LAW RESOURCE INDIA

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

English: The supreme court of india. Taken abo...

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Backgrounder:

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to monitor and evaluate implementation of legal aid programmes and to lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the Act. Actually, Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society and ensures justice for all.  Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Constitution also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity to all.  In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted by the Parliament which came into force on 9th November, 1995 to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity.

In every State, a State Legal Services Authority and in every High Court, a High Court Legal Services Committee have been constituted. District Legal Services Authorities, Taluk Legal Services Committees have been constituted in the Districts and most of the Taluks to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to provide free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. 

Supreme Court Legal Services Committee has been constituted to administer and implement the legal services programme insofar as it relates to the Supreme Court of India.

NALSA lays down policies, principles, guidelines and frames effective and economical schemes for the State Legal Services Authorities to implement the Legal Services Programmes throughout the country.

Primarily, the State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Taluk Legal Services Committees, etc. have been asked to discharge the following main functions on regular basis:

  1. To Provide Free and Competent Legal Services to the eligible persons;
  2. To organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes; and
  3. To organize legal awareness camps in the rural areas.

During the financial year 2011-12, the National Legal Services Authority had a Plan of Action and Calendar for Activities adopted by the meeting of the State Legal Services Authorities held at Bhubaneshwar, Orrisa on 19-20 March, 2011.  The highlights of the National Plan of Action for the financial year 2011-12 are as under:

  1. Ensuring free, competent effective and comprehensive legal services.
  2. Legal services focused on women
  3. Rights of children-increasing legal services to the children
  4. Strengthening the role of para-legal volunteers (PLVs) in legal services
  5. Setting up of legal aid clinics in villages in the most economic and effective manner
  6. Legal services to workers in the unorganized sector
  7. Paving way for social justice litigation for environmental protection
  8. Training of Member-Secretaries of SLSAs and functionaries of the District Legal Services Authorities
  9. Establishment of legal aid clinics in Universities, Law Colleges and other institutions
  10. Legal literacy amongst school and college students and setting up of legal literacy clubs and legal awareness camps
  11. Ensuring commitment to Part IV-A of the Constitution
  12. Continuing with the special programmes for North-Eastern States
  13. Use of NALSA’s website and NALSA’s web-based monitoring system
  14. Social audit of the legal services activities
  15. Judicial academies to be a platform for legal services programmes and sensitization

The Plan of Action envisaged the setting up of legal aid clinics in all villages or for a cluster of villages to be manned by para-legal volunteers (PLVs) and start legal aid clinics in all law colleges and law universities. NALSA has notified the National Legal Services Authority (Legal Aid Clinics) Regulations, 2011 and published in the Gazette of India giving statutory backing to its Legal Aid Clinics Scheme.

Though the State Legal Services Authorities had financial and manpower constraints for implementing the National Plan of Action to its full extent, attempts have been made by State Legal Services Authorities for implementing the National Plan of Action 2011-12.

During the period from 1st April, 2011 to 30th September, 2011 more than 6.95 lakh persons have benefited through legal aid services in the country.  Out of them, more than 25.1 thousand persons belonged to the Scheduled Castes, about 11.5 thousand Scheduled Tribes, about 24.6 thousand were women and 1.6 thousand were children.  During this period, 53,508 Lok Adalats were organised.  These Lok Adalats settled more than 13.75 lakh cases.  In about 39.9 thousand Motor Vehicle Accident Claim cases, compensation to the tune of      Rs. 420.12 crore has been awarded.

NALSA has organized the following programmes during the period from April, 11 to December, 2011 to achieve its objectives:

  1. On the directions of NALSA, the State Legal Services Authorities observed World Day against Child Labour on 12th June, 2011.  Various programmes were organized on abolition of child labour.
  2. National Legal Services Authority in association with Delhi State Legal Services Authority organized a National Seminar on “Access to Justice : What it means to a Child” on 9-10 July, 2011 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.  Hon’ble Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman, NALSA inaugurated the Seminar.  Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice, Delhi High Court and Patron-in-Chief, Delhi State Legal Services Authority presided over the function.  Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vikramajit Sen, Judge, Delhi High Court and Executive Chairman, Delhi State Legal Services Authority delivered the key-note address. Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.S. Nijjar, Judge, Supreme Court of India attended the inaugural function. Hon’ble Executive Chairpersons and Member Secretaries of the State Legal Services Authorities, Directors of State Judicial Academies, 3 Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committees and 3 Judicial Magistrates of Juvenile Justice Boards from each States participated in the Seminar.
  3. As a follow up of the National Seminar several meeting were held at NALSA office and it was decided to draft a Bill for amending Section 41 of the Juvenile Justice Act and also to draft a Bill on “Special Adoption”.
  4. National Legal Services Authority in association with the U.P. State Legal Services Authority organised a programme “Legal Training to Judicial officers, Lawyers and Law Students on Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and Juvenile Justice System” on 11th September, 2011 at Amity University, Nodia.  Hon’ble Mr. Justice Almatamas Kabir, Jude, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman, NALSA inaugurated the programme in the august presence of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra, Judge, Supreme Court of India (the then Chief Justice, Delhi High Court), Hon’ble Mr. Justice Amitava Lala, Judge, Allahabad High Court and Executive Chairman, U.P. State Legal Services Authority, Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri, Judge, Delhi High Court and Executive Chairman, Delhi State Legal Services Authority and other Hon’ble Judges of Allahabad High Court.
  5. On the directions of NALSA, the State Legal Services Authorities observed Senior Citizen’s Day on 1st October, 2011.  Various programmes for senior citizens informing them about their rights and welfare measures with the assistance of the Social Welfare Department were organized on this occasion.
  6. On the directions of NALSA, the State Legal Services Authorities observed World Mental Health Day on 10th October, 2011.  Various programmes were organized on this occasion.
  7. A meeting was organized at Constitution Club of India New Delhi which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, Judge, Supreme Court of India & Executive Chairman of NALSA. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chairman, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee delivered the special address.  Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri, Acting Chief Justice Delhi High Court and Executive Chairman, Delhi State Legal Services Authority delivered the key-note address.  A large number of Judges of Delhi High Court and Subordinate Judiciary, Panel Lawyers and law students attended the meeting.
  8. On the directions of National Legal Services Authority, the State Legal Services Authorities observed the National Legal Services Day on 9th November, 2011. Various programmes were organized at State, High Court, District and Taluk levels.
  9. Advertisements were inserted by NALSA on 9th November, 2011 in the newspapers of all regional languages as a publicity measure to reach out to the people.
  10. As a part of protecting and enforcing the rights of children, NALSA directed the State Legal Services Authorities to observe the Children’s Day on 14th November, 2011 and suitable programmes be organised involving children belonging to marginalized sections of the society.

NALSA in association with High Court of Delhi, Delhi State Legal Services Authority and Delhi Family Courts organised Children’s Day Celebrations on 14th November, 2011 at the lawns of High Court of Delhi. The merriful celebration was organised to recognize the rights of children for the full and harmonious development of their personality, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, Judge, Supreme Court of India & Executive Chairman of NALSA,  Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri, Acting Chief Justice and other Hon’ble Judges of High Court of Delhi and Judges of Subordinate Judiciary and Delhi Family Courts participated in the celebrations.  Children interacted with the Hon’ble Judges

NALSA in association with Nagaland State Legal Services Authority organised a seminar on “Access to Justice in Nagaland – Role of Legal Services Authority” on 3-4 December, 2011 at Dimapur and Kohima. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman, NALSA inaugurated the Seminar.

NALSA organised a training programme from 17-19 December, 2011 at National Judicial Academy, Bhopal for the Member Secretaries of the State Legal Services Authorities.  The training was imparted to the Member Secretaries for performing the duties mandated by the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 in a proactive manner and to sensitise them to be sensitive to the problems of poor and marginalised sections of the society.

 

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