Saif Mahmood

Research Visitor, Hilary & Trinity Term 2022


Saif Mahmood is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of India who also frequently appears before various other Indian courts as well as international and domestic arbitral tribunals. He holds a doctorate in Comparative Constitutional Law in South Asia. As a lawyer of long standing, he has vehemently defended free speech, democratic rights of the people and other human rights, both in and outside courts, and handled varied litigation involving complex issues of Civil, Public and Constitutional Laws. His professional interests also lie in Technology Innovation and Investment laws in the Indo-UK corridor and resolution of Infrastructure, Inter-Corporate and Commercial disputes and Media and Entertainment laws –subjects on which he has successfully handled a wide variety of cases.  

Recognized as an expert in Islamic Law in India, his works on the subject have been cited by a Constitution Bench of the Indian Supreme Court and are taught at various law schools. He co-edits the Delhi High Court’s Bar journal, Quarterly Bar Review and is co-author of the forthcoming book Supreme Court of India: A Jekyll & Hyde Story.  

Dr Mahmood’s other area of expertise is Urdu literature and its cultural history. His book on Urdu poetry in Mughal Delhi, Beloved Delhi: A Mughal City and Her Greatest Poets (Speaking Tiger, New Delhi, 2018) is widely-recognized as an authoritative work. He advises several cultural and literary organizations in South Asia and is a familiar face on television channels and literature festivals. His work appears regularly in national dailies and on news websites. He is currently working on a book on the life and works of the celebrated Urdu poet Majaz Lucknowi. 

While in residence at Oxford, Dr Mahmood will work on the status of free speech in Mughal courts with a focus on the treatment of dissenting and irreverent poets, and compare it with State and judicial responses to literary and cultural dissent in modern India.