The Supreme Court has made it easier for the people of middle and lower income groups to approach it to avail legal aid, an official said on Thursday.
The Middle Income Group Scheme, introduced by the Supreme Court, is self-supporting and people whose gross income does not exceed Rs 60,000 per month or Rs 7,50,000 per annum can now avail its services, an official release here said.
A sum of Rs 500 shall be payable to the Supreme Court Middle Income Group Legal Aid Society and a stipulated fee as per the schedule attached to the scheme.
The release said that a case will be registered under the MIG Legal Aid Scheme and forwarded to Advocate-on-Record/Arguing Counsel/Senior Counsel on the panel for their opinion.
If Advocate-on-Record is satisfied that it is a fit case, then the society will consider that applicant is entitled to legal aid. The view expressed by Advocate-on Record will be final in determining eligibility of the applicant for obtaining the benefit under the scheme.
The person desirous of availing the benefit of scheme shall have to fill up the prescribed form.
The scheme provides for creating a contingent fund to meet miscellaneous expenditure in connection with the case and the applicant would also be required to deposit Rs 750 to the fund.
The scheme will enable people in the middle income group, who cannot afford expensive litigation in the Supreme Court, to avail services of the society at a nominal amount, the release said.
If the advocate takes a view that the case is not fit one for an appeal to the Supreme Court, then the entire amount after deducting Rs 750 towards minimum service charges of the committee shall be refunded to the applicant through cheque.
The release said that if an advocate, who is appointed under the scheme, is found negligent in pursuing the case entrusted to him, he would be required to return the brief together with the fee which he may have received from the applicant under the scheme.
The society will not be responsible for the negligent conduct and the entire responsibility will be that of the advocate vis-a-vis the client. The name of the Advocate will, however, be struck off from the panel prepared under the scheme.
The Law Ministry release said that the Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief of the society with Attorney General its ex-officio Vice President, Solicitor General its Honorary Secretary and other senior advocates of the apex court as its members.