An eligible person who wants to avail Free Legal Aid through the Government/NALSA, needs to apply for the same. An application can be made either online or offline. The most convenient way to apply is by filling and sending an online application through the official NALSA website. You will be required to fill basic information about yourself, along with the details of the legal problem for which you require legal aid. One also needs to upload/attach documents such as Aadhar Card or Caste Certificate. The online application is available in Hindi and English.
For the offline application, one can fill up the ready-made application form that is available at the nearest Legal Services Authority and submit the same either physically or via post to the Authority. One can even write a simple application on a piece of paper with necessary details including name, gender, residential address, status of employment status, whether SC/ST, nationality, income per month and a summary of the legal problem/case for which Legal Aid is required.
You can also make an application orally to a paralegal volunteer or an officer available at the front offices of the concerned Legal Services Authority.
1. Where should I approach in order to seek Free Legal Services/Aid?
Ans. Depending upon the territorial and subject matter jurisdiction of the case, an individual should approach the following appropriate authority:
Each District Legal Services Authority, High Court Legal Services Committee and State Legal Services Authority has a front office where an application can be moved.
One can even access and apply on the online portal of NALSA (https://nalsa.gov.in) or the website of the State Legal Services Authority.
2. How can I apply for Free Legal Aid?
Ans. You can apply for Free Legal Aid either offline or online. You can fill up the ready-made form/application form that is available at your nearest Legal Services Authority and submit the same at either the Authority physically, or post the application to the Authority.
You can even make an application in writing on a simple piece of paper with the necessary details such as your name, gender, residential address, employment status, nationality, whether SC/ST (with proof in support), income per month (with affidavit), the case for which Legal Aid is required, reason for seeking Legal Aid, etc. and submit it physically or send by post.
Another option is to send the application online i.e. by email to NALSA (at [email protected]), or through the online application as provided on the official website of NALSA.
It is also possible to make your application orally - a paralegal volunteer or an officer of the concerned Legal Services Authority will assist you.
3. Do I have to pay any charge/fee for acquiring and submitting an application form for Free Legal Aid?
Ans. No, there is absolutely no charge for getting an application form for Free Legal Aid. You are not required to spend any money for both getting and submission of the application.
4. What documents do I need to submit along with the application for availing Free Legal Services?
Ans. Documents that are to be furnished along with your application include identity proofs and certificates/affidavits which prove that you belong to a particular category which is entitled for Free Legal Services.
5. How can an illiterate person apply for Free Legal Aid?
Ans. An illiterate person can easily apply for Free Legal Aid. Once they approach NALSA or any Legal Services Authority, they would be assisted by the concerned Legal Services Authority or the Advocates manning the front offices. The Para Legal Volunteers stationed in the villages can also gather the requisite information of applicants of such kind and fill up the forms/applications on their behalf. The applicant would be required to affix his/her thumb impressions/signatures on such forms.
6. Will I incur expenses at any stage during the whole procedure of obtaining and being represented by a Free Legal Services lawyer?
Ans. No, an individual who is eligible and has applied for free legal aid/services would not be required to pay at any stage - be it during the process of applying for free legal aid or at the stage of being represented by an advocate or any other services under the free legal aid.
7. What are the timings of the Legal Services Authorities within which an individual seeking Free Legal Aid can approach for assistance/application?
Ans. An individual seeking Free Legal Aid can approach NALSA anytime between Monday and Friday - from 9:30 am to 6 pm. However, the online application can be filed at any time of the day or night as the website is functional 24 x 7. The other Legal Services Authorities can also be approached within their office hours which can be checked on their respective websites.