ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS FOR FREE LEGAL SERVICES
As per section 12 of the Act of 1987 read with Rule 19 of the HSLSA Rules of 1996, the following categories of persons are entitled to free legal services:
1. Any citizen of India belonging to general category whose annual income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 30,000/- (if the matter is at the Sub-Divisional level, District level or in High Court) and does not exceed Rs. 50,000/- (if the matter is in the Supreme Court of India).
2. Members of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Backward Classes*.
3. Victims of trafficking in human beings, or ‘begar’ (forced labour) as is referred to in Article 23 of the Constitution.
5.Child i.e. a person who has not attained the age of 18 years (or upto 21 years if he is under the guardianship of some person as per the provisions of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1980).
6.Mentally ill or otherwise disabled persons such as those suffering from blindness, low vision, hearing impairment, mental retardation, locomotor disability and also leprosy-cured patients.
7.Persons under circumstances of undeserved want such as being victims of mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster.
9.Persons in custody, including custody in a protective home within the meaning of clause (g) of section 2 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 or in a Children’s Home, Observation Home, Shelter Home and Special Home within the meaning of clauses (e), (o), (u) and (v) respectively of Section 2 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
10. Persons in a psychiatric hospital or nursing home within the meaning of clause (q) of Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987.
11. Ex-serviceman, and the families of such persons who have died in action; or
12. Victims, and the families of such persons as well as terrorist victims and families of such persons; or
3. Person in case of public interest litigation."
14. To freedom fighters."
BESIDES THE ABOVE CATEGORIES, free legal services can also be provided in the under mentioned situations:-
(i) In a test case, the decision of which is likely to effect cases numerous other persons belonging to the poor and weaker sections of the society; or
(ii) To a person in a special case, who, for reasons to be recorded in writing, is considered otherwise deserving of legal service where the means test is not satisfied;
(iii) Persons in favour of whom our High Court or the Supreme Court directs grant of legal service;
(iv) To a person in case of genuine public interest litigation.(*Only in the State of Haryana & in the Punjab and Haryana High Court).
MODES OF PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES
I. Free Legal Service may be obtained in any court of law up the Supreme Court and in any Tribunal, Revenue Court as well as departments of Government and other bodies discharging quasi-judicial functions. The legal service is available in all civil, criminal, revenue and administrative matters.
Free legal service can be given in all, or any one, or more, of the following modes, namely: -
(a) By payment of court fee, process fee, expenses of witnesses, preparation of the paper book, lawyer’s fee and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings;
(b) Through representation by a legal practitioner in legal proceedings;
(c) By supplying certified copies of judgments, orders, notes or evidence and other documents in legal proceedings;
(d) By preparation of appeal paper book, including printing, typing and translation of documents; and
(e) By drafting of legal documents.
II. Application for obtaining free legal service/aid can be made to the following authorities: -
(a) If the case is in the Supreme Court: - To the Member Secretary, National Legal Services Authority, 12/11, Jamnagar House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi-110011.
(E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org)
To the Secretary, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, 109, Lawyers’ Chambers, Post Office Wing, Supreme Court Compound, New Delhi-110001.
NOTE: - It may be noted that those persons whose annual income does not exceed Rs. 1,20,000/- can also avail legal service in the Supreme Court of India on payment of a nominal fee and other charges. If any person falls in this category he may contact the following:-
Supreme Court Middle Income Group
Legal Aid Committee,
109, Lawyers’ Chambers,
Post Office Wing,
Supreme Court Compound,
(b) If the case is in the High Court: - To the Member Secretary, Haryana State Legal Services Authority, SCO No. 142-143, 1st Floor, Sector 34-A, Chandigarh-160022.
(E-mail – email@example.com)
To the Registrar General-cum-Secretary, High Court Legal Services Committee, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh-160001.
(E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org)
(c) If the case is at the District Level:-
(i) To the District and Sessions Judge-Cum-Chairman of the concerned District Legal Services Authority.
NOTE :- If there is no District and Sessions Judge posted at the seat of headquarter of a district (as distinguished from a sessions division), in such eventuality the application for obtaining free legal service/aid can be made to the Senior Most Additional District & Sessions Judge/Senior Most Judicial Officer (as the case may be)-cum-Chairman of the concerned District Legal Services Authority.
(ii) To the Chief Judicial Magistrate-Cum-Secretary of the concerned District Legal Services Authority.
(d) If the case is at the Sub-Divisional Level: - To the Senior Most Civil Judge-Cum-Chairman of the Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee.