Legal Aid Scheme: A blissful shelter for deprived folks of Bangladesh

:: Lawmate Desk ::

According to the article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh- “All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law,” this provision is lawfully guaranteed. Article 33(1) of our Constitution also entails that no person arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed immediately the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. In spite of these protective measures, a large many people in Bangladesh are deprived of their Constitutional rights to access justice owing to curse of poverty. Most of the people are not only poverty- stricken but are also deprived of the minimum basic needs of life. Modern life and civilization are beckoning of the horizon to them. Poverty, illiteracy, ignorance keeps the indigent people illiterate. The poor litigants are unable to reach the doorsteps of the justice system as it is somewhat expensive and time consuming often leaving the poor litigants to silently bear the agonies of injustice.

In order to ensure access to justice to the poor and indigent people, the Government of Bangladesh enacted the Legal Aid Services Act, 2000. Thereafter, National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO) was established to implement the government legal aid program across the country. NLASO provides legal aid to the poor litigants who are incapable of seeking justice due to financial insolvency, destitution, helplessness and also for various socio-economic conditions.

Formation & Committee

The general direction and administration of the affairs and functions of NLASO is vested in the National Board of Management which consists of 19 members and is chaired by Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs. There are 64 District Legal Aid Committee (DLAC) through which NLASO implements the government legal aid program at the district level. DLAC maintains a legal aid fund allocated by the government which is spent solely for poor litigants upon their applications. There are Upazila and Union level committees also working to spread the legal aid program at the grassroots level.

 

List of people who may get free Legal Aid service from Bangladesh Government-

Any insolvent person whose annual average income is not above Tk. 50,000/-

Freedom fighters disabled, partially disabled, unemployed or unable to make a yearly income above 75,000 Taka;

An individual receiving old age allowance;

Distressed mother holding a VGD (Vulnerable Group Development) card;

Women and children victims of trafficking;

Women and children victims of acid throwing by the miscreants;

Allotee of a house or land in a model village;

Insolvent widow, a woman abandoned by husband or a distressed woman;

Disabled person, unable to earn and destitute;

Person unable to protect his/her right in court or to defend him/herself due to financial insolvency;

Person detained without trial and unable to take proper steps for legal assistance;

Person considered by the court as financially helpless and insolvent;

Person recommended or considered by the jail authority as financially helpless and insolvent;

Person who is identified from time to time by the organization as financially insolvent, destitute and suffered losses due to various socio-economic and natural calamities for the purpose of the Legal Aid Service Act, 2000, and unable to conduct a case to protect own right.

 

People’s Time/AJ

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