What are the functions of legal services institutions in the country?
Ans - The legal services institutions right from State Legal Services Authority to District Legal Services Authority and Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee have been asked to discharge the following main functions -
a) to provide free and competent legal services to the eligible persons
b) to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes
c) to organize Legal Awareness Camps and
d) to implement the Schemes and policy directed by NALSA through strategic and preventive Legal service programmes.
What is free Legal Aid?
Ans - a) Legal advice by a legal practitioner
b) Representation on behalf of entitled person in any legal proceedings
c) Payment to the entitled persons or on his behalf
(i) Of court fee
(ii) Of process fee and expenses of witnesses
(iii) Of charges for preparation of paper book, including charges for printing and translation of documents
(iv)Of charges for the supply of certified copies of judgements and other documents
(v)Of any amount on any other account in any legal proceedings.
Who are eligible to get Free Legal Aid from the Legal Services Authority?
Ans - The following category of persons mentioned under Section 12 of Legal Services Authority Act are entitled to get legal aid.
a) A member of Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe
b) A victim of Trafficking in human beings or beggar as referred to in Article 23 of the Constitution
c) A woman or child or a person with disability as defined in clause (i) of Section 2 of the Persons with disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act. 1995.Clause (i) of Section 2 of said Disabilities Act 1995 defines 'Disability' as (i) blindness; (ii) low vision; (iii) leprosy-cured; (iv) hearing impairment;(v) loco motor disability; (vi) mental retardation; (vii) mental illness
d) A person under circumstances of undeserved want, such as being a victim of a mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster or
e) An industrial workman; or
f) In custody, including custody in a protective home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, (104 of 1956), or in a juvenile home within the meaning of clause (j) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (53 of 1986), or in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987 (14 of 1987) or
g) In receipt of annual income less than Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh) per annum
(A person who satisfy all or any of the criteria specified above shall be entitled to receive legal services, provided that the concerned authority is satisfied that such person has a prima-facie case to prosecute or defend).
When can legal services can be withdrawn?
Ans - When the aided person is possessed of sufficient means.
b) Where there are material changes in the circumstances of an aided person
c) Where the aided person does not cooperate with the Legal Services Authority/Committee or with the legal services Advocate
d) Where there is any misconduct, misdemeanor or negligence on the part of the aided person
e) Where the person engages a legal practitioner than the one assigned by the Legal Services Authority/Committee
f) In the event of death of the aided person except in the case of civil proceedings where the right or liability survives
e) Where the application for legal services or the matter in question is found to be an abuse of process of law (or) of legal services
What are the duties of aided person?
Ans - A person seeking legal service shall comply with any requisition or direction that may be made upon him by the Secretary of the Committee or any of its members from the date the application for legal services is made till he enjoys the legal service granted to him. Every aided person or his representative shall attend the office of the Committee as and when required by the Committee or by the legal services Advocate rendering legal aid to him and shall furnish full and true information and shall make full disclosure to the legal services Advocate concerned and shall attend the court, as and when required, at his own expenses.
Whether transgenders (people with third gender) are also entitled for Free Legal Aid?
Ans - Yes. A petition has been filed in the Hon'ble Supreme Court seeking for recognition of the rights of the transgenders in the light of the traumatic experiences faced by the members of the TG community. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in NALSA Vs. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 438 issued the following directions:
a) Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as "third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the Parliament and the State Legislature.
b) Transgender persons' right to decide their self-identified gender is also upheld and the Central and State Government are directed to grant legal recognition of their gender identity such as male, female or as third gender.
c) Central and State Governments should take steps to treat them as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and extend all kinds of reservation in cases of admission in educational institutions and for public appointments.
d) Central and State Governments should also take steps for framing various social welfare schemes for their betterment.
e) Central and State Governments should take steps to create public awareness so that TGs will feel that they are also part and parcel of the social life and will not be treated as untouchables. Central and the State Governments should also take measures to regain their respect and place in the society which they enjoyed in cultural and social life.
Who is a Para Legal Volunteer?
Ans - A person with basic knowledge of law and other available welfare measures and legislations with an inclination to assist their immediate neighbourhood is selected as Para Legal Volunteer by the concerned Legal Services Institution and trained to improve the legal services network.
Who should be the Para Legal Volunteer?
Ans - Advocates, Teachers and lecturers of Government and Private Schools and Colleges of all levels.
a) Anganwadi workers
b) Private or Government doctors and other Government employees
c) Field level officers of different departments and agencies of the State and Union Governments
d) Students of graduation and post graduation in Law, Education, social services of humanities
e) Members of a political service oriented Non Governmental Organizations and Clubs
f) Members of Women Neighbourhood Groups, Maithri Sanghams Educated prisoners serving long terms sentences in Central Prison and District Prison
g) Social Workers and volunteers, volunteers of Panchayat Raj and Municipal institutions
h) Members of Cooperative Societies. Members of Trade Unions
i) Any other persons the District Legal Services Authority or Taluk Services Committee deems fit to be identified as Para Legal Volunteers
What are the duties of trained Para Legal Volunteers and their Honorarium?
Ans - APLVs shall
a) Educate people, specially those belonging to weaker sections of the society
b) Spread awareness among the people about their basic human rights, fundamental rights to enjoy all the constitutionally and statutorily guaranteed rights
c) PLVs shall also constantly keep watch on violators of law or acts of injustice in their operation
d) They will also assist in conducting legal literacy camps
e) They will work by sitting in front offices
f) They are eligible for a Honorarium of Rs.250/- per day when engaged for rendering services in Legal Aid Clinics and Front Offices
What is Legal Aid Clinic?
Ans - "Legal Aid Clinic" means the facility established by the District Legal Services Authority to provide basic legal services to the villagers with the assistance of Para-Legal Volunteers or Lawyers, on the lines of a primary health centre providing basic health services to the people in the locality and includes the `legal aid clinic’ run by the law colleges and law universities. The Legal Aid Clinics shall maintain the prescribed Activity Registers as per the NALSA guidelines.
How to get legal aid to file Criminal Appeal from Jail?
Ans - A convict prisoner is entitled to file appeal from jail as per the provisions of Section 383 of Cr. P.C. He may present his appeal along with the copy of Judgement through the officer-in-charge of the Jail who shall thereupon forward to the proper appellate court or to the legal services institutions for drafting the grounds of appeal and to file the same before the appellate court.
Is it true that approaching the Supreme Court of India for legal remedies is un-affordable to the layman?
Ans - No, not at all. All eligible persons can approach the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for necessary legal services in Supreme Court.
What is the basis for settlement before Lok Adalat?
Ans - Consent of the parties is the only criteria for settlement before Lok Adaat and such settlement should not be illegal and opposed to public policy.
Whether Lok Adalat is competent to grant divorce?
Ans - No, Lok Adalat cannot grant divorce.
What is the procedure for execution of Decree in Pre-Litigation case?
Ans - The decree of a Lok Adalat in a pre-litigation case before it shall be executable in the same manner as a decree of a Civil Court in accordance with section 21 of the Legal Services Authorities Act.
Who is a trained mediator?
Ans - A trained mediator is one who underwent (40) hours of training imparted by Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, New Delhi and a court must refer pending cases only to a trained mediator.
Whether trained mediators are available in every District?
Ans - Yes, we have MCPC (40) hours trained mediators in every District including in High Court.