Free Legal Aid
In compliance of provisions made under Article 39-A of the Constitution of India, the Government of India has enacted an Act namely, the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 which has come into force on 09.11.1995 in the country and the State of Punjab has framed rules and Regulations namely, the Punjab State Legal Services Authorities Rules, 1996 and the Punjab Legal Services Authority (Transaction of Business and other Provisions) Regulations, 1998 respectively for implementation of various schemes and programmes provided under the Act, 1987.
PROCEDURE FOR TAKING FREE LEGAL SERVICES
1) A person who satisfy all or any of the criteria specified 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.
2) 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 this Act unless the concerned Authority has reason to disbelieve such affidavit.
3) The person who wants to take free legal services has to fill up the application form which can be taken free of cost from the Offices concerned situated at Chandigarh, all the District Headquarters and at all the Sub-Divisional Headquarters.
Matters on which legal service is admissible
In addition to the cases covered under sections 12 and 13 of Act, legal service may also be provided in all matters where such service shall be aimed at-
a) Amicable settlement of the dispute by bringing about conciliation between the parties to the disputes; and
b)rendering assistance in complying with various legal requirements in order to secure the benefits under various schemes sponsored by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government or any other public authority or for the Welfare of the general public or any section thereof.
Modes of providing legal service
Legal service may be given in all or any one or more of the following modes, namely:-
a) by payment of court fee, process fee, expenses of witnesses, preparation of the paper book, lawyers fee and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings;
b) through representation by a legal practitioner in legal proceedings;
c) by supplying certified copies of Judgments, orders, notes or evidence and other documents in legal proceedings;
d) by preparation of appeal paper book, including printing, typing and translation of documents in legal proceedings;
e) by drafting of legal documents;
f) by giving legal advice on any legal matter; and g) through Mediation Centres of Family counseling Centre.