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Equal Justice and free Legal Aid - Article 14 and 39A of Indian Constitution - Section 12 of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987

There are Crores of cases pending for decision in Indian Courts. Most affected people are poor and those who do not have proper understanding of the legal provisions and provisions in the constitution of India. Thousands of lives are being blocked in red tape and there is nobody to help or argue for the poor. If you criticize any community or gender you will see people's power and the Indians will unite to oppose you. They will not rest unless you get punishment.

But for the help of under trials or those who are victimized by branding as criminal, nobody is there to help them. For many important social issues Indians keep silence and think that this is the problem of others. "We can't expect more from these people, because they will spend Rs. 5,000/- or Rs. 50,000/- per month to maintain their dogs, but won't donate Rs. 50/- to poor people. The only thing we do for poor is "proudly give a 50 Paisa or Re. 1 coin or waste items to the beggars and complete our social responsibility.  "Because our lives are going on well, problem is with others".
But in Indian Constitution there are provisions to get Equal justice and free legal aid to the needy. Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 also contains many provisions and guidelines to ensure free legal aid and equal justice. We can imagine how it is being implemented practically. Provisions in Indian Constitutions are:

Article 14 of Indian Constitution- Equality before law
"The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth"


Article 39A of Indian Constitution - Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid
"The 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 disabilities".

Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 prescribes the criteria for giving legal services to the eligible persons. Section 12 of the Act reads as under:-

"12.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;

(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) in receipt of annual income less than rupees nine thousand or such other higher amount as may be prescribed by the State Govt., if the case is before a court other than the Supreme Court, and less than rupees twelve thousand or such other higher amount as may be prescribed by the Central Govt., if the case is before the Supreme Court."

(Rules have already been amended to enhance this income ceiling)

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