People are rising technologically in India, yet poverty remains a huge concern for all of us Nonetheless, inequality in India is increasing on a greater pace. As of May 2021, it has approximately 84 thousand individuals living in severe poverty and poor environmental conditions, representing 6% of its general populace. If anyone individual, is very poor then combating a lawsuit against a person who is very influential can be a tough task. For example: when a farmer takes a loan from a lender for his farm and the lender asks for a huge amount of sum which may be against the mutually decided amount, in this case the farmer will file a case against the lender. Therefore, proper knowledge, guidance and money are some essentials to survive against the person from whom the money is borrowed.
Legal Aid is known to be a constitutional right which is mentioned in Article 21 and 39A of the Indian Constitution. According to Article 21, no individual should be dispossessed of their life or liberty unless in accordance with the legal proceedings. Besides that, Article 39-A of the Indian constitution obligates the State to guarantee that the function of the judicial framework stimulates equality on the basis of fair opportunities, and in particular, to lay out free legal aid, through relevant laws or initiatives or in any other manner, to guarantee that opportunities for securing fairness are not refused to any person as a result of any impairments.
When a person is unlawfully abused of his legal rights or is accused of unlawful commission or omission of any act, that is the time when justice comes into the play. We proceed to live in an environment dominated by the rules of the legal system, where the fundamental precepts of fairness and justice are held in high regard. A very important aspect of inborn rights is the freedom of an individual to be heard in a jury process. In a country afflicted by despair and poverty, only a small number of the general population can contemplate hiring a professional lawyer to act on his cause for a large amount. Though representatives of ethical conduct are intended to investigate the case of everyone desiring their guidance without reference to what they will be paid or the achievement that lies behind the case, nobody should demand that the experts of advocacy are any exemption from this era of disintegration of all morals and virtue; and thus, in modern years mainly, main motive of advocating, similar to any other profession, is to earn.
FREE LEGAL AID IN INDIA
A right to legal support is indeed a core element of the right to a fair trial that is among the basic human rights. The nation of India is rife with unemployment, illiteracy, and the very low involvement of a broad array of individuals who understand nothing about the intricacies of the field of law. They learn about legal processes and criteria only after they have been charged; it might be a felony offense. It might even be either civil or criminal, or they may even be victimized themself. Even knowledgeable individuals are unaware of the requirements of the legal field because of their lack of information.
It was perfectly illustrated by Nilam Katara, a brave mom of murdered Nitish Katara, the survivor of one of India’s most renowned homicides, in which a politician’s girl was infatuated with Nitish Katara, a person from a middle-class background, but it did not settle well enough with her unfairly strong and disreputable politician father, and the brutal murder of that man occurred.
Ms. Nilam Katara, the mother of the dead Nitish Katara, whose partner was struggling from a paralyzed stroke, was forced to face her fate by herself in seeking justice shortly well after the tragedy. She did not come out of a legal professional family and was forced to struggle greatly as a result since her attempts were constantly hampered by today’s rigid and strict constructionist legal procedures. Despite hailing a well-educated topmost family and oneself being well-educated, she would just have to endure unexplainable suffering despite battling for fairness for her slain child. Subsequently, in an article, she described her sorrow and pain in achieving justice and asked that certain fundamental legal principles be included in primary and secondary schools because then individuals have a basic understanding of the laws through which they are regulated and are not introduced to a totally unknown environment.
As a result of this preceding event, one thing is certain, the Indian population, with the possible exception of a handful of individuals, realizes extremely less about the massive judicial process under which they are controlled, and misconceptions of any of that legislation from that extensive upfront of regulations cannot be used as an argument to justify. Therefore, one can say that under such scenarios, the need for individuals who understand the laws grows extremely vital, and so when we contemplate the uneducated and impoverished masses that make up the majority of the Indian population, the requirement for such individuals rises by enormous amounts.
PEOPLE WHO CAN CLAIM FREE LEGAL AID ACCORDING TO THE LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY ACT, 1987
Clause 12 of the aforementioned Act specifies the criteria for providing legal services. Every individual who needs to register or safeguard a lawsuit here under the Act is entitled to free legal facilities if they are:
- a representative of a Schedule Tribe or a Scheduled Caste;
- a survivor of human smuggling or homeless people as identified in Article 23;
- a woman or a kid; or
- an individual with something like an impairment as specified in Clause I of Article 2 of said People with disabilities or any kind of impairments.
- someone in need due to conditions like being a sufferer of a major calamity, ethnic tensions, social atrocities, storm, famine, or earthquake.
Functioning of Today’s Legal Services Authorities- Structures and working underneath the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 at differing stages:
Central Authority Functions- As per Chapter 4 of the aforementioned Conduct, the System must therefore operate all or a portion of the mentioned tasks:
- Set rules and guidelines for influencing political services accessible underneath the requirements of this Act;
- Structure first most effective and cost-effective strategies for influencing legal services available and accessible underneath the terms of this Act;
- Use the finances being at the discretion and suggest suitable allotments of funds to Governmental Bodies and Diwans.
- Review and assess the execution of legal aid welfare schemes programs on a regular basis, and allow for an independent review of programs and initiatives funded entirely or partially by money that was given by this Act; schools, law schools, as well as other entities.
- Give aid for specialized initiatives to numerous people, volunteer social service organizations, and District and State Entities from funds set aside for the execution of legal support programs under the terms of the Provision.
- Create practical legal curriculums in collaboration well with the Bar Council of India, as well as encourage, guide, and monitor the development and operation of legal assistance clinics in institutions, law schools, as well as other establishments.
CASE LAWS RELATED TO FREE LEGAL AID AND ADVICE
- State of Maharashtra v. Manubhai Pragaji– The Maharashtra government, represented by the Ministry of Education, issued a Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the HC judgment, which further managed to hold that it was the duty of the state to continue providing funding towards both governmental and non-governmental law schools as per clauses 21 and 39A of the Constitution. In this decision, the Supreme Court supported the High Court’s ruling, declaring the failure to do so is unjust and said that the nation must make provision for this.
- Abul Hassan and National Legal Services Authorities v. Delhi Vidyut Board & Ors.–The requirement for everlasting Lok Adalat is examined in length by the tribunal in this since there are other similar kinds of instances waiting in the bench which might be handled or determined by procedures such as Lok Adalat at preliminary periods. It is additionally provided for under Article 39A and Article 22 of said Legal Services Administration Act of 1987.
- The same concept was affirmed in the scenario of the United India Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Akshay Sinhaand others stating that there are numerous churlish occurrences or incidents that are acceptable in character, and it is the obligation of the Legal Assistance Officials to make individuals aware of Lok Arbitrator and also perform or establish Lok Adalat.
- In the issue of Sampurna Behrua v. Union of India, the plaintiff filed a Lawsuit to advocate for children and juveniles that weren’t claiming assistance under the Juvenile Court (Care and Protection) Act, 2015. It addressed the question of granting protection to the nation’s future while not sacrificing for them. The Delhi Legal Assistance Authority assisted the applicant in fighting her claim and bringing it before the tribunal on the topic of children’s rights in this lawsuit.
- It could also be observed in the issue of the National Legal Services board vs. Union of India,that the question before the jury was the acknowledgment of transsexual freedom. The judge determined that they should be regarded as the “third sex” when given authority as per Part III of the said Constitution of India, that they need to be legitimately distinguished by the country, and that they need to be regarded as backward classes of citizens in order to obtain all benefits established by the state.
LANDMARK CASE PRODUCING FREE LEGAL AID IN INDIA
Sheela Barse v. the State of Maharashtra– When someone has been detained without such a warrant by the authorities, he should be promptly told of the said reason for their detention, while in every instance of detention, the defendant must be notified that he has been allowed to ask for relief.
The Maharashtra State Agency of Judicial Assistance and Guidance will immediately begin preparing a fact sheet outlining a detained person’s legal protections, as well as Maharashtra’s state government will produce a good number of printouts of the brochure in Marathi, the state’s language, as well as English and Hindi, and copies of the brochure in all three different languages will be fastened within every compartment. throughout every police headquarters, and it must be presented to the detained individual in either of the three different languages they understand as immediately as he is summoned to the station.
When a citizen is detained by the authorities and transported to the police station, the police shall promptly notify the appropriate Legal Assistance Commission of the detention. Any such Legal Assistance Board will undertake prompt action to offer legal assistance. If the person in custody is willing to receive such legal help, then the state will reimburse for it. The Government will pay the funding needed to the relevant Legal Assistance Committee in order to implement this directive.
Our legal system is founded on the foremost fundamental natural justice principle. no individual can be condemned without being represented. Such hearing necessity will never be sustained except if the individual getting vengeance has adequately argued their case. In this case, our judicial justice pursues an intriguing anecdote: allow hundreds of offenders to go free without punishing one blameless. Therefore, under our highly generous justice framework, no accused will be declared liable until his guilt is demonstrated even beyond a shadow of doubt.
To conclude, a significant contribution has been accomplished in this area to meet the fundamental necessity of a fair community. However, much work has to be done in the hopes of making the idea of free legal services a truth for the majority of citizens. The cultivation of legal expertise among people from different walks of life is the most significant prerequisite in this regard. Lawful language must be made understandable to the general public. More significantly, community attorneys have been required to carry on the exceptionally laudable job of bringing fairness to individuals from every part of the community. 
 Law Essentials, Siddharth Sanjay Dubey. “Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Bill, 2015.” Law Essentials, https://lawessential.com/constitutional-law/f/legal-aid-and-advice-amendment-bill-2015?blogcategory=Constitutional%2BLaw .
 India, legal Service. “Legal Aid in India.” Legal Service India, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l206-Legal-Aid.html.
 “The Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Act, 1999.” Parliament, https://www.ttparliament.org/publication/the-legal-aid-and-advice-amendment-act-1999/.
 “Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid – International Journal of Law …” Justice and Free Legal Aid, https://www.ijlmh.com/paper/equal-justice-and-free-legal-aid/.
 “Strengthening Access to Justice through the Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Bill.” Ministry of Law, 1 Oct. 2018, https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/news/press-releases/strengthening-access-to-justice-through-the-legal-aid-and-advice-amendment-bill.
 “Legal Aid in India.” LINER, https://getliner.com/picked-by-liner/reader mode?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.legalserviceindia.com%2Farticle%2Fl206-Legal-Aid.html.
 Doctrine of Constitutional Morality – Probono-India.in. http://probono-india.in/Indian-Society/Paper/136_ARCHIT%20Doctrine%20of%20Constitutional%20Morality.pdf.
 Jus Corpus, et al. “An Overview of Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Act 2015.” Jus Corpus, 5 July 2022, https://www.juscorpus.com/d-an-overview-of-legal-aid-and-advice-amendment-act-2015/#:~:text=Legal%20aid%20is%20a%20constitutional,to%20procedure%20established%20by%20law%E2%80%9D.
 Law Essentials, Siddharth Sanjay Dubey. “Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Bill, 2015.” Law Essentials, https://lawessential.com/constitutional-law/f/legal-aid-and-advice-amendment-bill-2015?blogcategory=Constitutional%2BLaw
Author: Anushka Satwani