Claiming Free Legal Aid / Application Procedure
- Where should I approach in order to seek free legal services/aid?
Depending upon the territorial and subject matter jurisdiction of the case, an individual should approach the following appropriate authority:
Taluk Legal Services Committee which is in the premises of the Court in that Taluk; or
District Legal Services Authority which is in the premises of the District Court in the District Headquarters; or
The concerned State Legal Services Authority (for particular cases, panels of which are maintained at State level);
The High Court Legal Services Committee which is in the premises of the concerned High Court; or
The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for cases before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Each District Legal Services Authority, High Court Legal Services Committee and State Legal Services Authority has a front office where an application can be moved.
One can even access and apply on the online portal of NALSA (https://nalsa.gov.in/) or the website of the State Legal Services Authorities.
- How can I apply for free legal aid?
You can apply for free legal aid either offline or online. You can fill up the ready-made form/application form that is available at your nearest Legal Services Authority and submit the same at either the Authority physically, or post the application to the Authority.
You can even make an application in writing on a simple piece of paper with the necessary details such as your name, gender, residential address, employment status, nationality, whether SC/ST (with proof in support), income per month (with affidavit), the case for which legal aid is required, reason for seeking legal aid, etc. and submit it physically or send by post.
Another option is to send the application online i.e. by email to NALSA (at firstname.lastname@example.org), or through the online application form available online at NALSA’s website by going on the ‘Online Application’ Link on the Home Page, along with uploading necessary documents.
It is also possible to make your application orally - a paralegal volunteer or an officer of the concerned Legal Services Authority will assist you in such cases.
- Is there any other Information that I need to Furnish along with my Application?
You have to submit the completed application form to the authority along with full documentation which includes identity proofs, requisite certificates/affidavit as proof of belonging to a particular category for being entitled for free legal services.
For application through the online procedure, details regarding all the relevant documents required are provided in the website.
- Do I have to pay any charge/fee for acquiring and submitting an application form for free legal aid?
No, there is absolutely no charge for getting an application form for free legal aid. You are not required to spend any money for both getting and submission of the application. For obtaining legal advice, you can call or visit the office of the concerned Legal Services Authority.
- What if the Person in need of Free Legal Aid is Illiterate?
Such persons can be assisted by the SLSAs/DLSAs/TLSCs or panel Advocates etc., once they approach the legal services institutions. The Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) who are stationed in the villages can also gather necessary information of such applicants and fill up the forms for them. The applicant is required to affix signature initials or thumb impression on the same.
- Do I have to Incur Expenses at any Stage?
No, expenses like Process Fees, Drafting Fees, Typing Fees, Clerkage as well as Fees of panel lawyers (during or after the case is completed) are borne by the legal service institutions.
- What are the timings of the Legal Services Authorities within which an individual seeking free legal aid can approach for assistance/application?
An individual seeking free legal aid can approach NALSA anytime between Monday and Friday - from 9:30 am to 6 pm. However, the online application can be filed at any time of the day or night as the website is functional 24 x 7. The other Legal Services Authorities can also be approached within their office hours which can be checked on their respective websites.