The struggle for access to and control over a space in which to live has made housing a central issue for the city of Mumbai. The city's history is one in which human rights and, in particular, the right to housing have played an important role. This article examines the Indian Supreme Court's development of the right to housing as an aspect of the right to life, placing this unique jurisprudence within the complex reality of life for Mumbai's inhabitants. The article traces the growth of this expansive human right through the Indian jurisprudence and then contrasts the housing rights case law with more recent litigation on the environment, urban growth, and rural development, in which the housing rights of marginalized communities have been radically refigured. The analysis reveals competing visions of how human rights should be interpreted and whose interests these norms should protect. In fact, as the article exposes, the contested interpretation of the right to housing is caught up in competing visions of India's social transformation into a new, "modern" state and the place of its marginalized citizens within that state. In this context, the right to housing emerges as a site of struggle through which the meaning of urban citizenship, participation, and the future of the city itself are contested. The article closes by offering some conclusions on the factors underlying the shift in popular and judicial human rights discourse, showing that competing visions of social transformation have had concrete impacts on the human rights of India's most marginalized citizens.
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