About Us.


The Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project (CPA Project) was founded in 2020 as a litigation, research and capacity-building intervention committed to ending the casteist policing and criminalisation of marginalised communities by the criminal legal system.

These communities include those previously officially criminalised under colonial laws, now classified as Denotified Tribal (DNT) communities or Vimukta communities, as well as other communities that are similarly persecuted and stigmatised.


Why do we do this work?


In 1871, the British colonial authorities enacted the Criminal Tribes Act to brand several nomadic and tribal communities as ‘hereditary criminals’ habituated to a life of crime. These communities were then subjugated as the ‘objects of policing’. Their freedoms, livelihoods and cultures were entirely suppressed through extensive surveillance and state control, including forced ‘reformatory’ settlements, coerced collection of personal data, separation of children from families etc. 

Even though this Act was repealed in 1952, the taint of criminality has persisted through vague laws and arbitrary police powers. They are often charged with false or petty cases, or cases of theft and house-breaking even in the absence of evidence. Many are perpetually trapped in the criminal justice system and are extremely vulnerable to extrajudicial police violence, harassment, extortion and sexual assault.

Our Team


Nikita Sonavane

Managing Trustee & Co Founder


Mrinalini Ravindranath

Research Head & Lawyer


Sagar Soni

Litigation Associate

We are supported by a rolling team of 4-6 paid interns and volunteers.

© 2021 – CPA Project. All rights reserved.