Towards fulfilling the Preambular promise of securing to all the citizens, Justice – social, economic and political, Article 39 A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society, to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity. Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Constitution also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law. 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.
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society. The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief and the Senior most Hon'ble Judge, Supreme Court of India is the Executive Chairman of the Authority. Presently, NALSA is housed at 12/11, Jam Nagar House, New Delhi-110011.
Public awareness, equal opportunity and deliverable justice are the cornerstones on which the edifice of NALSA is based. The principal objective of NALSA is to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes. Apart from the abovementioned, functions of NALSA include spreading legal literacy and awareness, undertaking social justice litigations etc.
With the aim of reaching out to the diverse milieu of people belonging to different socio-economic, cultural and political backgrounds, NALSA identifies specific categories of the marginalized and excluded groups from the diverse populace of the country and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes to be undertaken and implemented by the Legal Services Authorities at the various levels. In carrying out all these responsibilities, NALSA works in close coordination with the various State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities and other agencies for a regular exchange of relevant information, monitoring and updating on the implementation and progress of the various schemes in vogue and fostering a strategic and coordinated approach to ensure smooth and streamlined functioning of the various agencies and stakeholders.