Constitutional mandate for free legal aid in India
Ragini Jangam, Sanjay Deshpande
Everyone is hungry for the bread of justice. State as a dispenser of the justice needs to provide equal opportunity for everyone. Justice cannot be denied on the ground of economic inadequacy. As a welfare state it is duty of the State to provide the free legal service to the needy person for achieving the justice. Art. 39A of the Indian constitution imposes duty on the state to provide free legal aid. Basically this article has placed in Part- IV of the constitution which is not enforceable one. No one is allowed to file a writ of mandamus against the State for free legal aid. Because no express provision is there in our Indian constitution stating legal aid is a fundamental right. The bread of justice is meaningless if it is not enforceable. So the Supreme Court of India has read out the provisions from Part –IV into Part- III of Indian constitution on the basis of liberal and expansive interpretation. The Supreme Court of India has played the role of protector and guarantor of the fundamental rights of the Indian citizens. This research paper highlights the interpretation given by the Supreme Court for the constitutional provisions which directly or indirectly protect and enforce the right of the free legal aid.