MARTIN LUTHER KING: “Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere”.


Justice is not merely a service provided by the State; it is an inherent right of every human being. Marginalized communities encompass groups of people who experience social, economic, and financial discrimination, often due to factors such as language, caste, and customs. These individuals are excluded from participating fully in society's norms and opportunities. They are often considered vulnerable as they face barriers to exercising their voting rights, accessing government policies, and seeking justice through the legal system. However, justice can be pursued through two avenues: traditional court processes and alternative dispute resolution methods outside the courtroom.


India, as a welfare state, is obligated to ensure equal administration and access to justice, ensuring that no one is denied recourse to the courts. The principle of justice not only entails its actual delivery but also the perception of fairness. The preamble to the Indian Constitution underscores justice in social, economic, and political realms. Article 14 upholds the concept of equality before the law, affirming the duty of the state to ensure justice for all individuals, including marginalized groups. Fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, such as equal protection of laws and the right to life and personal liberty, are extended to all citizens, with the provision to seek legal redress in case of their violation. Additionally, Section 304 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, mandates the provision of legal representation at the state's expense for those who cannot afford it, ensuring fair trial and access to justice for all.


Marginalized communities face significant barriers in accessing the courts for justice due to various reasons:

• Lack of education and awareness about laws: Many individuals within these communities are not familiar with their constitutional rights and legal remedies. Establishing mechanisms to educate marginalized groups about their rights and legal options is essential to bridge this gap.

• Complex and costly legal procedures: The intricate and expensive process of seeking justice deters marginalized individuals from approaching the courts. Article 21 guarantees the right to a speedy trial, yet the convoluted nature of legal proceedings often results in prolonged trials, particularly for those who are illiterate and struggle to navigate the system.

• Economic constraints: Poverty serves as a significant barrier to accessing justice for marginalized groups. The financial burden associated with legal representation and court fees is often insurmountable for many. Consequently, individuals may opt for informal resolution methods outside of the court system, further exacerbating their vulnerability.

• Insufficient court infrastructure: Inadequate court infrastructure, particularly at the district level, contributes to delays in the dispensation of justice, violating the right to a speedy trial. This issue disproportionately affects marginalized individuals, compounding their difficulties in seeking legal recourse.

Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to enhance legal literacy, simplify legal procedures, alleviate economic burdens, and strengthen court infrastructure, particularly in underserved areas. By ensuring equitable access to justice, we can uphold the principles of fairness and equality enshrined in the Constitution for all members of society, including the marginalized.


The Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India are focusing on strengthening access to justice for marginalized section. Several steps are taken for empowering the poor and disadvantaged men and women to seek and demand justice services which are as follows:

→ Legal aid and Natural Justice
It is granted under article 21 which facilitate a free representation of a poor or weaker section in a court of law at States expenses. The main purpose of legal aid is to provide the poor and vulnerable sections of society the required legal assistance to enforce their rights in a court of law. A person entitled to free legal aid under the Act is exempt from payment of court fee. Lack of access to justice due to poverty, illiteracy violates this fundamental aspect of natural justice. Thus, the State must ensure that every person gets fair representation before court irrespective of his means and knowledge.

→ Legal Services Authorities Act,1987
Under article 39 it is the duty the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 was enacted to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of society. This provides social justice as well as economic justice. This act established National Legal Services Authority (“NALSA”) at the National Level, State Legal Services Authority(“SLSA”) at the State Level, District Legal Service Authority(“DLSA”) at the District Level, Taluk Legal Service Authority(“TLSA”) at the district level.

→ Alternate dispute redressal mechanism
This is the best mode to access for justice. The objective of this act is pending cases before the court can be referred to as Lok Adalat’s and are resolved amicably speedily. Lok adalats have all the powers of a civil court and the award of such lok-adalats is deemed to be a decree of a civil court and is final to which no appeal lies. The presiding officer can be a judicial officer or advocates or even social workers.

→ Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
This talk about Locus Standi. In PILs any member of the public or social group enacting bonafide could invoke the writ jurisdiction of the High courts and supreme courts, seeking redressal against violation of legal or constitutional rights of persons, who owing to their poverty could not approach the court for relief.

→ The need for adjudicatory mechanism:
One of the most fundamental requirements for providing to the citizens access to justice is to set-up an adjudicatory mechanism whether described as a Court, Tribunal, Commission or Authority, where a citizen can seek adjudication. The mechanism so provided must also be just, fair and objective in its approach. The mechanism so provided must be reasonably accessible for weaker community.


The primary goal of the state should be to ensure equal justice for all, with courts serving as the last bastion of hope for every individual. However, marginalized groups such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, women, religious minorities, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals often face significant hurdles in accessing the justice system. While the Indian Constitution pledges justice, equality, and protection of fundamental rights for all citizens, the reality for marginalized communities paints a different picture, revealing numerous obstacles in accessing justice. Despite these challenges, India remains committed to upholding the rule of law and fulfilling its constitutional obligations.