Highlights

  • CJ S Muralidhar made remarks on India's law system
  • S Muralidhar: law system works unequally for the poor & rich
  • lawyers from Dalit & Adivasi communities labelled as Maoist/Naxalite lawyers

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Laws work unequally for rich and poor: Odisha HC chief justice

"The poor believe that if you get any service for free or it is substantially subsidised, then you cannot demand quality,” Muralidhar said.

Odisha high court chief justice S Muralidhar has said that India's legal system is structured in such a way that promotes discrimination against the poor and works unequally for the poor and the rich.

Justice Muralidhar's remarks came on Thursday while addressing a lecture organised by Community for the Eradication of Discrimination in Education and Employment on “Appearing in Court: Challenges in Representing the Marginalised”.

He expressed his worry about the quality of legal aid, saying that those who get it do not really have a choice. "The poor believe that if you get any service for free or it is substantially subsidised, then you cannot demand quality,” he said.

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Justice Muralidhar said 21% of the undertrial population of 3.72 lakh in India and 21% of the convict population of 1.13 lakh belong to the Scheduled Caste. Similarly, 37.1% of convicts and 34.3% of the undertrials belong to OBCs. The corresponding percentage for Muslims – 17.4% and 19.5%, respectively.

Muralidhar said, if lawyers from Dalit and Adivasi communities work on human rights matters, they run the risk of being labelled as Maoist or Naxalite lawyers.

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