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Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 – Criteria for giving legal services -

Every person who has to file or defend a case shall be entitled to legal services under this Act if that person is-

a) a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe;
b) a victim of trafficking in human beings or beggar as referred to in Article 23 of the Constitution of India;
c) a woman or a child;
d) a person with disability a defined in clause (i) of section 2 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full participation) Act, 1995 (1 of 1996);
e) a person under circumstances of undeserved want such as being victim of a mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster;
f) an industrial workman;
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);
h) in receipt of annual income less than Rupees 5,00,000. (Applicant is required to furnish an affidavit to this effect)

Section 13 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987

– Entitlement to Legal Services -

1. Persons who satisfy all or any of the criteria specified in Section 12 shall be entitled to receive legal services provided that the concerned Authority is satisfied that such person has a prima facie case to prosecute or to defend.
2. An affidavit made by a person as to his income may be regarded as sufficient for making him eligible to the entitlement of legal services under this Act unless the concerned Authority has reason to disbelieve such affidavit.

Regulation 14 of the SCLSC Regulations, 1996

– Legal Services not be provided in certain cases -

1. Proceedings wholly or partly in respect of – defamations; or malicious prosecution; or a person charged with Contempt of court; and perjury;
2. Proceedings relating to any election;
3. Proceedings incidental to any of the above proceedings;
4. Proceedings in respect of offences where the fine imposed is not more than Rs. 50;
5. Proceedings in respect of economic offences and offences against social laws, such as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (unless in such cases the aid is sought by the victim) [Provided that the Hon'ble Chairman may in appropriate case grant legal services even in such proceedings]
6. Proceedings where a person seeking legal aid or advice is concerned with the proceedings only in a representative or official capacity; or is a formal party to the proceedings, not materially concerned in the outcome of the proceedings and his interests are not likely to be prejudiced on account of the absence of proper representation. [However, irrespective of the means test, legal aid may be granted in cases of great public importance; or in a special case, reasons for which are to be recorded in writing, considered otherwise deserving of legal aid or advice]

Free Legal Services
Note : It may be mentioned here that, the litigant who has been granted legal aid by SCLSC, need not to pay any money to any official of SCLSC or to the Advocate concerned, to whom his/her case is marked, for filing Petition before the Hon'ble Supreme Court.
The granting of legal aid to the litigants, is absolutely free of cost.