portrait of Nitika Khaitan

Nitika Khaitan is a criminal defense lawyer and LL.M. candidate at HLS, whose research focuses on the mental health of lawyers in India. Before her LL.M., she worked for two years in the chambers of Senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal in Delhi. After civil liberties crackdowns in 2019-20, she pro bono represented and secured bail for dozens of detainees from persecuted religious minorities and notable activists, including winning a landmark bail judgment under India’s anti-terror law.

With one of India’s leading democratic rights coalitions, she has published widely on political prisoners and repressive laws, and led numerous fact-finding investigations into police brutality and custodial deaths. She has authored several policy reports and led national advocacy campaigns on gender and sexuality rights, including on sexual harassment within the judiciary and laws discriminating against LGBTQ+ persons.

Her work has appeared in leading Indian journals and newspapers, including Economic and Political Weekly, The Caravan and The Indian Express. She has been featured by international publications including The New York Times, Financial Times and Al Jazeera. She holds a B.A. in Humanities magna cum laude from Yale University (2016), and an LL.B. from the University of Delhi (2019).

Executive Education Programs