Envisioning an Inclusive Legal System
CEDE (Community for the Eradication of Discrimination in Education and Employment) is a network of lawyers, law firms, judges, and other organisations and individuals, who are committed towards reforming the Indian legal profession.
Even 70 years after the enactment of the Constitution, there is systemic under-representation of Dalits (Scheduled Castes), Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), Other Backward Classes, Nomadic & Denotified communities, transgender individuals, persons with disabilities, people from North-East India, and other minorities in both the legal profession and the judiciary. In the absence of due representation, the legal profession and the judiciary cannot ever be truly representative of the historically marginalised.
What we do to reduce the gap in representation
Organising internships for the marginalised
CEDE organises internships for students from marginalised communities by crowdsourcing opportunities via the cession of social capital by the privileged in the legal profession. Our network of lawyers commits to offering at least one paid internship each year to a student selected by us from marginalized social backgrounds. We use a centralised system via which candidates apply and get shortlisted for these internship positions. The basis of selection is not only academic excellence, but various additional parameters including but not limited to caste, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, income, residence, and parent’s education, to ensure an intersectional selection. Further details regarding our selection process is available here.
If you would like to join our network of lawyers, please register here.
We are cognisant of the fact that opportunities are often not enough when the starting line differs so dramatically. Several technical and soft skills are not accessible to students from marginalised communities, either because they are simply not taught to them or even if taught, it is done in an intimidating way where knowledge of the basics is assumed. We host regular sessions where both soft and technical skills such as preparing a resume, email etiquette and legal research are taught. You can find recordings of these sessions on our YouTube channel and other resources here.
We believe research and advocacy are crucial components of any mission aimed at structural change. More importantly, there has not been much research done with respect to representation in the Indian legal field. CEDE conducts research focused on closing these gaps so that educated policy can be framed to remedy the current situation. We are currently working on a survey about the impact on marginalised students of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent implementation of online education. If you're a student during the pandemic, you can help us by filling our survey form here.
Why Representation Matters
CEDE Inaugural Lecture delivered by Justice DY Chandrachud on April 14th, 2021.
Disha Wadekar is an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court. She has worked as an associate at the chambers of Sr. Adv. Indira Jaising on constitutional matters including the Sabarimala case and the Jarnail Singh case (reservation in promotions). Wadekar has also headed a legal resource center set up under a project by London School of Economics. Her work has involved representation in cases of campus discrimination, atrocities against Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and custodial torture. Wadekar has also represented victims of violence at Bhima Koregaon in 2018. She has previously worked as a Consultant Advocate for Project 39A at National Law University, Delhi, and Centre for Women's Development Studies, New Delhi.
Anurag Bhaskar is an Assistant Professor at the Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat. He is also an affiliate faculty at the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, USA. He is recipient of Indian Equality Law Fellowship at Melbourne Law School, Australia, and the Bluestone Rising Scholar Award 2021, Brandeis University, USA. Anurag completed his LLM from Harvard Law School and his BA LLB from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU), Lucknow. He has also clerked for an year with Justice DY Chandrachud (Judge, Supreme Court of India). Read about his journey here.
Avinash Mathews is an advocate at the Supreme Court, working in the Chambers of Adv. Ninad Laud, previously having worked at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, Delhi. A gold medallist at the Jindal Global Law School and an Economics Graduate from St. Stephen's College, Delhi, he has also interned at the Chambers of Justice UU Lalit (Judge, Supreme Court of India). While in law school he assisted with the preparation of arguments for the Money Bill aspect of the KS Puttuswamy v. Union of India (II) (Aadhaar) case. Avinash was a business analyst at a multinational consulting firm, before deciding to pursue a career in law in the hopes of creating lasting social change.
Dakshayani Velayudhan Fellow
Hamsadhwani Alagarsamy is currently pursuing her BA.LLB from National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi. She is a writer with Feminism in India, an intersectional feminist media organisation. Further, she works with the Legal Collective for Students' Rights, an organisation that provides pro bono legal help to aggrieved students and does students' rights advocacy.
Jaipal Singh Munda Fellow
Arsalan Ahmed is a fourth-year law student at the Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University. He has an interest in Constitutional, Criminal, and Technology law and Public policy. He has previously worked with different litigation offices in Delhi at various forums.
Bojja Tharakam Fellow
Dev Vrat Arya is currently pursuing their B.A.LLB (Hons.) from The West Bengal National University for Juridical Sciences. Their fundamental interests lie in constitutional law, criminal law and philosophy, sociology, and studying the interplay of law with gender, caste, and sexuality. They have previously worked with various criminal litigators at trial courts and High Court at New Delhi. They have also worked as a researcher with Kautilya Society at WBNUJS working on the socio-legal aspects of Manual Scavenging in India. They are currently working as a Research Assistant at the chambers of Senior Advocate Indira Jaising.
Justice K. Ramaswamy Fellow
Sitamsini Cherukumalli is currently pursuing her LL.B from Jindal Global Law School. She has previously worked as a Campaigns Manager for Bebaak Collective (Voice of the Fearless), a forum of autonomous women’s movements fighting against fundamentalism and oppression. She is also currently a Research Volunteer at Parichay, a Legal Aid Clinic for NRC Appeals.