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This article reflects on the challenges faced in the process of improving access to justice and representation of the marginalized communities in the legal system. The author has drawn reflections from his own career as a human rights lawyer. Explaining this, the author first highlights the barriers faced by marginalized communities in the legal system, and then narrates the challenges faced by those who seek to represent the marginalised or espouse their causes. The emphasis of the article is on understanding what it means to be a marginalised person facing the barriers of the system. Lastly, the article suggests institutional measures to approach the challenges thrown up in the process of representing the marginalised.
The author acknowledges Mohd. Arsalan Ahmed, Aligarh Muslim University for his assistance in editing the article in the format required by the CASTE: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion.
The Editors of the Journal are grateful to CEDE team (Community for the Eradication of Discrimination in Education and Employment), for facilitating the process of publishing this article in the Journal. CEDE is a network of lawyers, law firms, judges, and other organisations and individuals, who are committed towards reforming the Indian legal profession. It was founded in April 2021 by Disha Wadekar (Lawyer, Supreme Court of India), Anurag Bhaskar (Assistant Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University, India), and Avinash Mathews (Lawyer, Supreme Court of India). Since its inception, CEDE is organising annual Dr Ambedkar Memorial Lectures. The first inaugural lecture in 2021 was delivered by Dr. Justice DY Chandrachud (Judge, Supreme Court of India) on the topic “Why Representation Matters”. On 14 April 2022, Dr. S. Muralidhar (Chief Justice, High Court of Orissa) delivered the second annual lecture on the topic “Appearing in Court: Challenges in Representing the Marginalised”. This article is an edited version of the lecture delivered by Dr. Justice Muralidhar.