22 Oct, 2021
06:12:30 PM
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Post Application Procedure

  1. What is the procedure after my application is submitted with the Legal Services Institutions?
Legal aid is provided to the entitled persons through legal services authorities existing from the National to Taluka levels including the NALSA, State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Taluk Legal Services Committees, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee and High Court Legal Services Committees. If, however, an application or request for legal aid is received by NALSA, NALSA forwards the same to the concerned authority.
Once the application is submitted with the proper authority, it would be perused by the concerned Legal Services Institution as to what action is needed upon the same. The information about the next step on the application would then be sent to the parties concerned.
The action taken on an application received would vary from providing counselling/advice to the parties, providing a lawyer to represent them in the court, etc.

 

  1. What is the procedure after my application is selected/legal aid is granted?
Once the application is selected, the applicant is given intimation about the assignment of a lawyer. A letter of appointment is also issued to the assigned lawyer with a copy to the applicant. The lawyer would thereafter contact the applicant at the earliest. The applicant may also contact the lawyer in the meanwhile.

 

  1. What is the average time taken for an application to be processed and for an individual to be assigned a free legal aid lawyer?
According to Regulation 7(2) of the National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations 2010, a decision on the application for free legal aid is to be taken immediately and not more than 7 days from the date of the receipt of the application.

 

  1. How will I get an intimation/information of the acceptance, success, failure, etc. of my application? By email, SMS or Courier?
Once the application is scrutinized by the concerned authorities, the information of its success or failure is given to the applicant in the following ways:
    1. If the application was made physically at the front office of any Legal Services Authority, an address (either residential or email) for correspondence is usually noted and information regarding the application is sent to the same.
    1. If the application is made online via the NALSA website or the online portals of the Legal Services Authorities, an application number is generated and the appropriate Legal Services Authority is contacted. The applicant can track the status of the application on the online portal itself. 
    1. If the application has been received from Government Departments / CPGRAM, an email is sent to the applicant. The applicant can also get a scanned copy of the application on the CPGRAM website. Remarks regarding the application are also made on CPGRAM website and the website of the Legal Services Authority.

 

  1. When can Legal Aid be Denied or Withdrawn?
Legal Aid can be denied at the initial stage before the application for legal aid is accepted. It can also be withdrawn at the later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided. Legal aid can be denied or withdrawn in the following circumstances:
    1. Legal aid can be denied if a person is found ineligible under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987
    1. Legal aid can be withdrawn if the aided person who applied under the income category is found to possess sufficient means;
    1. Legal aid can be withdrawn where the aided person obtained legal services by misrepresentation or fraud;
    1. Legal aid can be withdrawn where the aided person does not cooperate with the Legal Services Authority/Committee or with the legal services advocate;
    1. Legal aid can be withdrawn where the person engages a legal practitioner other than the one assigned by the Legal Services Authority/Committee;
    1. Legal aid can be withdrawn in the event of death of the aided person except in the case of civil proceedings where the right or liability survives;
    2. Legal aid can be withdrawn where the application for legal service or the matter in question is found to be an abuse of the process of law or of legal services.

 

  1. Can I appeal if the free legal services are denied to me?
According to Regulation 7(5) of the National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations 2010, the application for legal services will be scrutinized by the Member-Secretary or the Secretary and if any individual is aggrieved by the decision made upon their application, he/she has an option to appeal to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the Legal Services Institution and the decision resulting from the appeal would be a final one.

 

  1. Whom can I Approach if I want to Complain against the Conduct of a Legal Services Authority?
A complaint can be made regarding the conduct of a legal services authority to the higher authority in the following hierarchal order:
    1. The National Legal Services Authority is the central authority and is headed by the the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India as its Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is the ExecutiveChairman and a District Judge level Judicial Officer is the Member Secretary.
    1. The State Legal Services Authorities are headed by the Chief Justices of their respective High Courts as their Patron-in- Chiefs, and the second senior most Judge of the respective High Courts as their Executive Chairman. They also have Member Secretaries heading the respective State Legal Services Authorities.
    1. The High Court Legal Services Committees are headed by a sitting Judge of the respective High Court as their Chairman.
    1. The respective District Legal Services Authorities are headed by a District Judge as their Chairman.
    1. The respective Taluk Legal Services Committeesare headed by a Senior Judge as their Chairman.

 

  1. What is the procedure if I am unhappy with the conduct of the lawyer assigned to me by a Legal Services Authority? Can I complain against him/her? Can he be replaced?
If you are unhappy with the conduct of the lawyer assigned to you, you can make a formal complaint (to the authority that assigned you the lawyer) by:
    1. Writing a simple paper application and submitting the same to a Legal Services Authority;
    1. Writing an email to the appropriate authority or NALSA (at nalsa-dla@nic.in);
    1. Accessing the “Grievance Redressal” option on NALSA website (https://nalsa.gov.in/) or the respective website of the authority that assigned the lawyer.
However, you must ensure that your complaint describes the problem that you are facing with your lawyer. According to Regulation 8 (14) of the National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations 2010, the Legal Services Institution is at liberty to withdraw any case from a panel lawyer during any stage of the proceedings.
Regulation 8 (17) states that if the panel lawyer engaged is not performing satisfactorily or has acted contrary to the object and spirit of the Act and the regulations, the Legal Services Institution shall take appropriate steps - including withdrawal of the case from such lawyer and even his/her removal from the panel.