a popular Konkani monthly magazine published from Mangalore, and being on the editorial committees of civil society research and practice communiques, he has written over 75 pieces that include editorials, feature articles, and commentaries on contemporary socio-political issues in Konkani, Kannada and English languages.




Chapter in Edited Book

Journal Articles

Academic Dissertations

  • Pinto, E.P. (2017). Socio-political determinants of health care jurisprudence in post-independent India. (Doctoral thesis, Jawaharlal Nehru University).
  • Pinto, E.P. (2010). Public health law in India – A study on public health law in India with a special reference to Article 21 of the Constitution of India and judicial perspectives. (PG in Law Dissertation, Karnataka Law University).
  • Pinto, E.P. (2007). Right to Health as a Fundamental Right. (PG Diploma in Human Rights Law Dissertation, National Law School India University).
  • Pinto, E.P. (1999). An exploratory study on the life conditions of Dalits in Karnataka – Ethnographic study. (Master’s Degree in Social Sciences Dissertation, Tata Institute of Social Sciences).

Published Reports and Working Papers 

Collaborative Research Studies 

  • Social Justice Framework for Regulation of Health Services, Nossal Institute, Melbourne University (01 April – 31 July 2013).
  • Contributed to Legal Rights Index of the Hunger Reduction Commitment Index developed by IDS (Sussex), Oxfam India and PHFI Delhi (September – December 2012). 
  • Exploratory study of Village Health Sanitation Committees (VHSC) and Arogya Raksha Samiti (ARS) functioning in Karnataka. Undertaken in collaboration with Karnataka State Health Resource Centre, 2012.
  • Review of incentive scheme for government health personnel in Karnataka. Undertaken in collaboration with Karnataka State Health Resource Centre, 2012.
  • Review of utilisation on Janani Suraksha Yojane (JSY) in Karnataka. Collaborative research undertaken in collaboration with Karnataka State Health Resource Centre, 2012. 
  • Barriers to access healthcare and perpetuation of poverty and malnutrition among the Urban Poor‑A study on poverty, ill-health and malnutrition in 20 slums of Bengaluru. Undertaken in collaboration with Action Aid, 2012.

Other reports and thematic pieces

  • Pinto, E.P. (2016). Politics of evidence and maternal-reproductive health: Shifting policies in a weakened public health system and judicial response to denial of maternal and reproductive rights to health care. Centre for Health and Social Justice. 
  • Pinto, E.P., & Vasan, A. (2016). Doctored’ evidence to cul-de-sac’ of evidence: The challenges in fixing accountability of medical doctors in patient rights violations in the private health care sector. Centre for Health and Social Justice.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2016). Processing healthcare litigations in the Supreme Court of India: 
    Experiences of Petitioners.
    Centre for Health and Social Justice.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2011). Rapid assessment of the conditions of severely malnourished children in Karnataka. People’s Health Movement. 
  • Pinto, E.P. (2010). Bhangi Community’s protest by smearing excrement against discrimination, written in partnership with PUCL – K. Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action (SOCHARA).
  • Pinto, E.P. (2010). Invisible Guardians, Silent Victims – A collaborative study on the health status of the Pourakarmikas of Chitradurga Town (Karnataka), Bangalore: SOCHARA (2010).
  • Pinto, E.P. (2009). Fact Finding on Social Boycott on Dalits in Tadakal Village of Raichur District (Karnataka). Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action (SOCHARA).

Newspaper article

Online articles

Conference presentations (Recent)

He has presented over 50 papers in international and national conferences on subjects related to human rights, development, healthcare jurisprudence, maternal-reproductive health, patient rights, accountability and responsive health systems, people’s centred health systems, ethical analysis of institutional behaviour of health care providers and caste-discrimination and social justice. 

  • Pinto, E.P. (2023, January 13). Mediating patient rights through legal accountability of the medical profession and commercial healthcare sector. Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2022, October 14). Health justice in India: Context, experiences and future pathways. Health Justice Thinktank, Delhi.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2022, April 28). Judicial interventions and upholding the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS to combat stigma and discrimination: Judicial dilemmas and rays of hope. Global HIV Congress 2022.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2019, December 10). The challenges of health workers in India. Global Symposium on Health Workforce Accreditation and Regulation – Advancing the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health Milestones 2020, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Pinto, E.P, Obalesh, K.B., Narasamma. (2018, December 05). Dalits and Vulnerabilities- Unpacking structural, inter-sectional and existential layers of Dalit marginalisation and ethical challenges and dilemmas of their strategic empowerment: How can bio-ethics community respond? 14th World Congress of Bioethics and 7th National Bioethics Congress, Bengaluru, India. 
  • Pinto, E.P. (2018, December 07). Inequities, eclipsing rights and the hope of ethics: Foregrounding ethics for claiming health rights in India. 14th World Congress of Bioethics and 7th National Bioethics Congress. Bengaluru, India.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2017, July 20). Engaging judicial power to transform health systems.Accountability for Health Accountability. Institute of Development Studies, Sussex.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2017, February 11). Recognition of women’s rights to survive pregnancy and childbirth: A public health and health systems perspective. Reproductive Rights in Indian Courts: Celebrating Progress, Identifying Challenges, and Discussing the Way Forward, Centre for Health Law, Ethics and Technology (Jindal Global Law School, Delhi) and Centre for Reproductive Rights (New York), Delhi, India.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2017, January 13 – 15). The emergent ethics jurisprudence: An ethics perspective on the jurisprudence of emergency medical care litigations in India. 6th National Bio-ethics Conference: Healing and Dying with Dignity: Ethical Issues in Palliative Care, End-of-Life care and Euthanasia. Yashwantrao Chavan Academy Of Development Administration (YASHADA), Pune, India.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2016, June 27). Accountability process as integral to citizen empowerment and advocacy for their Right to Dignity. Governance and Reproductive Health Supplies. School of International Service, American University, Washington DC.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2016, December 10). Politics of health care and right to health care in India — Shifting policies in a weakened public health system and judicial response to denial of maternal and reproductive rights to health care. International Conference on Thinking with Evidence, Seeking Certainty, Making Truth. Lassnet, Delhi.
  • Pinto, E.P., & Vasan, A. (2016, December 10). Doctored evidence to cul-de-sac’ of evidence: The challenges in fixing accountability of medical doctors in patient rights violations in the private health care sector. Thinking with Evidence, Seeking Certainty, Making Truth. Lassnet, Delhi.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2016, November 14 – 18). Transforming maternal- reproductive health crises into opportunities for accentuating health system resilience by engaging judicial fora. Global Health Systems Research Symposium, International Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2016, November 14 – 18). Empowered citizen vs profit powered health business: Harnessing judicial power to challenge health as a commercial good’ towards reinforcing health as a public good’. Global Health Systems Research Symposium, International Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2015, December 12). Processing health care litigations in the Supreme Court of India: Experiences of petitioners. Supreme Court of India and Progressive Social Change. Azim Premji University, Bengaluru and the University of Chicago, Delhi, University of Chicago Centre.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2014, March 11). Bottom-up accountability and transparency praxis. Transparency Accountability Learn Open Community Workshop, TALearn, Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2014, September 7 – 9). Accountability and responsive health systems. International Symposium on Global Governance and Health: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Actors, Mechanisms and Processes and Implications for Population Health in India. Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India.
  • Pinto, E.P., & Das, A. (2014, September 30 – October 03). Open Learning Spirals: Pedagogical innovations for peer learning to facilitate knowledge translation and capacity building towards people-oriented health systems in South Asia. Global Health Systems Research Symposium, Convention Centre, Cape Town.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2014, December 13). Ethics deficit health care institutions – An ethical analysis of the institutional behaviour based on the select case studies.5th National Bio-ethics Conference, St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru, India.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2013, November 11). Role of contexts in accountability praxis. Escaping Universal Blueprints and Tiny Context Islands – Framing Patterns in the Transparency and Accountability Field to Guide Programming and Research, Open Society Foundations and Overseas Development Institute, London.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2012, June 15). Human Rights education for health activists. International Human Rights Training Programme 2012, St. John Abbot College and Equitas, Montréal, Canada.
  • Pinto, E.P. (2011, November 06). Human Rights violations and Dalit women. XI International Human Rights Colloquium, Conectas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Knowledge Resources and Toolkits

  • Conceptualised and contributed to Advancing Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights: A Resource Book for Practitioners on Human Rights Based Framework and Approach to RSHR. Centre for Health and Social Justice, Delhi (2018).
  • Designed ELearn CBM, an online resource material for online learning on social accountability in health. (2014) https://​www​.copasah​.net/​e​l​e​a​r​n​-​h​e​a​l​t​h​c​b​m​.html
  • Designed resource module Legal Empowerment for Rights Based Advocacy for the Handbook on Community Mobilisation of People with Unique Sexuality, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), Bengaluru (November 2011 – March 2012). 
  • Designed training module on Understanding Systemic Marginalisation and Discrimination and Legal Perspectives for Advocacy for sexual minorities. (Organisations: Sangama 2008 and Payana 2011).
  • Contributed to the training manual for resource persons in Community Monitoring published by NRHM and Government of Karnataka in collaboration with Karuna Trust. (January 2009).
  • Designed and co-authored training manual on training village members of Village Health and Sanitation Committee (Kannada), published by State Community Monitoring and Planning Team under the community participation component of NRHM. (2008).

Video Documentaries and Photo-Stories

On-going Projects

  • Research: Dalits among Dalits: An inquiry into the impact of multiple layers of marginalisation faced by Dalit women on their health and wellbeing. Research under the small research grants, Azim Premji University.
  • Gender identity as a determinant of mental health for LGBTIQ+ community (Co-authored paper for Springer Publications)
  • Reflections on Health Justice: The Indian Experience (A thought piece on the emerging idea of health justice prepared as a material for academic reference)
  • Reproductive health and Dalit Youth: A study of the context, conditionalities, and responses of Dalit young men and women to reproductive health issues
  • Video documentary on the 25 years of empowerment journey of Dalit women at Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane, Raichur. www​.jmschig​u​ru​.com
  • Reflection on critical social justice praxis. Documenting digitally and for publication the critical reflections on the 25 years of engagement with the empowerment of Dalit women through Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane, Raichur, Karnataka. www​.jmschig​u​ru​.com