The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 – Analysis & Developments
By Ronita Halder, Department of Law, University of Calcutta.*
The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, has been enacted so that the economically weak, the backward, and the disabled are eligible to receive legal aid. This Act authorises legal services authorities who would enable access to competent and affordable legal services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities are not denied to any individual because of economic or other inabilities for securing justice. The Act establishes a three-tier structure to provide legal services at all levels and throughout the country. At the national level is the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), at the state level is the State Legal Services Authority (SALSA) and at the district level is the District Legal Services Authority (DALSA). It further mandates the establishment of Lok Adalats by the respective Legal service authorities at all levels, including the central, state, and district. Lok Adalats act as a form of alternate dispute resolution system. The Act has long history of enactment, but it has not been able to provide a hassle-free and all-round solution to problem of availability of free legal aid. This study aims to explore the purpose of the enactment of the Act and how far has it been successful.
* The author is a third-year student pursuing B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) from Department of Law, University of Calcutta.