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Is Justice free in India?

'A large percentage of the population in India still not aware of their basic rights which leads to the exploitation and deprivation of rights and benefits of the poor.' The Article discusses whether Justice, a basic human right, is free in India or not. This piece has been authored by Ramya Thoti, LLB Student at Sripadmavathi mahila viswavidhyalayam, Tirupati. Let us find out, whether Justice is free in India?




“For the survival of a liberal democracy, an impartial and independent judiciary is essential.” – Justice J. Chalameswar. Judiciary plays an important role in democracy. Justice, Equality, Liberty, Fraternity which are enshrined in the preamble of the Indian constitution are the four pillar on which the entire constitution is based. Free justice is obtained by the Legal aid which was incorporated into the Indian constitution by 42nd amendment act, 1976 under article 39A. Article 39A of the Indian constitution provides that “The state shall serve that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on the 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 citizens.”

This article imposed an obligation on to the state to provide free legal aid to make sure that there are equal opportunities and also to ensure that justice is not denied to the citizens. Based on the Constitutional provisions, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted by the Parliament in 1987. The object of the act is to provide free and complete legal services to the economically and socially weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is constituted under the act. The aim is to reach out the legal services to the socio-economic, and culturally backward people. It performs variety of functions including organizing Lok Adalats, creating legal awareness to the citizens by organizing legal camps etc.

The aim and motto of these acts are appreciable but, when it comes to reality these are all confined only to papers. Even though the act was enacted in 1987, the NALSA established in 1995 of which, the effectiveness is really low. Unfortunately, in India, legal aid has proven to be ineffective. It is estimated that, only 10 crore people were in direct contact with the judiciary, of the 1.3 billion population. Do you think it possible to get free justice without knowing what is free legal aid? The answer is No.

Can Justice be made free in India?

This scenario can be altered. First of all, there shall be a change regarding the attitude of the respective authorities. The quality of the legal aid should be improved. There must be a constant and close monitoring of how exactly it is functioning. The lack of awareness is the major drawback of the legal aid movement. The citizens must be aware of their legal rights , only when they know what is their right and how the system supposed to work then only they can recognize that they are deprived of their right or not. Lawyers must be encouraged to deliver free legal aid. Generally, lawyers are uninterested in incompetent legal services because of the financial constraints. The law students can be actively involved in doing these voluntary works.

Justice in India can be obtained freely with Legal aid. Legal aid is no charity but the duty imposed on the state and the right of the citizens. Free legal aid has been held to be the necessary accessory of the Rule of law but, the legal aid movement has not achieved its goal. It’s far away from reaching its target. Even though there are many obstacles which are constraining the legal aid movement, the lack of general awareness among the people is the major obstacle to the legal aid movement. A large percentage of the population in India still not aware of their basic rights which leads to the exploitation and deprivation of rights and benefits of the poor.

Ramya Thoti, LLB Student at Sripadmavathi mahila viswavidhyalayam

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