Advocate, Social Activist and Former Bureaucrat
Abha Singh is a former civil servant and presently an advocate practicing in the Bombay High Court. She is a renowned social activist who has done considerable work in the realm of woman’s rights, gender equality and justice. She has done an M.Phil on Child Rights from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Abha Singh was the third runner-up and the lead woman finalist in the Times of India Lead India Campaign in 2008. She was further awarded the Chevening Scholarship to attend the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her talk ‘Honour Killings in India and the Legal Complications of Section 498A” at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London received widespread acclaim.
Abha Singh was also invited as a speaker at TEDx Oxbridge, conducted jointly by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in May, 2017.
Sensing the call of duty beyond service, she gave up a successful career in the Government to serve a larger cause by donning the robes of the legal profession. Abha Singh obtained a law degree from Bombay University while working as a Government.
Abha Singh took up the case of the two Palghar girls in right earnest when she learnt about their unlawful arrest by the Police for innocent comments on Facebook. Due to her perseverance the guilty cops were suspended and the girls were exonerated honorably.
Abha Singh has been successfully pursuing the Salman Khan Hit-and-Run case to ensure that the rule of law is upheld and the youth are educated against the hazards of drunken driving.
Through her NGO RannSamar, she offers free legal assistance advocacy to helpless women and slum dwellers who have been unfairly persecuted by local authorities and builders for land that is rightfully theirs.
Abha Singh is married to YP Singh and is the mother of two children who are pursuing a career in law.
A former civil servant turned lawyer, Abha Singh presently practices at the Bombay High Court. She firmly believes that true freedom requires a fair judicial system in which a power of few is not secured by the denial of rights of others.
She started her career as a Customs Appraiser in Bombay Custom House from 1991-94, followed by an illustrious career in the Postal Service from 1995 to 2012. She quit the coveted government job in order to work for the society and to champion the cause of the unheard and the silenced.
As a Director, Postal Services in Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai, Abha:
- Pioneered the usage of solar panels to power post offices thereby making advanced technology accessible to remotest villages.
- Brought remote Post Offices like Gauriganj to national attention when Rahul Gandhi inaugurated it.
- Worked actively to computerize post offices
- Made them senior citizen friendly
- Set up committees for women staff to ensure equality among the employees.
Her constant advocacy on women and governance affairs received strong public support. Deeply passionate to fight the existing socio-economic issues of society, she gave up her successful bureaucratic career in the Government and donned the robes of the legal profession.
Over the years she became a renowned social activist for the considerable work in the realm of women’s rights, gender equality and justice. Some of her work is a testament to her commitment toward fighting social injustice:
- Spoken vociferously in the media against gender inequality
- Wrote to the Governor of Maharashtra rebutting Justice Katju’s letter asking actor Sanjay Dutt to be pardoned. Abha underlined the flawed assertions made by Justice Katju and his usage if undue influence.
- Managed to obtain a stay from the court against their decision to demolish the Puncham Pyao water fountain opposite Bombay Gymkhana. The fountain was used by countless daily commuters to quench their thirst.
- Successfully pursued the Salman Khan hit-and-run caseto ensure that the rule of law is upheld.
- Fought for the illegal arrest of two Palghar girls who were detained for posting comments on Facebook. The guilty cops were suspended and the girls exonerated.
- She has filed and is pursuing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court seeking to provide ramps for access by physically challenged persons at public and commercial buildings in Mumbai;
- In the aftermath of the Kamala Mills fire tragedy in Mumbai, where 14 people died, she has filed a PIL seeking enforcement of the National Building Code and the Draft Special Regulations for Buildings Vulnerable to Manmade Disasters;
- Filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking removal of arbitrary restrictions on use of loudspeakers at public demonstrations in Mumbai. The Hon’ble High Court passed an order permitting her use to loudspeakers in non-silence zones for raising issues of public interest;
Abha’s achievements have also provided her opportunities to be on a public platform and be a voice of change.
- She was the third runner-upand the lead woman finalist in Times Of India Lead India Competition
- Was invited to speak on Honour Killings in India and the Legal Complications of Section 498A at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2010.
- Gave a talk at TEDx Oxbridge on the theme ‘Why laws in place do not empower women?’
- Has also authored a book “Stree Dasha aur Disha” which concentrates on women’s legal rights. The book has been released in Hindi to make it accessible to people in rural and urban areas. An Urdu version of the book is under preparation.
But recognizing the power of women’s rights for development of the nation, Abha Singh found Rann Samar Foundation. The Foundation works primarily in rural areas as 75% of India’s population resides in rural belts. Her NGO is passionate about providing vocational skills to women and girls for financial inclusion.
- Helpless women and slum dwellers who were unfairly persecuted by local authorities and builders who wanted to evict them from the land on which they were living were given free legal assistance.
- Has also given monetary aid to deserving girl students of “T D Mahila Maha Vidyalaya” Jaunpur for their further education.
- Emphasizes on the importance of providing quality education, affordable health care and supporting skill development in women / youth. Safety of women and children is of pivotal importance for her and she is also involved in taking initiatives to facilitate the rehabilitation of women prisoners.
- Reform over two hundred convicts, which included both men and women undergoing imprisonment in UP jails by imparting them vocational skills.
- Installation of a sanitary napkin machine in the village for increasing the prospects of employment and to eradicate the practice of girls dropping out of school.