Indian constitution aims to provide legal aid to all citizens who are not in a position to pay for legal services and with a view to give access to the legal system and also the Supreme Court made its view very clear stating that the right to legal aid is part of the fundamental Right to life of all persons, Legal aid provisions have been included in the constitution. The Legal Aid is administered under the National Legal Services Authority Act, 1987.
1] What is Legal Aid?
Purpose of Legal Aid includes the provision of legal assistance in the legal proceeding before any Court or else as constituted under the Laws of India. Broadly Legal Aid would involve the following services:-
o Providing advocates at state expenses.
o Paying all applicable courts fees on behalf of persons eligible for legal aid
o Paying the expenses incurred in the preparation of documents
o Paying expenses for the summoning of witnesses and
o Paying all other expenses that are directly connected with litigation.
2] Is Legal Aid a fundamental Right ?
Yes, it is your right to claim Legal Aid subject to you coming under the definition of being availer of Legal Aid
3] Who are entitled to get Legal Aid?
• A member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe
• A victim of trafficking in human beings or forced labour as mentioned in Article 23 of the Constitution.
• A woman
• A child
• A mentally disabled person
• A victim of mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake, or industrial disaster
• An industrial workman
• An Inmate of a protective home, juvenile homes, a patient of a psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric nursing home
• A person with an income of less than Rs. 9000/- p.a or (higher amount prescribed by the State Government), if your case is pending before a court other than the Supreme Court.
• A person with annual income of less than Rs. 12,000 p.a or higher amount prescribed by the state government if the case is before the Supreme Court.
4] Do I have to prove my income to claim my right to Legal Aid?
Yes and for this you need to file an Affidavit and or submit documents proving of you falling for entitlement of Legal Aid
5] What is the procedure for accessing Legal Aid?
You need to make an application for legal aid to the concerned legal aid authority in the Appropriate Court in which your case is being fought ad hand over all necessary documents concerning his case to it. The authority after ascertaining your eligibility for legal aid will provide you with all the necessary legal assistance.