Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Services includes providing Free Legal Aid to those weaker sections of the society who fall within the purview of Section 12 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987. It also entails creating legal awareness by spreading legal literacy through legal awareness camps, print media, digital media and organizing Lok Adalats for the amicable settlement of disputes which are either pending or which are yet to be filed, by way of compromise. NALSA also undertakes necessary steps by way of social action litigation with regards to any matter of special concern to the weaker sections of the society. Legal services also encompasses facilitating the beneficiaries to get their entitlements under various government schemes, policies and legislations.
Free legal aid entails the provision of free legal services 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:.
a) Representation by an Advocate in legal proceedings.
b) Payment of process fees, expenses of witnesses and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings in appropriate cases;
c) Preparation of pleadings, memo of appeal, paper book including printing and translation of documents in legal proceedings;
d) Drafting of legal documents, special leave petition etc.
e) Supply of certified copies of judgments, orders, notes of evidence and other documents in legal proceedings.
Any person who fulfills the eligibility criteria as prescribed by Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 can avail of the free legal services. This includes:
a)Member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe
b) Victim of trafficking in human beings or beggar as referred in article 23 of the Constitution.
c) Woman or a child;
d) Disabled person;
e) Victim of a mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster;
f) An industrial workman.
g) Persons in custody.
h) persons in receipt of annual income less than rupees one lakh 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.
Yes, women irrespective of their income or lack of income are eligible for free legal services.
If a person wants to avail of free legal aid/ services he/she can approach the nearest.
a) Taluk Legal Services Committee which is in the premises of the Court in that Taluk.
b) District Legal Services Authority which is in the premises of the District Court in the District Headquarters.
c) The concerned State Legal Services Committee.
d) The High Court Legal Services Committee which is in the premises of the concerned High Court.
e) The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for cases before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
A person who needs free legal aid/advice can approach the concerned authority or committee through an application which could either be made by sending a mail/letter 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 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.
You have to submit the completed application form to the authority along with full documentation which includes identity proofs, requisite certificates/affidavit as proof of belonging to a particular category for being entitled for free legal services. For application through the online procedure, details regarding all the relevant documents required are provided therewith.
Please note that there is no fee or charge for obtaining the application form. For obtaining legal advice, you can call or visit the office of the concerned Legal Services Authority
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.
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.
No, expenses like Process Fees, Drafting Fees, Typing Fees, Clerk age as well as Fees of panel lawyers is borne by the legal service institutions.
An appeal can be made to the Chairman of the concerned Authority/Committee on denial of grant of legal services within a reasonable time.
A complaint can be made regarding the conduct of a legal services authority to the higher authority in the following hierarchal order:
a) The National Legal Services Authority is the central authority and is headed by the the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India as its Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is the Executive Chairman and a District Judge level Judicial Officer is the Member Secretary.
b) The State Legal Services Authorities are headed by the Chief Justices of their respective High Courts as their Patron-in- Chiefs, and the second senior most Judge of the respective High Courts as their Executive Chairman. They also have Member Secretaries heading the respective State Legal Services Authorities.
c) The High Court Legal Services Committees are headed by a sitting Judge of the respective High Court as their Chairman.
d) The respective District Legal Services Authorities are headed by a District Judge as their Chairman.
e) The respective Taluk Legal Services Committees are headed by a Senior Judge as their Chairman.
No, NALSA 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, NALSA also facilitates the beneficiaries of various government.
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.
A Court which has been organized by High Court Legal Services Committee or District Legal Services Authority or Taluk Legal Services Committee for the purpose of amicably settling a dispute between two parties by way of compromise is called LOK ADALAT. In every Lok Adalat minimum two conciliators function. One of them is a sitting or retired judge and another or other conciliator / conciliators shall be an advocate or social worker or expert / experts in that particular field.
1: Motor Vehicle accident cases where the injured or the dependents of the person died in the accident have applied for compensation.
2: Land Acquisition cases where the applications have been made to the government claiming compensation.
3:Cases for or against local bodies such as Town Municipality , Panchayat, Electricity Board and the like.
4: Cases involving commercial banks.
5: Matrimonial or Maintenance cases.
6:Criminal cases which are compoundable as per law
7:Cases pending in Labour Court.
8:Cases before Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner.
9:Cases pertaining to Consumers grievances.
Generally it can be said that any cases pending in High Court or any other Court in the State and can be compromised as per law can be settled by Lok Adalat. Apart from this even disputes / cases which have not been brought on the records of the Court could be settled amicably by Lok Adalats.
1: You can get your dispute settled at the lowest possible cost and without delay. You need not pay the court fee.
2: You need not appoint an advocate instead you can personally appear before Lok Adalat.
3.The conciliators, one of whom is a judge, will guide you in order to settle the dispute amicably.
4.You can compromise only when you are satisfied with the relief suggested by the conciliators.
5.The same justice you get from the court in which your case is pending for adjudication you also get in Lok Adalat.
6.Generally the judgement rendered in Lok Adalat is final and is not appealable. It is binding on both the parties and has the same force as the judgement rendered by the Civil Court .
7.By filing Execution Petition in the Civil Court you can get the judgement of Lok Adalat executed.
8.If a case pending before the court is settled in Lok Adalat the court fees paid in that case is refunded partially or fully as per law.
Lok Adalat can:
1: Take evidence.
2: Call for any Public Documents from any Public office or court.
The Courts established by National Legal Services Authority or State Legal Services Authority for the purpose of speedy disposal of disputes pertaining to Public Utility Services and not yet recorded in any court of law, by way of compromise, is called Permanent Lok Adalats.
National Legal Services Authority or any State Legal Services Authority can establish in any place of a State, in respect of any field in respect of any one or more Public Utility Service Permanent Lok Adalats.
Every Permanent Lok Adalat has a District Judge as the Chairman and two members who are having sufficient experience in Public Utility Services nominated by the State Government on the recommendations of Central / State Government.
Cases where the value of dispute is more than ten Lakh rupees are not decided by Permanent Lok Adalat. Similarly cases pertaining to Non-compoundable offence / offences are not taken up by Permanent Lok Adalat.
The Chairman and the Members of Permanent Lok Adalat guide the parties to the dispute to amicably resolve the dispute. If the parties to the dispute compromise the dispute is adjudicated as per the conditions of the compromise. If conciliation fails and if the dispute is not in respect of any offence after recording the evidence of both the parties. The Chairman and the members give unanimous or majority verdict. No court fee is charged. As the procedure adopted here is very simple the disputes get adjudged quickly.
The judgement of the Permanent Lok Adalat is final and binding on both the parties.
1: The judgement of the Permanent Lok Adalat is not appealable nor can it be called in question in any suit or Execution Proceedings.
2: By filing Execution Petition in the Civil Court you can get the judgement of Permanent Lok Adalat executed.
1: Transportation Services (By air, road or sea; goods or passengers).
2: Postal, telegraphic or Telephone Services.
3: Any body of service which supply Energy (Electricity) light or water to the public
4: Public Sanitary System / Services
5: Hospital or The services in a Hospital
6: Insurance Services.