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 and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

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.

The Free Legal Services include:-

  a) Payment of court fee, process fees and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings;
  b) Providing service of lawyers in legal proceedings;
  c) Obtaining and supply of certified copies of orders and other documents in legal proceedings.
  d) Preparation of appeal, paper book including printing and translation of documents in legal proceedings.

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.

Practice Questions:

The provision of providing legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all has been mentioned under which of the following part of the Constitution?
    1. DPSP
    2. Fundamental Duties
    3. Fundamental Rights


     a.  Only 1
     b.  Only 3
     c. 1 and 3
     d. 2 and 3

Ans: c

Exp: Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability. Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.

2. Consider the following statements related to the Lok Adalat:
     1. The award passed by the Lok Adalat is deemed to be a decree of a civil court.
     2. An award passed by the Permanent Lok Adalat is final and no appeal is maintainable from it.
     3.Code of Civil Procedure and Indian Evidence Act are not applicable to the proceedings of Lok Adalat.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

      a.  1 and 3
      b.  Only 1
      c.  1 and 2
      d.  All

Ans: d

Exp: The Lok Adalat is presided over by a sitting or retired judicial officer as the chairman, with two other members, usually a lawyer and a social worker.
Main condition of the Lok Adalat is that both parties in dispute should agree for settlement.
There is no court fee. If the case is already filed in the regular court, the fee paid will be refunded if the dispute is settled at the Lok Adalat The procedural laws and the Evidence Act are not strictly followed while assessing the merits of the claim by the Lok Adalat

The decision of the Lok Adalat is binding on the parties to the dispute and its order is capable of execution through legal process. No appeal lies against the order of the Lok Adalat.