G.O.Ms.No. 1577 Home (Cts.IV) dated 29.10.1997, the newly constituted Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority came to be functioning with effect from 1.11.1997.
All the staff members of the erstwhile Tamil Nadu State Legal Aid and Advice Board were absorbed in the newly constituted Legal Services Authority.
By notification of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority dated 31.10.1997, all the District Committees for Legal Aid & Advice, Taluk Committees for Legal Aid & Advice, Legal Aid Centres were designated as District Legal Services Authorities, Taluk Legal Services Committees.
The presidents of the respective committees were re-designated as Chairmen of the respective District Authorities and Taluk Legal Services Committees.
As per the provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987, the Hon?ble Chief Justice of the High Court shall be the patron-in-Chief of Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority.
Sec. 6. Constitution of State Legal Services Authority:-
(1) Every State Government shall constitute a body to be called the Legal Services Authority for the State to exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred on, or assigned to, a State Authority under this Act.
(2) A State Authority shall consist of -
(a) The Chief Justice of the High Court who shall be the patron in-Chief;
(b) a serving or retired Judge of the High Court, to be nominated by the Governor, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, who shall be the Executive Chairman; and
(c) such number of other members, possessing such experience and qualifications as may be prescribed by the State Government to be nominated by that Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.
(3) The State Government shall, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, appoint a person belonging to the State Higher Judicial Service not lower in rank than that of a District Judge, as the Member Secretary of the State Authority, to exercise such powers and perform such duties under the Executive Chairman of the State Authority as may be prescribed by that Government or as may be assigned to him by the Executive Chairman of that Authority.
provided that a person functioning as Secretary of a State Legal Aid & Advice Board immediately before the date of constitution of the State Authority may be appointed as Member-Secretary of that Authority, even if he is not qualified to be appointed as such under this sub-section, for a period not exceeding five years.
(4) The terms of office and other conditions relating thereto, of members and the Member-Secretary of the State Authority shall be such as may be prescribed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.
(5) The State Authority may appoint such number of officers and other employees as may be prescribed by the State Government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, for the efficient discharge of its functions under this Act.
(6) The officers and other employees of the State Authority shall be entitled to such salary and allowances and shall be subject to such other conditions of service as may be prescribed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.
(7) The administrative expenses of the State Authority, including the salaries allowances and pensions payable to the Member-Secretary, officers and other employees of the State Authority shall be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund of the State.
(8) All orders and decisions of the State Authority shall be authenticated by the Member-Secretary or any other officer of the State Authority duly authorised by the Executive Chairman of the State Authority.
(9) No act or proceeding of a State Authority shall be invalid merely on the ground of the existence of any vacancy, or any defect in the constitution of the State Authority.
Sec. 7. Functions of the State Authority.-
(1) It shall be the duty of the State Authority to give effect to the policy and directions of the Central Authority.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the functions referred to in sub-section (1), the State Authority shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely :-
a) give legal service to persons who satisfy the criteria laid down under this Act;
(b) Conduct Lok
Adalats, including Lok Adalats for High Court cases,
(c) undertake preventive and strategic legal aid programmes and
(d) perform such other functions as the State Authority may, in consultation with the Central Authority, fix by regulations.
Sec. 8. State Authority to act in co-ordination with other agencies etc. and be subject to directions given by Central Authority :- In the discharge of its functions, the State Authority shall appropriately act in co-ordination with other Governmental Agencies, Non-Governmental voluntary social service institutions, Universities and other bodies engaged in the work of promoting the cause of legal services to the poor and shall also be guided by such directions as the Central Authority may give to it in writing.