In News: Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has been appointed as the executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)
- Justice Chandrachud takes up the position that became vacant after Justice U.U. Lalit was elevated as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI).
- Constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Objective: To provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
- While the CJI is the Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Supreme Court of India is the executive chairperson of the Authority.
- In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.
- The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court.
- Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
- Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.
Objectives of Legal Services Authorities:
- Provide free legal aid and advice.
- Spread legal awareness.
- Organise lok adalats.
- Promote settlements of disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms. Various kinds of ADR mechanisms are Arbitration, Conciliation, Judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat, or Mediation.
- Provide compensation to victims of crime.
What are Legal Services Institutions at Various Levels?
- National Level: NALSA was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
- State Level: State Legal Services Authority. It is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-Chief.
- District Level: District Legal Services Authority. The District Judge of the District is its ex-officio Chairman.
- Taluka/Sub-Division Level: Taluka/ Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee. It is headed by a senior Civil Judge.
- High Court: High Court Legal Services Committee
- Supreme Court: Supreme Court Legal Services Committee
Who is Eligible for Getting Free Legal Services?
- Women and children
- Members of SC/ST
- Industrial workmen
- Victims of mass disaster, violence, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster.
- Disabled persons
- Persons in custody
- Those persons who have annual income of less than the amount prescribed by the respective State Government, if the case is before any court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs. 5 Lakhs, if the case is before the Supreme Court.
- Victims of Trafficking in Human beings or begar.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) With reference to National Legal Services Authority, consider the following statements: (2013)
- Its objective is to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity.
- It issues guidelines for the State Legal Services Authorities to implement the legal programmes and schemes throughout the country.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2