District Legal Services Authority (DLSA)
The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, was enacted to effectuate the constitutional mandate enshrined under, Articles 14 and 39-A of the Constitution of India. The object is to provide ‘access to justice for all’ disabilities. However in order to enable the citizens to avail the opportunities under the Act in respect of grant of free legal aid etc. It is necessary that they are made aware of their rights. Legal aid is an essential part of the Administration of Justice. “Access to Justice for all” is the motto of the Authority. The goal is to secure justice to the weaker sections of the society, particularly to the poor, downtrodden, socially backward, women, children and handicapped etc. Such steps are needed to be taken to ensure that nobody is deprived of an opportunity to seek justice merely for want of funds or lack of knowledge. To ensure this, the Authority organize Legal Literacy and Awareness Camps in different parts.
In 1987 Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted to give a statutory base to legal aid programmes throughout the country on a uniform pattern. This Act was finally enforced on 9th of November, 1995 after certain amendments were introduced therein by the Amendments Act of 1994. Hon. Mr. Justice R.N.Mishra the then Chief Justice of India played a key role in the enforcement of the Act.
District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement Legal Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District. The District Judge of the District is its ex-officio Chairman. Taluk Legal Services Committees are also constituted for each of the Taluk in JHarsuguda District. The main objective of District Legal Services Authority and Taluk Legal Services Authority is to provide Legal Aid, to organize Lok Adalat for speedy disposal of cases and organize Legal Awareness Programme. Now District Legal Services assigned with other important duties such as:-
To see function of Front Office.
To organize jail clinics.
To organize training programme for para legal volunteers.
To see function of Legal Aid Cell at District Headquarters & Block Headquarters.
To see function of student legal literacy club/legal aid clubs.
Services to disaster victims.
Services to mentally ill person.
To give training child welfare officers attached to every police station and the special juvenile police unit.
Social harmony award for litigation free village.
Victim compensation U/s 357A Cr.P.C.
Observance of important Days according to calendar prepared by NALSA
To see function of Panchayat Level Clinics.
Audit of Taluk Legal Services Committee
Permanent & Continuous Lok Adalat for disposal of pre-litigation cases.
To organize special Lok Adalat for family court.
To organize Mega Lok Adalat.
To organize State Level Lok Adalat
To provide Legal Aid.
Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 prescribes the criteria for giving legal services to the eligible persons. Section 12 of the Act read as under:-
“12. 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; org)in custody, including custody in a protective home within the meaning of clause
(g) of Section 2 of the Immoral Traffic(Prevention) Act, 1956 (104 of 1956); or in a juvenile home within the meaning of clause(j) of section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (53 of 1986) or in a psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause(g) of section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987 (14 of 1987); or
(h) the person whose annual income is less than rupees One Lakh.