3. CONSTITUTION OF NATIONAL LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY.
- (1)The Central Government shall constitute a body to be called the National Legal Services Authority to exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred on, or assigned to, the Central Authority under this Act.
(2) The Central Authority shall consist of
- (a) the Chief Justice of India who shall be the Patron-in-Chief;
- (b) a serving or retired Judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the President, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, who shall be the Executive Chairman; and
- (c) such number of other members, possessing such experience and qualifications, as may be prescribed by the Central Government, to be nominated by that government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
- (3)The Central Government shall in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, appoint a person to be the Member-Secretary of the Central Authority, possessing such experience and qualifications as may be prescribed by that Government, to exercise such powers and perform such duties under the Executive Chairman of the Central Authority as may be prescribed by that Government or as may be assigned to him by the Executive Chairman of that Authority.
- (4) The terms of office and other conditions relating thereto, of Members and the Member-Secretary of the Central Authority shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
- (5) The Central Authority may appoint such number of officers and other employees as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, for the efficient discharge of its functions under this Act.
- (6) The officers and other employees of the Central Authority shall be entitled to such salary and allowances and shall be subject to such other conditions of service as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
- (7) The administrative expenses of the Central Authority, including the salaries, allowances and pensions payable to the Member-Secretary, officers and other employees of the Central Authority, shall be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
- (8) All orders and decisions of the Central Authority shall be authenticated by the Member Secretary or any other officer of the Central Authority duly authorized by the Executive Chairman of that Authority.
- (9) No act or proceeding of the Central Authority shall be invalid merely on the ground of the existence of any vacancy in, or any defect in the constitution of, the Central Authority.
4. FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY.-
The Central Authority shall 1[x x x] perform all or any of the following functions, namely:-
- (a) lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the provisions of this Act;
- (b) frame the most effective and economical schemes for the purpose of making legal services available under the provisions of this Act;
- (c) utilize the funds at its disposal and make appropriate allocations of funds to the State Authorities and District Authorities;
- (d) take necessary steps by way of social justice litigation with regard to consumer protection, environmental protection or any other matter of special concern to the weaker sections of the society and for this purpose, give training to social workers in legal skills;
- (e) organize legal aid camps, especially in rural areas, slums or labour colonies with the dual purpose of educating the weaker sections of the society as to their rights as well as encouraging the settlement of disputes through Lok Adalats;
- (f) encourage the settlement of disputes by way of negotiations, arbitration and conciliation;
- (g) undertake and promote research in the filed of legal services with special reference to the need for such services among the poor;
- (h) to do all things necessary for the purpose of ensuring commitment to the fundamental duties of citizens under Part IVA of the Constitution;
- (i) monitor and evaluate implementation of the legal aid programmes at periodic intervals and provide for independent evaluation of programmes and schemes implemented in whole or in part by funds provided under this Act;
- (j) provide grants-in-aid for specific schemes to various voluntary social service institutions and the State and District Authorities, from out of the amounts placed at its disposal for the implementation of legal services schemes under the provisions of this Act;]
- (k) develop, in consultation with the Bar Council of India, programmes for clinical legal education and promote guidance and supervise the establishment and working of legal services clinics in universities, law colleges and other institutions;
- (l) take appropriate measures for spreading legal literacy and legal awareness amongst the people and, in particular, to educate weaker sections of the society about the rights, benefits and privileges guarantee by social welfare legislations and other enactments as well as administrative programmes and measures;
- (m) make special efforts to enlist the support of voluntary social welfare institutions working at the grass-root level, particularly among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, women and rural and urban labour; and
- (n) Coordinate and monitor the functioning of State Authorities, District Authorities, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committees, Taluk Legal Services Committees and voluntary social service institutions and other legal services organizations and give general directions for the proper implementation of the Legal Services programmes.
5. CENTRAL AUTHROITY TO WORK IN COORDINATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES .-
In the discharge of its functions under this Act, the Central Authority shall, wherever appropriate, act in co-ordination with other governmental and non-governmental agencies, universities and others engaged in the work of promoting the cause of legal services to the poor.