Introduction :

                 The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has been enacted to constitute the Legal Services Authorities Act to provide free and competent Legal Services to the weaker section of the society to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities and to organize Lok Adalats to secure  that the operation of the Legal System promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity. Chapter IV Section 12 of the said Act provides Application for Legal aid and entitlement criteria.

Application : 

            A person who desires to seek legal aid from the State Authority shall apply in the prescribed  form . Such application shall be addressed to the Secretary of the State Authority and it must be duly signed by applicant or bear his thumb impression in case the applicant is an illiterate person. The application for grant of legal aid should also be accompanied by an affidavit stating applicant's entitlement.


Under Section 12 of Legal Services Authority Act 1987 Criteria for giving Legal Services : 

                Every person who has to file or defend a case shall be entitled to legal services under this Act if that person is -

                          (a) a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe;
                          (b) a victim of trafficking in human beings or beggar as referred to in Article 23 of the Constitution;
                          (c) a woman or a child;

                          (d) a mentally ill or otherwise disabled person;

                          (e) 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

                          (f) an industrial workman; or

                          (g) 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 juvenile home within the meaning of clause(i) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 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

                          (h) in receipt of annual income from all sources up to rupees twelve thousand or other higher amount, as may be higher amount, as fixed from time to time , under the State Legal Services Rules.

            Persons who satisfy all or any of the criteria specified in Section 12 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 to defend.

           An affidavit made by a person as to his income may be regarded as sufficient for making him eligible to the entitlement of legal services under the said Act unless the concerned Authority has reason to disbelieve such affidavit.

See also...

1) Constitution and Functions of the State Legal Services Authority.

2) Organisation of Lok Adalats under Legal Services Authorities Act 1987

3) Power and Functions of Central Authority under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

4) Difference between Public Interest Litigation and Representative Suit

5) Difference Between Permanent Lok Adalat and Lok Adalat


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