Current Affairs

Govt formulates new scheme ‘Legal Aid Counsel’

The state government has formulated a new scheme called ‘the scheme for Legal Aid Counsel in the Courts of Magistrates in the state of Goa.’ Emphasis of the scheme will be on providing state paid legal assistance to persons in custody.
The assistance will be at three stages – opposing applications to magistrate for remand to police custody and getting released the persons in custody on bail, legal assistance to persons in custody during trial for their defense and for legal assistance for preferring appeal or revision in the case of adverse orders against the person in custody.
Any person in custody and produced before a magistrate during investigation, enquiry or trial, who is not represented by an advocate, will be entitled to the services of a legal aid counsel.

The District Legal Services Authority will in the first instance identify all the courts of the magistrates in their respective districts for attaching legal aid counsels. In case the work load in a particular court or courts is too little, one legal aid counsel may be attached to two courts.
The District Legal Services Authority, to which the implementation of the scheme is entrusted, may prepare a panel of legal aid counsel preferably with an experience of handling criminal cases for a minimum of five years. The panel so prepared by the District Legal Services Authority will be sent to the state authority for its approval. The term of the panel of the legal aid counsel will be three years from the date of its approval.
The names and addresses of the legal aid counsel so empanelled will be displayed on the notice board of the District Legal Services Authority as well as that of the courts concerned to which a particular member on the panel is attached as a legal aid counsel. Requisite information as to who are eligible to have legal aid under this scheme will also have to be displayed alongside.
It will also be clearly mentioned in such display that no payment is required to be made by the party or on his behalf in cash or in kind to the legal aid counsel. The counsel will be paid by the state for his or her services.
The legal aid counsel will be obliged to be prompt and punctual by remaining present before the court assigned to him during remand hours and also at the time and place fixed by the magistrate.

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