Navtej Singh Ahluwalia


We are deeply saddened that following a battle with cancer, our colleague Navtej Singh Ahluwalia (Navi) sadly passed away, peacefully, on the 24th February 2018 at the age of 47.

Navi was a tireless and driven advocate of human rights and social justice. He had worked pro-bono with SHRG for almost two decades. He was a dedicated and highly accomplished barrister, respected and admired by his peers for his hard work ethic, his understated and selfless commitment to his clients and the causes that he championed.

When Navi joined the group he had worked on difficult and complex cases relating to asylum seekers fleeing persecution from India, notably Chahal v UK (1996) 23 EHRR 413 which led to change in UK law. As a barrister, he developed a successful practice in representing the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in challenging cases. In recent years, he worked on many issues the group has campaigned including,

Navi’s contribution in highlighting issues in Punjab led to changes in India’s policy and laws. He attended several UN forums and sent reports under special procedures. Notably was the preparation of the document presented to the Periodic Country Review Committee in 1997 which concentrated on torture and led to India signing the convention on Torture in 1998 at the UN.

His work on a distinctive understanding of Sikhs and the problems they face in addressing unintended discrimination was understood at the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism. It led to adoption of Para 67 asking States to address those obstacles.

Navi’s contribution to the SHRG’s efforts to stop World heritage status being declared for Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) succeeded in preventing Sri Darbar Sahib going into direct management of the Indian State. It was a tough battle eventually won.

Navi further did exhaustive work on the French turban case. That work is still ongoing. He was a pillar of SHRG work bringing tremendous intellectual input, skills and tireless work.

Many have paid tribute to how approachable and down to earth he was.

Navi worked closely with Manjit Gill QC, on a number of important cases recently representing Coram Children’s Legal Centre intervening in the Supreme Court in SM(Algeria) v Secretary of State [2018] UKSC 9 – (any others?).

We are immensely proud of Navi’s achievements and his loss will be acutely felt by the legal profession, the human rights fraternity and the Sikh community. Our heartfelt condoles and sympathy to his family, Ansa and his two young children, Nya and Dhyaan.

His funeral will take place at South West Middlesex Crematorium, 355 Hounslow Road, Feltham, TW13 5JH at 10am on Saturday, 3rd March 2018, followed by prayers and langar (food) at the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara, 142 Martindale Road, Hounslow, TW4 7HQ.