Free legal services entail the provision of free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for those poor and marginalized people 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.
PROVISION OF FREE LEGAL AID MAY INCLUDE:
- Representation by an Advocate in legal proceedings.
- Preparation of pleadings, memo of appeal, paper book including printing and translation of documents in legal proceedings;
- Drafting of legal documents, special leave petition etc.
- Rendering of any service in the conduct of any case or other legal proceeding before any court or other Authority or tribunal and;
- Giving of advice on any legal matter.
Free Legal Services also include provision of aid and advice to the beneficiaries to access the benefits under the welfare statutes and schemes framed by the Central Government or the State Government and to ensure access to justice in any other manner.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO FREE LEGAL SERVICES
The sections of the society as enlisted under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act are entitled for free legal services, they are :
(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;
(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 within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956(104 of 1956); or in a juvenile home within the meaning of clause(j) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (53 of 1986); or in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987(14 of 1987);or
(h) In receipt of annual income less than rupees nine thousand or such other higher amount as may be prescribed by the State Government, if the case is before a court other than the Supreme Court, and less than rupees twelve thousand or such other higher amount as may be prescribed by the Central Government, if the case is before the Supreme Court.
HOW TO APPLY
A person in need of free legal services can approach the concerned authority or committee through an application which could either be made by sending in written form, or by filling up the forms prepared by the said authorities stating in brief the reason for seeking legal aid or can be made orally in which case an officer of the concerned legal services authority or a Para Legal Volunteer can assist the person.
A person can also apply online for getting Legal Aid to any Legal Services Institution in the country by filling up the Legal Aid Application form available online at NALSA’s website by going on the ‘Online Application’ Link on the Home Page, along with uploading necessary documents.