1) 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.  (See...Benefits of Lok Adalat )


2) The composition of National Legal Services Authority:

 Section 3 of Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 provides that the Central Government shall constitute a body called the National Legal Services Authority to exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred on, or assigned to the Central Authority under this Act.

Sub-section 2 of Section 3 provides that the Central Authority shall consist of -

(a) the Chief Justice of India who shall be the Patron-in-Chief;

(b) a serving or retired Judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the President, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, who shall be the Executive Chairman; and

(c) such number of other members, possessing such experience and qualifications, as may be prescribed by the Central Government, to be nominated by that government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

     Rule 3 of the National Services Authority Rules provides that Central Authority shall consist of not more than 12 members, the following shall be the ex-officio members of Central Authority.

(i) Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Government of India or any of his nominees;

(ii) Secretary, Department of Expenditure in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India or any of his Nominees; and

(iii) Two Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority as may be nominated by the Central Government in consultation with the chief Justice of India.

      Provided that the Patron-in-chief of the central authority may nominate, until the constitution of the State Authorities under the Act, Chairman of any two of the State legal Aid and Advice Board or Committees, by whatever name called, existing prior to such constitution.

3) Qualification for Members:

                      A Person shall not be qualified for nomination as a Member of the Central Authority unless he is -

              1)  An eminent person in the field of Law; or

              2) A person of repute who is especially interested in the implementation of the Legal Services  Schemes; or an eminent social worker who is engaged in the upliftment of the weaker sections of the people, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Children, rural and urban labour.

             According to Sub-section 3 of Section 3 of the Act, the Central Government shall in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, appoint a person to be the Member-Secretary of the Central Authority, possessing such experience and qualifications as may be prescribed by that Government, to exercise such powers and perform such duties under the Executive Chairman of the Central Authority as may be prescribed by that Government or as may be assigned to him by the Executive Chairman of that Authority.

Rule 5 provides that for a person to be a Member- Secretary of the Central Authority, he must be -

1)  an officer of Indian legal service who has held a post, not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India.

2) a Member of the State Higher Judicial Service who has held the post of the District Judge at least 3 years, or

3) an officer of order organised Central Services who has held a post of joint Secretary to the Government of India equivalent for the minimum period of 3 years . or

4) an officer of the organised State Services who has held a post equivalent to the joint Secretary to the Government of India for a minimum period of 5 years.

Preference shall be given to the person possessing administrative, and legal experience.

4) Terms of office and other Conditions:

             According to Section 3 (4) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987,  the terms of office and other conditions related to the Members and Member-Secretary of the Central Authority shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

See also...

Legal literary and Objects of Legal literacy


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