March 12, 2023

Right to free Legal Aid

This article has been written by kommula vikram of Lloyd law college

Legal aid, which means the rendering of free legal services to the poor and needy who cannot afford the services of a lawyer for the trial or hearing of a case  in any court or judicial institution. 

 The purpose of the Preamble to the Constitution of India is to fundamentally ensure socio-economic and political justice to the people of India. His Excellency Judge P.N. Bhagwati aptly pointed out that legal aid means providing such an arrangement in the society which makes the machinery of justice readily available and accessible to those who need to use it to exercise their rights under law. According to  Article 38(1), the State promotes the welfare of the people by protecting and safeguarding social order, including justice. Article 21 clearly states that everyone has an equal right to life and liberty except as provided by  law. 

 :  The state ensures that the functioning of the legal system promotes justice based on  equal opportunities and, above all, free legal aid through relevant legislation or systems or in  other ways to ensure that no citizen is left with the opportunity to secure. the right due to financial or other disabilities. 

 In the case of Hussainara khatoon vs. The State of Bihar has said that if any accused cannot afford legal services, he has the right to free legal aid at the expense of the State. 

 It is the duty of the state to ensure that the legal system promotes justice based on  equal opportunities for all  citizens. Therefore, he must  arrange for the provision of free legal aid to those who cannot get justice due to financial or other disabilities.  — (Article 39 A of the Constitution of India) 

 If the accused does not have enough money to hire a lawyer, the court must arrange the defense of one of the accused at the expense of the state. 

 – (Criminal Procedure Article 30, 1973) 

 The constitutional obligation to provide legal aid arises from the moment the accused is first brought before a judge and applies every time  he is taken into custody.  – (Khatri II v. State of Bihar, (1981) 1SCC; 1981 SCC (Cri) 228; 1981 Cri. LJ 70) 

 A person entitled to appeal against a conviction has the right to require counsel,  prepare and plead an appeal.  – (Madav Hayavadanrao Hoskot v. State of Maharastra (1978)3 SCC 5) (Article 12 of the Constitution v/v Articles 21 and 39A of the Constitution of India) 

 Services provided by the Legal Services Authority: / 1. Court and other procedural fees; 

 2. Costs related to the preparation, formalization and submission of judicial proceedings; 

 3. Professional or legal advisor expenses; 

. Costs resulting from obtaining decrees, judgments, orders or  other  legal documents; 

 5. Paper costs, including printing, translation, etc. 

 Tasks of the police and the court: 

 The police must report the arrest of a person to the nearest legal aid commission immediately after the arrest. 

 – (Sheela Barse V. State of Maharashtra) 

  Magistrates and Sessions Judges must inform every accused who appears before them and who does not have a lawyer due to poverty or indigence that he has the right to free legal services against court costs. state 

 Failure to provide legal aid to an indigent defendant, unless denied, would render the lawsuit a nullity. It may even result in the conviction and sentence being overturned. — (Suk Das vs. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh (1986) 2 SCC 

01; 1986 SCC (Cri) 166) 

 When can legal services be refused? 

 If the candidate 

 – has sufficient resources to administer justice; 

 – does not meet eligibility requirements; 

 – is not proven in its application, which requires legal action. 

 Cases in which legal aid is not available: 

 1. Cases involving defamation, malicious prosecution, contempt of court, perjury, etc. 

 2. Procedures related to elections; 

 3. Cases where the fine imposed does not exceed Rs.50/-; 

. Economic crimes and  social legal crimes; 

 5. Cases where the person requesting legal aid is not directly involved in the judicial process and whose interests are not affected by it. 

 When can you remove legal services? 

 The Legal Services Commission may withdraw the service if 

 1. the aid was obtained by misrepresentation or fraud; 

 2. there has been a significant change  in the circumstances of the assisted person; 

 3. the assisted person committed abuse, bad behavior or neglect; 

. the assisted person does not cooperate with the appointed lawyer; 

 5. beneficiaries appoint another lawyer; 

 6. the assisted person dies, except in civil cases; 

 7. the procedure involves abuse of the  law or  legal service. 

 Who is entitled to free legal aid? 

 Any person who is: 

 1. Member of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes; 

 2. all persons belonging to  Schedule caste/tribe, persons affected by natural calamities, industrial workers, children, insane, disabled persons, imprisoned persons  and persons whose annual income is less than 1000000 rupees received free legal aid 

 3. human trafficking  or begging; 

. Disabled persons, including mental disabilities; 

 5. wife or child; 

 6.  victim of mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocities, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster 

  and other  undeserved deprivation; 

 7.  industrial worker; 

 8. detention, including safe custody; 

 9.  a charge that can result in imprisonment; – (Khatri II v. State of Bihar, (1981) 1SCC); and 


 10. unable to hire a lawyer or secure legal services for reasons such as poverty, destitution, and inability to communicate; 

 11. in cases of very public importance; 

 12.s special cases were assessed as worthy of legal services.  Concept of 

 Lok Adalat: 

 Lok Adalat is a judicial institution established to facilitate amicable settlement of disputes. It has the powers of an ordinary civil court, such as subpoena, examination of evidence, etc. Its orders are like any court, but such orders cannot be appealed by the parties. Lok Adalat can decide all cases except criminal cases  which are not joinable. Either side of the dispute can ask the court to transfer the matter to  lok adala. If lok does not make compromises or solutions

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