29 Jan, 2023
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  1. Who are Entitled to Free Legal Services?

The sections of the society as enlisted under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act are entitled for free legal services, they are :

(a) A member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe;

(b) A victim of trafficking in human beings or begar 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; or

(g) 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 hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987(14 of 1987);or

(h) a person in receipt of annual income less than the amount mentioned in the following schedule (or any other higher amount as may be prescribed by the State Government), if the case is before a Court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs 5 Lakh, if the case is before the Supreme Court.

The Income Ceiling Limit prescribed u/S 12(h) of the Act for availing free legal services in different States has been stated below:

 

 

States/Union Territories

Income Ceiling Limit (Per Annum)

1.     

Andhra Pradesh

Rs. 3,00,000/- 

2.     

Arunachal Pradesh

Rs. 1,00,000/-

3.     

Assam

Rs. 3, 00, 000/-

4.     

Bihar

Rs. 1,50,000/-

5.     

Chhattisgarh

Rs. 1,50,000/-

6.     

Goa

Rs.3,00,000/-

7.     

Gujarat

Rs.1,00,000/-

8.     

Haryana

Rs. 3,00,000/-

9.     

Himachal Pradesh

Rs. 3,00,000/-

10.   

Jammu & Kashmir

Rs. 3,00,000/-

11.   

Jharkhand

Rs. 3,00,000/-

12.   

Karnataka

Rs. 3,00,000/-

13.   

Kerala

Rs. 300,000/-

14.   

Madhya Pradesh

Rs. 2,00,000/-

15.   

Maharashtra

Rs. 3,00,000/-

16.   

Manipur

Rs. 3,00,000/-

17.   

Meghalaya

Rs. 3,00,000/-

18.   

Mizoram

Rs. 25,000/-

19.   

Nagaland

Rs. 1,00,000/-

20.   

Odisha

Rs.3,00,000/-

21.   

Punjab

Rs. 3,00,000/-

22.   

Rajasthan

Rs. 3,00,000/-

23.   

Sikkim

Rs. 3,00,000/-

24.   

Telangana

Rs.3,00,000/-

25.   

Tamil Nadu

Rs. 3,00,000/-

26.   

Tripura

Rs. 1,50,000/-

27.

Uttar Pradesh

Rs. 3,00,000/-

28.

Uttarakhand

Rs. 3,00,000/-

29.

West Bengal

Rs. 1,00,000/-

30.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Rs.3,00,000/-

31.

Chandigarh UT

Rs. 3,00,000/-

32.

Dadra  & Nagar Haveli UT

Rs. 15,000/-

33.

Daman & Diu

Rs. 1,00,000/-

34.

Delhi

Rs.3,00,000/-

35.

Ladakh

Rs. 1,00,000/-

36.

Lakshadweep

Rs. 3,00,000/-

 37.  

Puducherry

Rs. 1,00,000/-

 

 

 

 

  1. Is a woman irrespective of her income/financial status eligible for free legal aid?

Yes, a woman is entitled for free legal aid irrespective of her income or financial status. A woman is eligible to apply for free legal aid by virtue of Section 12(c) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

 

  1. Till what age can a child apply for free legal aid?

A child is eligible for free legal aid till the age of majority i.e. 18 years. This is effectuated by Section 12 (c) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. 

 

  1. Are senior citizens eligible for free legal aid?

Senior citizens’ eligibility for free legal aid depends on the Rules framed by the respective State Governments in this regard.

In Delhi for example, senior citizens are eligible for free legal aid subject to prescribed ceiling of annual income. Any individual above the age of 60 can apply for free legal aid/services.

 

  1. Am I eligible for free legal aid if I do not earn/have enough money to pay for my case?

Yes, you are eligible for free legal aid if you fulfil the criteria under Section 12 (h) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. It states that those persons who have annual income of less than the amount prescribed by the respective State Government, if the case is before any court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs. 5 Lakhs, if the case is before the Supreme Court, are eligible for free legal aid. The income ceiling limit as prescribed by different States/Union Territories has been stated in the table in FAQ no. 1.

As per Section 13(2) of the Act, an affidavit made by a person as to his income is generally regarded as sufficient for making him/her eligible for the entitlement of legal services under the Act, unless the concerned Authority has reasons to question or disbelief such affidavit.

 

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