Legal- aid in India

India is densely populated country. People living here are all not same when it comes monetary levels. It’s a mixture of extremely rich and extremely poor population as well as people who belong to the upper middle class and middle-class category. 

The Indian legal system is complicated and difficult to understand. People end up spending a lot of money on a single case which goes on for many years. The rich may be able to afford the high price that goes into litigation but the poor category often find it very difficult to arrange for sufficient funds in order to get justice. 

In such situation the need for Legal Aid comes into play, Legal aid may be taken to mean free legal assistance to the poor persons in any judicial proceedings before the Court, Tribunals or any authority. It intends to provide free legal assistance to the poor persons who are not able to enforce the rights given to them by law. 

ARTICLE 39A– It is the obligation of the State to see that the legal system advances justice based on equal opportunity for its entire citizen. It should therefore give free legal aid to the individuals who can’t get to justice because of financial and other disabilities. 

Section 304 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 states that, If the accused does not have adequate means to draw in a legal advisor, the court must give one to the protection of the accused at the expense for the state. 

National legal service authority (Nalsa) 

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to monitor and evaluate the implementation of legal services accessible under the Act. 

The NALSA issues rules for the State Legal Services Authorities to actualize the Legal Aid Programs and plans all through the nation. 

Even though provisions of free legal aid are mentioned in the Constitution of India, the implementation of free legal aid is not up to the mark. 

It’s difficult to implement legal aid schemes in lower Courts. In many instances it has been seen that provisions for legal aid are present but judicial officers rarely adhere to it. Another concerning cause of an ineffective legal aid system is that when lawyers take up cases pro bono they often do not work with the same dedication as to when they are paid for the case. 

Many a times people themselves are not aware of the concept of legal aid. They are not aware of the fact that receiving free legal aid is their fundamental right. There is not enough awareness about free legal aid and authorities often do not take the effort to make people aware of the same. 

Places where legal aid is available include, 

Legal Aid Clinics 

Legal Services Clinics in Law Universities/Colleges 

Non-Governmental Organizations 

Online Forums 

Law is a noble profession. Lawyers and the legal fraternity have the power to represent the people and give them the justice they deserve. Their services should not be restricted only the people who can afford their high fees but also the underprivileged people who cannot afford high legal fees. 

Justice is a fundamental right available to all. It is the duty of the government and States to ensure that every person in society gets a chance to be heard and have counsel. Lack of financial resources should not be the reason that an innocent suffers when it comes to legal aid. 

References,

https://probono-india.in/blog-detail.php?id=132

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