1. What are Legal Services ?
Legal Services includes providing Free Legal Aid to the weaker sections of the society, creating awareness of law of the land by spreading legal literacy and thereby making them enjoy their rights and facilities provided for them and organizing Lok Adalats and through them amicably settling the disputes which are pending or which are yet to be filed, by way of compromise.
2. What is free Legal Aid ?
– When a person has to approach court of law in order to get / protect / enjoy his rights.
– When a person has to defend his rights in a case which has been filed against him in a court of law.
– When a person has to apply to an office for getting the facility provided by any law or if some one has submitted an application against him he has to defend himself.
Providing him free legal advice and also an advocate is appointed at the cost of the Legal Services Authority to defend his right / to get him his right. The Authority also bears court fee, typing charges, verification of the copies is known as FREE LEGAL AID.
3. Who is Entitled to Free Legal Services?
* A member of SC/ST; or
* A victim of trafficking in human being or beggar as referred to in Article 23 of the constitution;
* A woman or a child;
* A mentally ill or otherwise disabled person i.e. a person with physical or any other kind of disability;
* An industrial workman;
* A person in custody including protective home, juvenile home, psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home;
* A person having annual income of not exceeding one lakh.
4. How and whom to apply for Legal Services?
5. What to do if I need Legal Aid?
A person who needs free legal aid/advice can approach the concerned authority or committee through an application which could be made by sending a mail/letter in written form, or by filling up the forms prepared by the said authority 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 paralegal volunteer can assist the person. A person can also seek legal aid by applying online through the online application process as provided on the official website of NALSA.
6. Is there any other Information that I need to furnish along with my application?
You have to submit the completed application form to the Authority along with full documentation which includes indenty proofs, requisite certificates/affidavit as proof of belonging to a particular for being entitled for free legal services.
7. Is there a fee or charge for obtaining an Application Form for Legal Aid?
For obtaining legal advices, you can call or visit the office of the concerned Legal Services Authority.
8. What if the person in need of Legal Aid is illiterate?
Such persons can be assisted by the SLSAs/DLSAs/TLSCs or panel Advocates etc.The Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) who are stationed in the villages can also gather necessary information of such applicants and fill up the forms for them. The applicant is required to affix signature initials or thumb impression on the same.
9. When can Legal Aid be Denied or withdrawn?
Legal Aid can be denied at the initial stage before the application for legal aid is accepted. It can also be withdrawn at the later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided. Legal aid can be denied or withdrawn in the following circumstances:
- a) Legal aid can be denied if a person is found ineligible under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987
- b) Legal aid can be withdrawn if the aided person who applied under the income category is found to possess sufficient means;
- c) Legal aid can be withdrawn where the aided person obtained legal services by misrepresentation or fraud;
- d) Legal aid can be withdrawn where the aided person does not cooperate with the Legal Services Authority/Committee or with the legal services advocate;
- e) Legal aid can be withdrawn where the person engages a legal practitioner other than the one assigned by the Legal Services Authority/Committee;
- f) Legal aid can be withdrawn in the event of death of the aided person except in the case of civil proceedings where the right or liability survives;
- g) Legal aid can be withdrawn where the application for legal service or the matter in question is found to be an abuse of the process of law or of legal services.
10. Do you have to incur expenses at any stage?
No, expenseslike Process Fees, Drafting Fees, Typing Fees, Clerkage as well as Fees of panel lawyers is borne by the legal service institutions.
11. Whom can I approach if i want to appeal against the Denial of Legal Services to me?
An appeal can be made to the Chairman of the concerned Authority/Committee on denial of grant of legal services within a reasonable time.
12. Does APSLSA only provide Legal Aid?
No, APSLSA also spreads legal literacy and awareness by
- a) conducting legal awareness camps in rural as well as urban areas;
- b) through print media like newspapers, preparing and publishing legal-aid literature;
- c) arranging workshops on legal topics for various functionaries of the legal systems such as lawyers, students, Non-Governmental organizations and Government agencies,
- d) carrying out field surveys,
- e) creating awareness about the law of the land amongst general public by utilizing digital mass media like Radio, Television, Internet, social media and the like etc.
APSLSA also facilitates the beneficiaries of various government schemes, policies to avail the benefits.
13. Can external agencies participate in the avtivities of APSLSA in disseminating Legal Literacy and Awareness?
Yes, external agencies can partner and participate in the activities of NALSA in disseminating legal literacy and awareness.
14. Does APSLSA work with Persons in the community?
Yes, APSLSA engages volunteers (also known as ‘Para Legal Volunteers’) from different walks of life, such as: retired teachers, retired Government servants, NGOs, self-help groups, aganwadi workers, panchayats, educated prisoners with good behavior and serving long term sentences. Since they work in the grass root level, they act as a bridge between the Legal Services Authorities and the public so as to ensure that legal services reach to all sections of the people, to facilitate implementation of the schemes of the government for the entitled sections, to achieve higher rate of legal awareness; thereby ensuring access to justice for all. They are provided basic legal training by the State Legal Services Authorities.
15. Is Free Legal Aid Confined to the cases before the subordinate courts?
No, free legal aid is not confined to cases before the subordinate Courts. Legal Aid is provided to the needy from the lowest Court to the Supreme Court of India. Legal Aid Counsel represent such needy persons before the lower Courts, High Courts and also before the Supreme Court of India.