Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to counsel and the right to a fair trial. In general sense, a legal aid is considered as a payment from public funds allowed, in cases of need, to help pay for legal advice or proceedings.
Legal aid and constitution of India
1. Preamble –
Preamble says that
“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, Democratic, Republic and to all its citizens Justice, social, economic and political Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship Equality of status and, of opportunity and to promote among them all.
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.”
Here ‘we the people’ shows that all the citizens have right to get justice in eye of constitution, if any one can’t pay for the legal services or proceedings or assistance then through public fund they can get help.
2 Fundamental rights
- Article 14 – Equality before law – Under this article the state shall not deny to any person, equality before the law, or the equal protection of the law within the territory of India.
- Article 21 – protection of life and personal liberty – under this article of our constitution, no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty according to procedure established by law.
- Article 22 – protection against arrest and detention in certain cases – under article 22 sub clause  it is state that ‘No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
3. Directive principle
i. Article 38 – State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people – under this article there are some duties which are fulfill by the state towards the citizen residing within the territories of India. The duties are as followed
a. The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life
b. The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and endeavor to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in
different areas or engaged in different vocations
ii. Article 39A – 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.
iii. Article – 41 Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases – The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement,
and in other cases of undeserved want