Dr. Ashwani Kumar, an eminent lawyer, thinker, author and a veteran parliamentarian was member of the Rajya Sabha for fourteen consecutive years till the end of his tenure in April 2016. During this time, he held various ministerial positions including Minister for Law and Justice. He was Special Envoy of PM Manmohan Singh to Japan (2013), was appointed as Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Forests (2015-2016) and also served as Chairman of the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha for "The Prevention of Torture Bill", 2010.
Dr. Kumar has represented India at the highest forums of diplomacy including the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and at the World Economic forum. He is a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court and a former Additional Solicitor General of India, widely recognized for the intellectual depth of his writings and parliamentary interventions. He was conferred with the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun”, by the Emperor of Japan in Tokyo on May 9, 2017 and was awarded the
“GuruNanak Dev Ji Achievers Award” by the Punjab Government on November 10, 2019.
Dr. Kumar was honoured with Honoris Causa by the Punjab University in 2005. He was a visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Trinity College Dublin (2016) and a visiting professor at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru (NLSIU) in 2019. He has spoken at the Oxford Human Rights Hub, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, University of Birmingham and Kings College London amongst others. His publications include Laws, Ideas & Ideology in Politics: Perspectives of an Activist (2003), Hope in a Challenged Democracy (2017), Ehsaas-o-Izhar (2018) - an anthology of selected pieces in Urdu verse and A Book of Wisdom (Under Print).
Dr. Kumar is a crusader for human rights and has taken up several causes including the enactment of a comprehensive Anti-custodial torture legislation for India, the issue of the right of the elderly to live with dignity and the human rights of Rohingyas. He has espoused the cause of liberty of human rights activists, apart from appearing before the Supreme Court to oppose pre-natal sex detection tests to prevent female foeticide.