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CHANAKYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY

Final draft of project of Legal Research & Methodology


On

“RIGHT TO FREE LEGAL AID”

Submitted to : Submitted by:


Mr. VIJAYANT SINHA AASHISH MITTAL
Faculty of Legal Research & Methodology ROLL NO.: 1901

1
DECLARATION BY THE CANDIDATE
I, hereby declare that the work reported in the B.A LLB. (Hons.) Project titled
“RIGHT TO FREE LEGAL AID” submitted at CHANAKYA NATIONAL
LAW UNIVERSITY, Patna is an authentic record of my work carried under
the supervision of Mr. Vijayant Sinha. I have not submitted this work
elsewhere for any other degree or diploma. I am fully responsible for the
content of my project report.

(Signature of the candidate)

AASHISH MITTAL
B.A.LLB (Hons)
1st YEAR
SEMESTER 1st
CNLU, PATNA

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I would like to show my gratitude towards my guide Professor, Vijayant Sinha


faculty of LEGAL RESEARCH & METHODOLOGY, under whose
guidance, I structured my project.

I owe the present accomplishment of my project to our CNLU librarian, who


helped me immensely with the materials throughout the project and without
whom I couldn’t have completed it in the present way.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to my friend and all those unseen
hands that helped me out at every stage of my project.

THANK YOU

AASHISH MITTAL

SEMESTER 1st

CNLU, Patna

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No.

1. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………….5

➢ LEGAL AID: THE CONCEPT INDIA ……………………………7

➢ LEGAL AID IN INDIA: STATUTORY RECOGNITION ………..10

➢ BODIES UNDER THE ACT AND THEIR HIERARCHY ……….12

2. CONSTITUTION OF INDIA (ARTICLE 39A) ………………………14

3. ROLE OF GOVERNMENT ……………………………………………15


➢ CENTRAL GOVERNMENT ……………………………………….16

➢ STATE GOVERNMENT ……………………………………………19

4. ROLE OF DISTRICT LEGAL AID CELL COMMITTEE ………….21

5. INITIATIVES TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT …………………………23

6. GROUNDS ON WHICH LEGAL AID CAN BE CANCELLED …….26

7. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS ………………………………27

8. BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………………………………………………….29

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I. INTRODUCTION

The concept of seeking justice cannot be equated with the value of dollars. Money
plays no role in seeking justice.
Legal aid to the poor and weak is necessary for the preservation of rule of law which
is necessary for the existence of the orderly society. Until and unless poor illiterate
man is not legally assisted, he is denied equality in the opportunity to seek justice.
Therefore as a step towards making the legal service serve the poor and the deprived;
the judiciary has taken active interest in providing legal aid to the needy in the recent
past. The Indian Constitution provides for an independent and impartial judiciary and
the courts are given power to protect the constitution and safeguard the rights of
people irrespective of their financial status. Since the aim of the constitution is to
provide justice to all and the directive principles are in its integral part of the
constitution, the constitution dictates that judiciary has duty to protect rights of the
poor as also society as a whole. The judiciary through its significant judicial
interventions has compelled as well as guided the legislature to come up with the
suitable legislations to bring justice to the doorsteps of the weakest sections of the
society. Public Interest Litigation is one shining example of how Indian judiciary has
played the role of the vanguard of the rights of Indian citizens especially the poor. It
encouraged the public spirited people to seek justice for the poor. For that Supreme
Court relaxed procedure substantially. Apart from Public Interest Litigation and
judicial activism, there are reforms in the judicial process, where it aims to make
justice cheap and easy by introducing Lok Adalat system as a one of the methods to
provide free legal aid and speedy justice at the door steps of the poor. In this article
the author highlights the importance of free legal aid in a constitutional democracy
like India where a significant section of the population has still not seen the
constitutional promises of even the very basic fundamental rights being fulfilled for
them.

OBJECTIVE OF RESEARCH

To highlight the importance of free legal aid in a constitutional democracy like India
where a significant section of the population has still not seen the constitutional
promises of even the very basic fundamental rights being fulfilled for them.

HYPOTHESIS

The essence of free legal aid has not yet successfully reached out to the masses.

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LIMITATION:

This research paper is done relying on articles and essays published by authors
online and books written on the law relating to the subject matter. Though such
books are referred they do not contribute to the bulk of the research and my research
is mostly confined with the online sources. The area of research is restrained only to
the concept of legal aid and its present day challenges.

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LEGAL AID: THE CONCEPT

Legal Aid implies giving free legal services to the poor and needy who cannot afford
the services of a lawyer for the conduct of a case or a legal proceeding in any court,
tribunal or before an authority. Legal Aid is the method adopted to ensure that no one
is deprived of professional advice and help because of lack of funds. Therefore, the
main object is to provide equal justice is to be made available to the poor, down
trodden and weaker section of society. In this regard Justice P.N. Bhagwati rightly
observed that:1
The legal aid means providing an arrangement in the society so that the missionary of
administration of justice becomes easily accessible and is not out of reach of those
who have to resort to it for enforcement of its given to them by law, the poor and
illiterate should be able to approach the courts and their ignorance and poverty
should not be an impediment in the way of their obtaining justice from the courts.
Legal aid should be available to the poor and illiterate, who don't have access to
courts. One need not be a litigant to seek aid by means of legal aid.
Therefore, legal aid is to be made available to the poor and needy by providing a
system of government funding for those who cannot afford the cost of litigation.
Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit
and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of
the society. It is worthy to mention that the Constitution of India provides2 that State
shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal
opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or
schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not
denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability. Constitution of India

1 Speaking through the Legal Aid Committee formed in 1971 by the State
of Gujarat on Legal Aid with its Chairman, Mr. P.N. Bhagwati along with its
members, Mr. J.M. Thakore, A.G., Mr. VV Mehta, Deputy Speaker, Gujarat Vidhan
Sabha, Mr. Madhavsinh F. Solanki, M.L.A, Mr. Girishbhai C. Patel, Principal, New
Lal College, Ahemdabad. His Lord ship answered to the question of inequality in the
administration of justice between the rich and the poor. 2 Article 39A of the Indian
Constitution
7
also makes it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system
which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all2.

FREE LEGAL AID IN INDIA : THE POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION OF


JUDICIARY
The Supreme Court of India got a major opportunity to make an emphatic
pronouncement regarding the rights of the poor and indigent in judgment of
Hussainara Khatoon3 where the petitioner brought to the notice of Supreme Court
that most of the under trails have already under gone the punishment much more than
what they would have got had they been convicted without any delay. The delay was
caused due to inability of the persons involved to engage a legal counsel to defend
them in the court and the main reason behind their inability was their poverty. Thus,
in this case the court pointed out that Article 39-Aemphasized that free legal service
was an inalienable element of reasonable, fair and just procedure and that the right to
free legal services was implicit in the guarantee of Article 21.
Two years later, in the case of Khatri v. State of Bihar4, the court answered the
question the right to free legal aid to poor or indigent accused who are incapable of
engaging lawyers. It held that the state is constitutionally bound to provide such aid
not only at the stage of trial but also when they are first produced before the
magistrate or remanded from time to time and that such a right cannot be denied on
the ground of financial constraints or administrative inability or that the accused did
not ask for it. Magistrates and Sessions Judges must inform the accused of such
rights. The right to free legal services is an essential ingredient of reasonable, fair and

2 Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Indian Constitution.

3 Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar, (1980) 1 SCC 98.

4 Khatri v. State of Bihar,


AIR 1981 SC 262. 6 AIR 1986 SC
991.
8
just procedure for a person accused of an offence and it must be held implicit in the
guarantee of Article 21 and the State is under a constitutional mandate to provide a
lawyer to an accused person if the circumstances of the case and the needs of justice
so require…The State cannot avoid this obligation by pleading financial or
administrative inability or that none of the aggrieved prisoners asked for any legal
aid.
In Suk Das v. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh6, Justice P.N. Bhagwati,
emphasized the need of the creating the legal awareness to the poor as they do not
know the their rights more particularly right to free legal aid and further observed
that in India most of the people are living in rural areas are illiterates and are not
aware of the rights conferred upon them by law. Even literate people do not know
what are their rights and entitlements under the law. It is this absence of legal
awareness they are not approaching a lawyer for consultation and advise. Moreover,
because of their ignorance and illiteracy, they cannot become self-reliant and they
cannot even help themselves. That is why promotion of legal literacy has always
been recognized as one of the principal items of the program of the legal aid
movement in the country. I would say that even right to education would not fulfill
its real objective if education about legal entitlements is not made accessible to
people and our constitutional promise of bringing justice to the door stepsof the
people would remain an illusion.
Justice Krishna Iyer, who is crusader of social justice in India, had rightly said
that ‗if a prisoner sentenced to imprisonment is virtually unable to exercise his
constitutional and statutory right of appeal inclusive of special leave to the Supreme
Court for want of legal assistance, there is implicit in the Court under Article 142
read with Articles 21 and 39-A of the Constitution, the power to assign counsel for
such imprisoned individual ‗for doing complete justice‘.5
It is a statutorily recognized public duty of each great branch of government to
obey the rule of law and uphold the tryst with the constitution by making rules to

5 M.H. Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra (1978) 3 SCC 81.


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effectuate legislation meant to help the poor. 6 Though the law has been enacted to
protect the poor the governments are lazy to implement the enacted law. The same
was observed by Supreme Courtin State of Haryana v. Darshana Devi9, that "the
poor shall not be priced out of the justice market by insistence on court-fee and
refusal to apply the exemptive provisions of order XXXIII, CPC. The state of
Haryana, mindless of the mandate of equal justice to the indigent under the magna
carta of republic, expressed in article 14 and stressed in article 39A of the
constitution, has sought leave to appeal against the order of the high court which has
rightly extended the 'pauper' provisions to auto-accident claims. Order XXXIII will
apply to tribunals, which have the trappings of the civil courtǁ…even court also
expressed its poignant feeling that ―no state has, as yet, framed rules to give effect
to the benignant provision of legal aid to the poor in order xxxiii, rule 9A, civil
procedure code, although several years have passed since the enactment. Parliament
is stultified and the people are frustrated. Even after a law has been enacted for the
benefit of the poor, the state does not bring it into force by willful default.

LEGAL AID IN INDIA: STATUTORY RECOGNITION


Though there was a statutory procedure providing free legal aid 7 by appointing
the advocate for defending criminal case and by exempting court fees in civil cases, it
was not really making any significant impact on the ability of the underprivileged
people to get the judicial redressal for their grievances. Hence under tremendous
constitutional persuasion from the Supreme Court the Legal Services Authorities Act,
1987 was passed by the parliament of India. The Act prescribes the criteria for giving
legal services to the eligible persons. It makes a person eligible for assistance under
the act if he is - (a) a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe;
(b) a victim of trafficking in human beings or begar as referred to in Article 23 of
the Constitution;

6 Order 33, Rule 9A,Code Civil


Procedure,1908. 9 AIR 1972 SC 855.

7 Section 304(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure and Order 33, Rule 17


of Code of Civil Procedure. 11 Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities
Act, 1987.
10
(c) a woman or a child;

(d) a mentally ill or otherwise disabled person;

(e) a person under circumstances of undeserved want such as being a victim of a


mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or
industrial disaster; or
(f) an industrial workman; or
(g) in custody, including custody in a protective home or in a juvenile home

(h) of in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of

clause (g) of section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987; or


(i) A person whose annual income less than rupees fifty thousand or such other
higher amount as may be prescribed by the State Government11.
This limit on income can be increased by the state governments.
Limitation as to the income does not apply in the case of persons belonging to the
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, women, children, handicapped, etc. Thus by this
the Indian Parliament took a step forward in making the legal aid possible in the
country.
According to the Act the 'court' is a civil, criminal or revenue court and
includes any tribunal or any other authority constituted under any law for the time
being in force, to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions8 . Under the Act 'legal
service' includes the rendering of any service in the conduct of any case or other legal
proceeding before any court or other authority or tribunal and the giving of advice on
any legal matter13.
Legal Services Authorities after examining the eligibility criteria of an
applicant and the existence of a prima facie case in his favour provide him counsel at
State expense, pay the required Court Fee in the matter and bear all incidental
expenses in connection with the case. The person to whom legal aid is provided is not
called upon to spend anything on the litigation once it is supported by a Legal
Services Authority.

8 Section 2(1) (a) of the Legal Service


Authority Act,1987. 13 Section 2(1)(c) of the
Legal Service Authority Act,1987.
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BODIES UNDER THE ACT AND THEIR HIERARCHY
A nationwide network has been envisaged under the Act for providing legal aid
and assistance. National Legal Services Authority is the apex body constituted to lay
down policies and principles for making legal services available under the provisions
of the Act and to frame most effective and economical schemes for legal services.
In every State a State Legal Services Authority is constituted to give effect to
the policies and directions of the Central Authority (NALSA) and to give legal
services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. State Legal Services
Authority is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-
Chief. A serving or retired Judge of the High Court is nominated as its Executive
Chairman.
District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement
Legal Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District. The District Judge of the District
is its ex-officio Chairman.
Taluk Legal Services Committees are also constituted for each of the Taluk or
Mandal or for group of Taluk or Mandals to coordinate the activities of legal services
in the Taluk and to organize Lok Adalats. Every Taluk Legal Services Committee is
headed by a senior Civil Judge operating within the jurisdiction of the Committee
who is its ex-officio Chairman.
In order to provide free and competent legal service, the NALSA has framed
the National Legal Service Authority (Free and competent Legal service)
Regulations, 2010. The salient feature of Regulation is engaging senior competent
lawyers on payment of regular fees in special cases like where the life and liberty of
a person are in jeopardy.
Supreme Court of India has also set up Supreme Court Legal Services
Committee (SCLSC) to ensure free legal aid to poor and under privileged under the
Legal Services Authorities Act. It is headed by a judge of Supreme Court of India and
has distinguished members nominated by Chief justice of India. The SCLSC has a
panel of competent Advocates on record with certain minimum number of years of

12
experience who handle the cases in the Supreme Court. Apart from that the SCLSC
has full time Legal Consultant who provides legal advise to poor litigants either on
personal visit or through the post.

13
CHAPTER 2
CONSTITUTION OF INDIA (ARTICLE 39A)

State Central Government


Year 1950
Section Title Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid
Act Info:

1. 9[39A. Equal justice and free legal aid


The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a
basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable
legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing
justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.]

By virtue of article 39A of the Indian Constitution, the States are directed to provide
free legal aid to the weaker and poorer sections of the society. Articles 14 and 22(1)
of the Constitution also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before the
law and a legal system which promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity to
all. Even in the procedural law of our country, the provisions of legal aid have been
laid down under section 304 of Cr.P.C which states that if the accused does not have
sufficient means to engage a lawyer, the court must provide one for the defense of the
accused at the expense of the State. The right to speedy trial and free legal aid have
been recognised as being part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article
21 of the Indian Constitution.

9 Inserted by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, section 8 (w.e.f.


3-1-1977).
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CHAPTER 3
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
With the object of providing free legal aid, the Government of India had, by a
resolution dated 26th September, 1980 appointed a Committee known as Committee
for Implementing Legal Aid Schemes (CILAS) under the chairmanship of Chief.
Justice P.N. Bhagwati to monitor and implement legal aid programs on a uniform
basis in all the States and Union Territories. ‘CILAS’ evolved a model scheme for
legal aid programs applicable throughout the country by which several legal aid and
advice Boards were set up in the States and Union Territories.

Legal aid is an essential part of the Administration of Justice. Access to Justice for all
is the motto of the Authority. The goal is to secure justice to the weaker sections of
the society, particularly to the poor, downtrodden, socially backward, women,
children, handicapped etc. but steps are needed to be taken to ensure that nobody is
deprived of an opportunity to seek justice merely for want of funds or lack of
knowledge.

The National Legal Services Authority is a statutory body which has been set up for
implementing and monitoring legal aid programs in the country. The Supreme Court
Legal Services Committee has also been constituted under the Act. In every High
Court also, The High Court Legal Services Committees are being established to
provide free legal aid to the eligible persons in legal matters coming before the High
Courts. The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 also provides for constitution of the
State Legal Services Committees, High Court Legal Services Committees, District
Legal Services Committees and Taluk Legal Services Committees.

According to Section 2(1) (a) of the Act, legal aid can be provided to a person for a
'case' which includes a suit or any proceeding before a court. Section 2(1) (a) defines
the 'court' as a civil, criminal or revenue court and includes any tribunal or any other
authority constituted under any law for the time being in force, to exercise judicial or
quasi-judicial functions. As per Section 2(1)(c) 'legal service' includes the rendering
15
of any service in the conduct of any case or other legal proceeding before any court
or other authority or tribunal and the giving of advice on any legal matter.

Legal Services Authorities after examining the eligibility criteria of an applicant and
the existence of a prima facie case in his favour provide him counsel at State expense,
pay the required Court Fee in the matter and bear all incidental expenses in
connection with the case. The person to whom legal aid is provided is not called upon
to spend anything on the litigation once it is supported by a Legal Services Authority.

Under The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 every citizen whose annual income
does not exceed Rs 9,000 is eligible for free legal aid in cases before subordinate
courts and high courts. In cases before the Supreme Court, the limit is Rs 12,000.
This limit can be increased by the state governments. Limitation as to the income
does not apply in the case of persons belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled
tribes, women, children, handicapped, etc.

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
A nationwide network has been envisaged under the Act for providing legal aid
and assistance. National Legal Services Authority is the apex body constituted to lay
down policies and principles for making legal services available under the provisions
of the Act and to frame most effective and economical schemes for legal services.
In every State a State Legal Services Authority is constituted to give effect to
the policies and directions of the Central Authority (NALSA) and to give legal
services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. State Legal Services
Authority is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-
Chief. A serving or retired Judge of the High Court is nominated as its Executive
Chairman.
District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement
Legal Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District. The District Judge of the District
is its ex-officio Chairman.
16
Taluk Legal Services Committees are also constituted for each of the Taluk or
Mandal or for group of Taluk or Mandals to coordinate the activities of legal services
in the Taluk and to organize Lok Adalats. Every Taluk Legal Services Committee is
headed by a senior Civil Judge operating within the jurisdiction of the Committee
who is its ex-officio Chairman.
In order to provide free and competent legal service, the NALSA has framed
the National Legal Service Authority (Free and competent Legal service)
Regulations, 2010. The salient feature of Regulation is engaging senior competent
lawyers on payment of regular fees in special cases like where the life and liberty of
a person are in jeopardy.
Supreme Court of India has also set up Supreme Court Legal Services
Committee (SCLSC) to ensure free legal aid to poor and under privileged under the
Legal Services Authorities Act. It is headed by a judge of Supreme Court of India and
has distinguished members nominated by Chief justice of India. The SCLSC has a
panel of competent Advocates on record with certain minimum number of years of
experience who handle the cases in the Supreme Court. Apart from that the SCLSC
has full time Legal Consultant who provides legal advise to poor litigants either on
personal visit or through the post.

BODIES UNDER THE ACT AND THEIR HIERARCHY

A nationwide network has been envisaged under the Act for providing legal aid

and assistance. National Legal Services Authority is the apex body constituted to lay

down policies and principles for making legal services available under the provisions

of the Act and to frame most effective and economical schemes for legal services.

In every State a State Legal Services Authority is constituted to give effect to

the policies and directions of the Central Authority (NALSA) and to give legal

services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. State Legal Services

17
Authority is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-

Chief. A serving or retired Judge of the High Court is nominated as its Executive

Chairman.

District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement

Legal Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District. The District Judge of the District

is its ex-officio Chairman.

Taluk Legal Services Committees are also constituted for each of the Taluk or

Mandal or for group of Taluk or Mandals to coordinate the activities of legal services

in the Taluk and to organize Lok Adalats. Every Taluk Legal Services Committee is

headed by a senior Civil Judge operating within the jurisdiction of the Committee

who is its ex-officio Chairman.

In order to provide free and competent legal service, the NALSA has framed

the National Legal Service Authority (Free and competent Legal service)

Regulations, 2010. The salient feature of Regulation is engaging senior competent

lawyers on payment of regular fees in special cases like where the life and liberty of

a person are in jeopardy.

Supreme Court of India has also set up Supreme Court Legal Services

Committee (SCLSC) to ensure free legal aid to poor and under privileged under the

Legal Services Authorities Act. It is headed by a judge of Supreme Court of India and

has distinguished members nominated by Chief justice of India. The SCLSC has a

panel of competent Advocates on record with certain minimum number of years of

experience who handle the cases in the Supreme Court. Apart from that the SCLSC

18
has full time Legal Consultant who provides legal advise to poor litigants either on

personal visit or through the post.

STATE GOVERNMENT

a To give effect to the policies and directions of the Central Authority.


To provide legal service to persons who satisfy the criteria laid down in the Legal
b
Services Authorities Act, 1987.
c To conduct Lok Adalats at various levels.
To encourage the settlement of disputes by way of Negotiation, Arbitration and
d
Conciliation.
e To secure the legal rights of poor, down trodden and weaker section of the society.
To ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal
f
opportunity.
To give people a platform where they receive effective counseling in order to resolve
g
their disputes in an amicable manner and at pre-litigative stage.
h To carry out legal literacy campaign across the Union Territory,Chandigarh.
To publicize legal aid schemes so that the target group, for whom Legal Services
I Authorities Act has provided for free legal aid, may come to know about the same and
approach the concerned legal service functionaries.
To make special efforts to enlist the support of voluntary social welfare institutions
j working at the grass-root level, particularly among the Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes, Women and Rural and Urban labour.
To act in coordination with other governmental agencies, non-governmental voluntary
k social service institutions, universities and other bodies engaged in the work of
promoting the cause of legal services to the poor.
To sensitize people about the aims and objectives of the Legal Services Authorities
l
Act, 1987 and their legal rights.
To perform such other functions as the State Authority may, in consultation with the
m
Central Authority, prescribe by regulations.

19
CHAPTER 4

ROLE OF DISTRICT LEGAL AID CELL COMMITTEE

The State Government shall in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court,
constitute a body to be called the District Legal Services Authority for every District
in the State to exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred on, or
assigned to the District Authority under this Act.

District Authority shall consist of -

(a) The District Judge who shall be its Chairman; and

(b) such number of other Members, possessing such experience and


qualifications as may be prescribed by the State Government, to be nominated by that
Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.

The State Authority shall, in consultation with the Chairman of the District
Authority appoint a person belonging to the State Judicial Service not lower in rank
than that of a Subordinate Judge or Civil Judge posted at the seat of the District
Judiciary as Secretary of the District Authority to exercise such powers and perform
such duties under the Chairman of that Committee as maybe assigned to him by such
Chairman.

The terms of office and other conditions relating thereto, of Members and Secretary
of the District Authority shall be such as may be determined by regulations made by
the State Authority in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.

The District Authority may appoint such number of officers and other employees as
may be prescribed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of
the High Court for the efficient discharge of its functions.

The officers and other employees of the District Authority shall be entitled to such
salary and allowances and shall be subject to such other conditions of service as may
be prescribed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the
High Court.

The administrative expenses of every District Authority, including the salaries,


allowances and pensions payable to the Secretary, officers and other employees of the
District Authority shall be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund of the State.

All orders and decisions of the District Authority shall be authenticated by the
Secretary or by any other officer of the District Authority duly authorised by the
Chairman of that Authority.

20
No Act or proceeding of a District Authority shall be invalid merely on the ground
of the existence of any vacancy in, or any defect in the constitution of, the District
Authority.

Functions of District Authority

It shall be the duty of every District Authority to perform such of the functions of the
State Authority in the District as may be delegated to it from time to time by the State
Authority. Without prejudice to the generality of the functions referred to in sub-
section (1)

The District Authority may perform all or any of the following functions, namely -

(a) co-ordinate the activities of the Taluk Legal Services Committee and other
legal services in the District;
(b) organise Lok Adalats within the Districts; and (c) perform such other
functions as the State Authority may fix by regulations.

21
CHAPTER 5

INITIATIVES TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT

The objectives of Legal Aid are to provide;


• legal advice,
• legal representation
• public education on legal matters to indigent persons
In order to accomplish these goals the government both at the centre as well as the
state level do implement various schemes so that no poor, vulnerable, isolated
sections of the society are left untouched.

A nationwide network has been envisaged under the Act for providing legal aid and
assistance. National Legal Services Authority is the apex body constituted to lay
down policies and principles for making legal services available under the provisions
of the Act and to frame most effective and economical schemes for legal services. It
also disburses funds and grants to State Legal Services Authorities and NGOs for
implementing legal aid schemes and programmes.

In every State a State Legal Services Authority is constituted to give effect to the
policies and directions of the Central Authority (NALSA) and to give legal services
to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. State Legal Services Authority is
headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-Chief. A
serving or retired Judge of the High Court is nominated as its Executive Chairman.

District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement Legal


Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District. The District Judge of the District is its
ex-officio Chairman.

Taluk Legal Services Committees are also constituted for each of the Taluk or Mandal
or for group of Taluk or Mandals to coordinate the activities of legal services in the
Taluk and to organise Lok Adalats. Every Taluk Legal Services Committee is headed
by a senior Civil Judge operating within the jurisdiction of the Committee who is its
ex-officio Chairman.

22
Some schemes are also envisaged by the government which are as follows:

Individual Schemes
1. Scheme for Para-Legal Volunteers
2. Schemes for Legal Services to Disaster Victims through Legal Services
Authorities
3. NALSA(Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation)
Scheme, 2015
4. NALSA(Legal Services to the Workers in the Unorganized Sector)
Scheme, 2015
5. NALSA(Child Friendly Legal Services to Children and their Protection)
Scheme, 2015
6. NALSA(Legal Services to the Mentally Ill and Mentally Disabled Persons)
Scheme, 2015
7. NALSA(Effective Implementation of Poverty Alleviation Schemes)
Scheme, 2015
8. NALSA(Protection and Enforcement of Tribal Rights) Scheme, 2015
9. NALSA(Legal Services to the Victims of Drug Abuse and Eradication of
Drug Menace), Scheme, 2015
10. NALSA (Legal Services to Senior Citizens) Scheme, 2016
11. NALSA (Legal Services to Victims of acid attacks) Scheme, 2016

COMPENDIUM OF SCHEMES

1. NALSA (Legal Services to Disaster Victims Through Legal Services Authorities)


Scheme, 2010

2. NALSA (Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation) Scheme,


2015

3. NALSA (Legal Services to the Workers in the Unorganized Sector) Scheme, 2015

4. NALSA (Child Friendly Legal Services

to Children and their Protection) Scheme, 2015

5. NALSA (Legal Services to the Mentally Ill and Mentally Disabled Persons)
Scheme 2015

6. NALSA (Effective Implementation of Poverty Alleviation Schemes) Scheme, 2015


23
7. NALSA (Protection and Enforcement of Tribal Rights) Scheme, 2015

8. NALSA (Legal Services to the Victims of Drug Abuse and the Eradication of the
Drug Menace) Scheme, 2015

9. NALSA (Legal Services to Senior Citizens) Scheme, 2016

10. NALSA (Legal Services to Victims of Acid Attack) Scheme, 2016

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CHAPTER 6

GROUNDS ON WHICH LEGAL AID CAN BE CANCELLED

When can legal aid be cancelled by the Legal Aid Board?


The Legal Aid Board may cancel legal aid to you in the following situations:

• You have required your lawyer to conduct the proceedings in such a


manner as to incur an unjustifiable expense;
• You have unreasonably insisted on the continuance of the proceedings;
• You have willfully failed to provide any required information; or
• You have made a false representation in furnishing information.

Legal aid may also be cancelled in the following situations:

• Upon your request


• Where you have failed to pay your assessed contribution despite
numerous reminders to do so
• Where you require the proceedings to be conducted unreasonably thus
incurring unjustifiable expenses
• Where you require unreasonably that the proceedings be continued
• Where you have wilfully failed to comply with the law as to information
to be furnished by you, or where you have made a false statement when
furnishing such information
• Where further information received shows that you fail the Means Test
• Where you no longer have any reasonable grounds to continue with the
case
• Where it is unreasonable for you to continue receiving legal aid.

As an example, legal aid may be cancelled if you unreasonably refuse to accept your
lawyer's advice or the Court's directions, or if you cannot be contacted despite
numerous attempts to do so.

What happens after legal aid is cancelled?

We will inform you that you will no longer be legally represented by LAB. You will
have to decide whether you wish to continue with your case in person or to engage a
private lawyer to represent you. If no action is taken on your part to continue with
your case, the Court may eventually strike out your case.

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CHAPTER 7

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

Legal aid is not a charity or bounty, but is an obligation of the state and right of

the citizens. The prime object of the state should be ―equal justice for allǁ. Thus,

legal aid strives to ensure that the constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and

spirit and equal justice is made available to the downtrodden and weaker sections of

the society. But in spite of the fact that free legal aid has been held to be necessary

adjunct of the rule of law10, the legal aid movement has not achieved its goal. There

is a wide gap between the goals set and met. The major obstacle to the legal aid

movement in India is the lack of legal awareness. People are still not aware of their

basic rights due to which the legal aid movement has not achieved its goal yet. It is

the absence of legal awareness which leads to exploitation and deprivation of rights

and benefits of the poor.

SUGGESTIONS

➢ It is suggested that it is the need of the hour that the poor illiterate people

should be imparted with legal knowledge and should be educated on their

basic rights which should be done from the grass root level of the country. For

that judiciary needs the support from state administration to conduct legal

literacy programme.

➢ The judiciary should focus more on Legal Aid because it is essential in this

present scenario where gulf between haves and have-nots is increasing day by

10 See note 6.
26
day. And elimination of social and structural discrimination against the poor

will be achieved when free Legal Aid is used as an important tool in bringing

about distributive justice.

➢ There are number of precedents as well as legislations to up hold the right to

free legal aid but they have just proven to be a myth for the masses due to their

ineffective implementation. Thus the need of the hour is that one should need

to focus on effective and proper implementation of the laws which are already

in place instead of passing new legislations to make legal aid in the country a

reality instead of just a myth in the minds of the countrymen.

➢ In providing Legal Aid, the Legal Aid institutions at all level should use proper

ADR methods so as to speed up the process of compromise between parties to

the case and with that matter will be settled without further appeal.

Free Legal Services Authorities must be provided with sufficient funds by the

State because no one should be deprived of professional advice and advice due to

lack of funds.

27
CHAPTER 8

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. http://indiancorruptjudges.com/Plot4Plot/fromweb/www.kar.nic.in/fnjpc/h-

mahrs.html

2. http://janhitlaw.in/K-%20113%20LEGAL%20HISTORY%20by%20Mr.

%20Zeshaan%20Sir.pdf

3. http://lawmin.nic.in/doj/justice/judicialimpactassessmentreportvol1.pdf

4. http://mohdyasinblsllb.blogspot.in/2014/10/history-of-courts-part-i-notes-

chapter.html

5. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045000626.html

6. http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/article/development-of-adalat-

system-during-the-time-of-warren-hastings-252-1.html

7. http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/article/judicial-system-

before-1947-1138-1.html

8. http://www.realityviews.in/2010/03/administration-of-bombay-legal-

system.html

9. http://www.realityviews.in/2010/04/part-9-indian-legal-history-judicial.html

10.http://www.slideshare.net/suvamsinha91/charter-of-1726

11.https://www.scribd.com/doc/74363948/Judicial-Set-in-Madras-Bombay

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