IDIA Founder, Shamnad Basheer, passes away at 43

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]CCLAIMED legal scholar and lawyer Shamnad Basheer passed away on August 8, 2019. Born on May 14, 1976, he was 43-years-old.

A passionate advocate for Internet Equality and fairness in Intellectual Property Rights, Basheer founded the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA), which works to make legal education accessible for underprivileged students. His colleagues at the organisation confirmed his passing. Expressing their loss, the trust said, “we will continue to carry forward his legacy and work.”



It deeply saddens us to inform you that our founder, Prof. Shamnad Basheer has passed away. Each of us not only grieves at the passing of such a tremendous individual but also for the loss the IDIA family suffers. IDIA will continue to carry forward his legacy and work.



Known to take annual silent retreats in Bababundangiri, Karnataka. Shamnad was expected to return to Bangalore on August 5, this year. When he did not get in touch, colleagues began searching for him. On Thursday, his body was retreived from his car at 7:45pm.

According to NewsMinute, Superintendent of Police of Chikkamagaluru Harish Pandey said the police don’t suspect any foul play as of now. “He may have slept off in the car, and left the heater on. There was a key in the ignition. He had been incommunicado for five days. We mounted a search last night but could not find the car. Today we made a detailed search. There is dense fog and one can’t see anything,” SP Pandey told NewsMinute.

As details of his demise surface, the legal fraternity has come forward to mourn the loss of a great mind and good friend.

“What Shamnad has done for Indian law and legal education is profound. He put his knowledge and learning about intellectual property to the great public good by being a relentless advocate… He left a thousand flowers to bloom through the IDIA initiative,” said Vikram Raghavan, lead counsel for the World Bank.

Speaking on Shamnad’s demise, senior lawyer Anand Grover said, “the sudden passing of Shamnad Basheer comes as a great shock to all of us. An avid IP scholar, he was always full of innovative ideas. Always attempting the independent route he said in the Novartis case that he strove ‘to follow, like a true Buddhist, the middle path. His passing is a great loss, leaving a void in the IP circles.”

The founder of SpicyIP, India’s first blog on Intellectual Property Rights, Shamnad was named among the 50 global IP leaders “who are shaping the future of intellectual property” by the Managing Intellectual Property magazine.

In 2012, he worked for the rights of cancer patients by fighting Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which sought to patent a life-saving drug Glivec. The move would have made it impossible for other pharma companies to produce and sell a generic version of the drug at a more economical rate.

He further filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, which brought to light several issues related to the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for entrance into National Law Schools. A founder of Promoting Public Interest Lawyering (P-PIL) Shamnad was engaged in case to establish a Common Admission Test for all Indian law on the organisation’s behalf in Delhi High Court.

His work for the disabled will be remembered by all. Along with a team of activists, Shamnad fought to ensure copyrighted works are converted into accessible formats for persons with disabilities.

In 2014 he was awarded the Infosys Science Foundation Prize.

Shamnad graduated from National Law School of India University, Bengaluru. He further distinguished himself by completing his Masters from the University of Oxford and his MPhil with honours. He began his career in Anand and Anand law firm, where he quickly distinguished himself as a firebrand advocate for fair IP laws.

For over a decade, Shamnad worked as a Ministry of Human Resource Development Chaired Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. He was also acting as a visiting professor for George Washington University Law School and a research associate at the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Center (OIPRC).

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