This page covers about free legal aid to weaker sections of the society.
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides 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. Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. 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.
National Legal Services Authority
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
NALSA is located at New Delhi. In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.
In every District, District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.
Free Legal Services offered by NALSA/State Authority/District Authority
- Payment of court fee, process fees and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings;
- Providing Advocate in a legal proceedings;
- Obtaining and supply of certified copies of orders and other documents in legal proceedings.
- Preparation of appeal, paper book including printing and translation of documents in legal proceedings.
Eligible persons for getting free legal services
- Women and children
- Members of SC/ST
- Industrial workmen
- Victims of mass disaster, violence, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster.
- Disabled persons.
- Person in custody
- Persons whose annual income does not exceed Rs. 1,00,000/-
Free Legal Services can be availed from:
- Supreme Court Legal Services Committee,109, Lawyers Chambers, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi for Supreme Court Cases.
- State Legal Services Authority
- High Court Legal Services Committee situated at High Court Complex in every High Court for High Court cases.
- District Legal Services Authority situated in the District Courts Complex in every District.
Lok Adalat is a forum where the disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/compromised amicably. The Lok Adalat has been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Under the said Act, the award made by the Lok Adalats is deemed to be the decree of a civil court and is final and binding on all parties and no appeal lies before any court against its award.
Nature of cases to be referred to Lok Adalat
- Any case pending before any court
- Any dispute which has not been brought before any court and is likely to be filed before the court
Provided that any matter relating to an offence not compoundable under the law shall not be settled in Lok Adalat.
How to get the case referred to the Lok Adalat for settlement
A) Case pending before the court:
- If the parties agree to settle the dispute in Lok Adalat or
- One of the parties makes an application to the court or
- The court is satisfied that that the matter is an appropriate one for settlement in Lok Adalat
B. Any dispute at pre-litigative stage
The State Legal Services Authority or District Legal Services Authority as the case may be on receipt of an application from any one of the parties to any pre-litigation stage matter refer such matter to the Lok Adalat for amicable settlement.
Websites of State Legal Services Authority
- ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR
- ANDHRA PRADESH
- ARUNACHAL PRADESH
- DADRA AND NAGAR HAVELI
- DAMAN AND DIU
- HIMACHAL PRADESH
- JAMMU AND KASHMIR
- MADHYA PRADESH
- TAMIL NADU
- UTTAR PRADESH
- WEST BENGAL
Source : NALSA