Legal Aid services are not only available at the trial stage but also to needy suspects and arrestees during interrogation and other early stages of investigation.

Guide on Applying for Legal Aid

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How can the guide help you?

The Nyaaya Guide on Applying for Legal Aid helps citizens understand how to obtain legal services free-of-cost from Legal Services Authorities in India. This includes information on online and offline application for legal aid along with eligibility criteria to request legal aid. It is important for the citizens to understand how to apply for legal aid so as to ensure that the opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.

What are the laws discussed in the guide?

The Nyaaya Guide on Application for Legal Aid discusses the law on legal aid outlined in the Constitution of India1, 1950, Code of Criminal Procedure, 19732, Code of Civil Procedure, 19083 and Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

Things to Remember


Free Legal Aid includes:

  • An Advocate representing you in court or other legal proceedings. 
  • Legal Services Authority paying process fees, expenses of witnesses and all other charges payable or incurred in connection with any legal proceedings. 
  • Preparation of pleadings, memo of appeal, paper book including printing and translation of documents in legal proceedings.
  • Drafting of legal documents etc. 
  • Supplying certified copies of judgments, orders, notes of evidence and other documents in legal proceedings. 
  • Giving aid and advice regarding welfare laws and schemes in India.

What is Legal Aid?

Free legal aid is the provision of free legal services5 in civil and criminal matters for poor and marginalized groups who cannot afford the services of a lawyer for a case or a legal proceeding in any Court, Tribunal or Authority. These services are governed by Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and headed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

Who can apply for Legal Aid?

  1. A member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. 
  2. A victim of trafficking in human beings or begar. 
  3. A woman or a child.
  4. A person with a mental illness or a person with a disability. 
  5. A person who is a victim of a mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake, or industrial disaster.
  6. An industrial workman8. 
  7. In custody, including custody in a protective home9, juvenile home10 or in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home.

What are the income limits for people seeking Legal Aid?

Any person who applies for legal aid can only be eligible for seeking legal aid if they earn below a certain income limit depending on the state in which they live. Given below are the income limits for states:

S. No.  Income Ceiling Limit (Per Annum)  States/ Union Territories
1 Rs 3,00,000 Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh UT
2 Rs 1,50,000 Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tripura
3 Rs 1,00,000 Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Daman & Diu, Puducherry
4 Rs 25,000 Mizoram
5 Rs 15,000 Dadar and Nagar Haveli UT
6 Rs 9,000 Lakshadweep
7 General -Rs 1,00,000
Senior Citizen- Rs 2,00,000
Transgender -Rs 2,00,000

Where can you seek legal aid?

You may approach the following authorities for legal aid: 

  1. Taluk Legal Services Committee which is in the premises of the Court in that Taluk.
  2. District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) which is in the premises of the District Court in the District Headquarters.
  3. The concerned State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) (for cases, panels of which are maintained at State level). 
  4. The High Court Legal Services Committee which is in the premises of the concerned High Court. 
  5. The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for cases before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Each DLSA, High Court Legal Services Committee and SLSA has a front office13 where an application can be moved. The front office is a room in the legal services authority where legal services are made available.

What are the documents required for filing an application?

To apply for legal aid, you will require the following documents: 

  • A proof of identification such as an Aadhar Card, Passport etc. 
  • An affidavit proving your eligibility for legal aid. For example, if they are claiming they are eligible because their income is below the level specified, then they must give an affidavit of their income, as proof.
  • In addition to the above documents, there may be some additional documents required in your state. Consult the nearest legal services authority to ask for more details on the documents required.

How to File An Application


You can file an application for legal aid in two ways: In-Person and Online.

How do you file a legal aid application in person?

Follow the steps given below to file the application in person:14 

  • Go to the front office of the nearest legal services authority in your district.
  • If you want to approach your State’s legal services authority, go to their front office during the office hours. 
  • Fill up the ready-made application form available at the legal services authority.
  • You can also make an application in writing on a simple piece of paper with the necessary details such as their name, gender, residential address, employment status, nationality, whether SC/ST (with proof in support in the form of a certificate), income per month (with affidavit), the case for which legal aid is required and reason for seeking legal aid. 
  • You can submit the filled-out application in person at the front office or through post.
  • A paralegal volunteer or an officer of the authority will guide you on the next steps to be taken, clarification or other documents required.

How do you file an online legal aid application?

Follow the steps given below to file the application online:

  1. Go to the National Legal Services Authority’s Legal Services Management System
  2. Click on ‘Lodge Application Form’ for legal services.
  3. Change the language of the application by clicking on the Hindi/English button on top left side of the form.
  4. Choose the Legal Service Authority where you plan to file an application to.
  5. Choose the State, District or Taluk where you want to file the application to.
  6. Fill the nature of the legal problem and choose options given in the drop down including law and order, retirement dues, revenue/land/tax, social evils etc. will be available.
  7. Fill in the summary of the problem for which you are applying for legal aid.
  8. Add personal details like name, gender, case, caste certificate, annual income etc.
  9. Enter details related to any previous cases like case type, case no., court type etc.
  10. Attach documents if you have case or additional information and click on Submit
  11. Obtain a Diary Number which can be used by you to track the application in the future.

Can the application be emailed?

Yes. You can send the application via email to NALSA at Ensure the necessary details are mentioned in the email – name, gender, residential address, employment status, nationality, whether SC/ST (with proof in the form of a certificate), income per month (with affidavit), the case for which legal aid is required, reason for seeking legal aid, etc.

How is the legal aid application processed?

Once you submit the application, the legal services authority will:16 

  • Scrutinize the application to determine next steps
  •  Within 7 days of receiving the application, accept or reject the application
  • Inform you at your residential address or email address or if the application was made online, update the status. You can track the status using the diary number obtained.
  • If the application is accepted, give you information on the lawyer assigned.
  • Give a letter of appointment (vakalatnama) to you and the lawyer and the applicant.

Denial & Withdrawal of Legal Aid

Can the Legal Aid be denied or withdrawn later?

Legal Aid can be denied at two stages – at the initial stage before the application for legal aid is accepted and the later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided.

Legal aid can be denied or withdrawn if the applicant: 

  • Is ineligible to apply for legal aid18 
  • Is above the income limit given by states
  • Obtains legal services by misrepresentation or fraud 
  • Does not cooperate with the Legal Services Authority or with the legal services advocate 
  • Engages a legal practitioner other than the one assigned by the Legal Services Authority • Event of death of the applicant, except in the civil cases where the rights or liability survive 
  • Abuses the process of law or of legal services

How do you file an appeal?

The application for legal services will be scrutinized by the Member-Secretary or the Secretary19 of the Legal Services Authority.20 If you are aggrieved by the decision made, you have the option to appeal to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the Legal Services Authority and the decision resulting from the appeal would be a final one.

Making a Complaint

Where do you file a complaint?

You can file a complaint to an authority higher to the one in which they have filed an application, in the order mentioned below:

National Legal Services Authority

State Legal Services Authority

District Legal Services Authority

Taluk Legal Services Authority

How do you file a complaint about the conduct of the lawyer assigned?

If you are unhappy with the conduct of the lawyer assigned, you can make a formal complaint to the authority that assigned the lawyer by: 

  1. Writing a simple paper application and submitting the same to a Legal Services Authority 
  2. Writing an email to the appropriate authority or NALSA (at 
  3. Accessing the “Grievance Redressal” option on NALSA website or the respective website of the authority that assigned the lawyer. 

Please ensure that the complaint describes the problem that you are facing with the lawyer.


Contact Information:

Contact Details for National Legal Service Authority

Name & Address Contact Details
National Legal Services Authority

12/11, Jamnagar House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi-110011 Office: 011-23385321,23382778



Fax: 23382121

Supreme Court Legal Services Committee

109, Lawyers Chambers Post Office Wing, Supreme Court Compound,

NEW DELHI – 110 001

Office: 011-23073970; 23388313; 23381257



Fax: 23073970, 23388597

Contact Details for State and UT Legal Service Authority

Name and Address Contact Details
Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority,
Ground Floor, Interim Judicial Complex, High Court Andhra Pradesh,
Nelapadu, Amaravathi,-522 237
Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh
Office: 0863 2372760



Arunachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority,
Chief Minister’s Old Office Building, Niti Vihar,
Itanagar, P.O. Itanagar,
District Papum Pare, Arunachal Pradesh – 791111
Office: 0360 -2310999/2310116/2310117

Toll Free No.: 15100/18003453153



Assam State Legal Services Authority,
1st Floor, Behind Gauhati High Court New Block,
GUWAHATI – 781 001
Office: 0361-2601843/2516367

E-mail:, assamslsa@


Bihar State Legal Services Authority,
Opposite Patna Museum, Buddha Marg
PATNA – 800 001.
Toll Free No. 15100 Nyaya Samadhan No: +918709901744


Website: bslsa/

Registrar: 0612-2230943

Fax: 0612-2508390

Chhattisgarh State Legal Services Authority,
Old High Court Building, Bilaspur
Chhattisgarh– 495001
Office: 07752-410210

E-mail:, cgslsa@gmail. com


Goa State Legal Services Authority,
New High Court Building, Lyceum Complex, Altinho,
Panaji Goa – 403 001
Office: 0832-2421169, 2421169, 2431910, 2224126



Gujarat State Legal Services Authority,
Gujarat High Court Complex,
Sola, Ahmedabad
Tele/Fax : 079-27664964, 079-27665296

Toll Free No.: 1800-233-7966

E-mail :

Website: gslsa

Haryana State Legal Services Authority,
Institutional Plot No.9, Sector-14,
Panchkula (Haryana)-134109
Office: 2561309 Helpline No.: 18001802057


Website: Fax: 0172-2583309

Himachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority,
Block No.22, SDA Complex, Kusumpti,
SHIMLA – 171 009
Office: 0177- 2623862



Fax:: 2626962

J&K State Legal Services Authority,
Winter Address: (Nov to March) JDA Complex, Janipura, JAMMU-180007
Summer Address: (April to October) Old Secretariat, Srinagar
Office Jammu: 0191- 2546753 2564764

Office Srinagar : 0191- 2450644, 2480408


Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority,
“NYAYA SADAN” Near AG Office,
Doranda, Ranchi – 834002
Office: 0651-2481520

E-mail:, jhalsa_


Fax: 2482397

Karnataka State Legal Services Authority,
Nyaya Degula, 1st Floor, H.Siddaiah Road,
Bangalore – 560027
Office: 080-22111729, 22111714

Toll free No.: 1800-425-90900

E-mail: mskar-slsa@


Fax: 22112935

Kerala State Legal Services Authority,
Niyama Sahaya Bhavan, High Court Compound,
Ernakulam, KOCHI – 682 031
Office: 0484-2396717



Madhya Pradesh State Legal Services Authority,
C-2, South Civil Lines, Pachpedi,
Jabalpur 482001
Office: 0761-2678352, 2624537

Toll Free No. : 15100



Fax: 2678537

Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority, 1
05, High Court, PWD Building,
Fort, MUMBAI – 400 032
Office: 022-22691395 / 2263 1358



Fax: 022-2267 4295

Manipur State Legal Services Authority,
ADR Centre, Lamphel Court Complex,
Imphal West District, Manipur
Office: +91-9436239669, +91-9436239666



Fax: 2411461, 23926742

Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority,
R.No.120, MATI Building, Additional Secretariat,
SHILLONG – 793 001


Fax: 2336618,2500064

Mizoram State Legal Services Authority,
Junior Judges Quarters Building, New Capital Complex,
Khatla, Aizwal, Mizoram
Office: 0389-2336621



Fax: 2336619

Nagaland State Legal Services Authority,
KDPA Building, Top Floor, D.C. Office Compound,
KOHIMA – 797001
Office: 0370-2290153

Helpline: 0370-2292144



Orissa State Legal Services Authority,
S.O. Quarter No.20, Cantonment Road,
Cuttack -753 001
Office: 0671-2307678, 2304389

Helpline No:-0671-2307071



Fax: 2305702

Punjab State Legal Services Authority,
Site No.126,Opposite GMADA Community Centre, Sector 69, S.A.S.Nagar, Mohali
Office: +91-172-2216690,2216750

Toll Free No.: 1968



Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority,
Rajasthan High Court Building,
Jaipur – 302 005
Office: 0141-2227481



Fax: 227602

Sikkim State Legal Services Authority,
Development Area, Gangtok,
East Sikkim-737101
Office: 03592-207753

Helpline No.: 03592-205377



Telangana State Legal Services Authority
IInd Floor, C-Block, High Court Premises,
Hyderabad – 500 066
Office: 040-23446725



Telefax : 040-23446723

Tamil Nadu State Legal Service Authority,
North Fort Road, High Court Campus
Chennai – 600104.
Helpline No.: 044–25342441 (From 10 am to 6 pm-on all working days)

Toll Free No.: 1800 4252 441 (From 10 am to 6 pm – on all working days)

E-mail: , tnslsa@gmail. com

Legal Assistance Establishment:
Helpline No.: 1516

Telephone No. : 044 – 25343363

Email ID.:

Mobile No.: 94450 33363

Website: http://www.tnlegalservices.

Tripura State Legal Service Authority,
East Bank of Malarmath Dighi Agartala,
Tripura (W) – 799001
Office: 0381-2322481

Toll Free No.: 1516



Fax: 0381-231-0444

Uttar Pradesh State Legal Services Authority,
3rd Floor, Jawahar Bhavan Annexe,
Lucknow – 226 001
Office: 0522-2286395,2286265

Helpline Toll Free No.:1800-419-0234



Fax: 0522-2287972,2286260

Uttarakhand State Legal Services Authority,
Glenthorn Building, High Court Complex, Nainital,
Office: 05942-236762



Fax: 236552

West Bengal State Legal Services Authority,
City Civil Court Building (1st Floor), 2 & 3,
Kiron Sankar Roy Road, KOLKATA – 700 001
Office: 033-22483892/22484235



Andaman & Nicobar Islands,Secretariat,
A&N Administration,
PORT BLAIR – 744 101
UT Chandigarh State Legal Services Authority,
Union Territory of Chandigarh, Additional Deluxe Building, Ground Floor, Sector 9-D, Chandigarh – 160009
Office: +91-172-2742999

Toll Free No.(Legal Assistance Establishment): 1516

Mobile No.(24×7 Free Legal Advice): +91 7087-112-384


Website: Fax: 2742888

UT Dadra & Nagar Haveli Legal Services Authority,
District & Sessions Court, Tokarkhada, Silvassa,
Dadra and Nagar Haveli (U.T.)Pin – 396 230
Office: 0260 – 2641337 / 2644452

Helpline No.: 0260 – 2630175



Fax: 079-2641334

Daman & Diu Legal Services Authority,
Moti Daman – 396220
Tele/ Fax No.: 0260-2230221

Helpline No.: 0260-2230087


Website: slsadamandiu/

Delhi State Legal Services Authority,
Pre-fab Building, Patiala House Courts,
NEW DELHI – 110 001
Help Line: 1516 (24*7), 9870101337, 011- 23071265



Lakshadweep State Legal Services Authority,
District & Sessions Judge, Lakshadweep,
Office: 04896-262323, 263138

E-mail: lakshadweepjusticeforall@gmail. com,, lslsa-lk@

Website: kelsa.php

U.T. of Puducherry Legal Services Authority,
No.3, Lal Bahadur Shastri Street,
Puducherry-605 001
Website: puducherry/pondicherry-legal-servicesauthority


  1. Check whether the applicant is eligible for free legal aid.
  2. Ensure the applicant has all the relevant documents required for seeking legal aid.
  3. Decide the mode in which application should be filed – online or offline.
  4. Look for the nearest Legal Services Authority if the offline mode is chosen.
  5. Approach the front office of the concerned Legal Services Authority to get the legal aid application form, to seek legal advice, to know status of the case and for any further legal assistance.


Front Office: Front office means a room in the Legal Services Institution where legal services are made available. In the Front office are deputed Retainer Lawyers, Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) and Panel Advocates. An individual may seek Legal advice from the front office. Further the front office drafts applications, petitions, replies etc, it has a record of legal aid applications, it uploads legal aid applications on the website of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), it updates the applicants about particulars of a Panel lawyers marked for their matter and also updates them regularly about the status of their case.

National Legal Service Authority: The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

State Legal Service Authority: In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.

Begar: This is a form of forced labour which means involuntary work without any remuneration. In other words, it can be said that a person is compelled to work against his will without being paid for it.

Workman: Any person employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work.

Sources of Information

  1. Claiming Free Legal Aid / Application Procedure, National Legal Services Authority, available at
  2. Getting Started Guide, National Legal Services Authority, available at
  3. Websites of State Legal Services Authorities, National Legal Services Authority, available at
  4. Front Office Guidelines, National Legal Services Authority, available at
  5. Legal Aid, Nyaaya, available at
  6. FAQs, National Legal Services Authority, available at
  7. The National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations, 2010 available at ree-and-competent-legal-services-regulations-2010

Have a question you want to ask our legal experts?

Related Resources

How to Apply for Legal Aid?

While applying for legal aid, you will require at least proof of identification and an affidavit proving you are eligible for legal aid.

What is Free Legal Aid?

Free legal aid means providing legal services, free of cost, to certain sections of the society like a beggar, differently-abled person, etc., as and when required. This does not mean that anyone can go and ask for legal aid. You have to be eligible to apply for it.

Eligibility for Legal Aid

If you want legal aid, you will need to go to a legal service authority. Once you approach the authority, they will check whether you are eligible for legal aid and the genuineness of your case.

Denial/Withdrawal of Legal Aid Services

After you fill out your application for legal aid, it can be denied or accepted. It can also be withdrawn at a later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided.

Where do you go for Legal Aid

You can approach the State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Supreme Court Legal Services Committees and the High Court Legal Services Committees for applying for legal aid.

Legal Services

Legal services are any service with respect to a case or any other legal proceeding before any Court, authority or tribunal. Getting legal advice is also a part of legal service.