Free Legal Service Initiative by the Government of India
The Constitution of India provides the provision for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society as laid down in Article 39A of the Constitution of India. And, subsequently Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 came into force for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity.
The Government of India has went a step ahead to make these services available digitally. Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Minister for Law & Justice in April 2017 launched Pro Bono Legal services program and with the help of ‘Nyaya Bandhu’ App the eligible persons can avail free legal services. The eligibility criteria for free legal service is listed under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, which includes:
- Women and children;
- Members of SC/ST
- Industrial workmen
- Victims of mass disaster, violence, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster.
- Disabled persons.
- Persons in custody
- Persons whose annual income does not exceed Rs. 1 lakh (in the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee the limit is Rs. 5,00,000/-). This limit may differ from state to state, please check here. You can also click here for additional information.
- Victims of Trafficking in Human beings or begar
The legal services provided under this program are free, however, applicant may be required to incur incidental expenses like photocopying, posting and typing charges and these expenses can also be reimbursed if sufficient justification is provided. The free legal service includes:
- Payment of court fee, process fees and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings;
- Providing service of lawyers in legal proceedings;
- Obtaining and supply of certified copies of orders and other documents in legal proceedings.
- Preparation of appeal, paper book including printing and translation of documents in legal proceedings.
The Nyaya Bandhu App can be used by applicants who are looking for free legal service and it can also be used by eligible advocates for extending their services to the needy. Lawyers who volunteer their valuable time and service, towards this public service, are duly recognized for their contribution by Department of Justice.