Rules of State Legal Services Authority

The Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority Rules, 1997

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 28 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (Central Act 39 of 1987), the Governor of Tamil Nadu, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, [Madras]* hereby makes the following rules;-

Rules

1. Short title and commencement :- These rules may be called the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority Rules, 1997.

2. Definitions :- In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires.

"Act" means the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (Central Act 39 of 1987);

"Executive Chairman" means the Executive Chairman of the State Authority nominated under clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Act;

"Government" means the State Government;

"Member" means the Members of the State Authority nominated under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Act;

"Member-Secretary" means the Member secretary of the State Authority appointed under sub-section (3) of section 6 of the Act;

"State Authority" means the Legal Services Authority for the State constituted under section 6 of the Act;

all other words and expressions used in these rules but not defined shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Act.

3. Qualifications and experience of members of the State Authority:- 

  1. A person shall not be qualified for nomination as a member of the State Authority unless he is an eminent social worker who is engaged in the upliftment of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women, Children, rural and urban labour; or

  2. An eminent person in the field of law ; or

  3. a person of repute who is professionally experienced or specially interested in the implementation of the Legal Services Schemes.

4. Composition of the State Authority :- 

  1. The State Authority shall consist of the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras as patron-in-Chief, an Executive Chairman, nominated by the Governor in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras and not more than twenty one persons as members nominated by the Government in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice of the High Court Madras and the Member-Secretary appointed by the Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of High Court, Madras.

  2. The Government, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras shall, out of the twenty one members referred to in sub-rule (a) of rule 4, nominate the following persons as ex-officio members of the State Authority, namely :-

    i) The Advocate-General, Chennai

    ii) The Chairman, Bar Council of Tamil Nadu

    iii) The Chairman of the Bar Federation of Tamil Nadu.

    iv) The Commissioner and Secretary to the Government, Social Welfare Department.

    v) The Secretary to the Government, Law Department

    vi) The Secretary to the Government, Home Department.

    vii) The Secretary to the Government, Finance Department.

    viii) The Secretary to the Government, Adi Dravida and Tribal Welfare Department

    ix) The Director General of police.

    x) The Commissioner of police, Chennai

    Four Chairmen of the District Authority as may be specified by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras from time to time.

  3. The State Government, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, may nominate the remaining number of members as non-official members from amongst those possessing the qualifications and experience prescribed in rule 3, subject to the conditions and terms stipulated in the Act and in these rules.

5. Term of office of the Executive Chairman :- The Executive Chairman, whether a serving or retired judge of the High Court, shall hold office for a term of three years and shall be eligible for re-nomination for one more term.

6. Terms of office and conditions relating to members of the State Authority:- 

  1. The members of the State Authority nominated by the Government, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras* shall hold office for a period of three years and the nomination of official members shall be by their designation only. They shall be eligible for renomination for one more term.

  2. If any member nominated for the State Authority ceases to be member of the State Authority, for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled up in the same manner as the original nomination and the person so nominated shall continue to be a member for the remaining term of the member in whose place he is nominated.

  3. All members nominated under sub-rule (b) of rule 4 shall be entitled to payment of traveling allowance and daily allowance in respect of the journeys performed in connection with the work of the State Authority and shall be paid by the State Authority in accordance with the rules as are applicable to Grade - A officers of the Government as amended from time to time.

provided that any member, who is a Government employee, he shall be entitled to only one set of traveling allowance and daily allowance either from his parent Department or, as the case may be, from the State Authority.

7. Removal of non-official members from office in certain circumstances.- 

  1. The State Government may, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras remove any non-official member from the State Authority nominated under sub-rule (c) of rule 4, who,

    (i) fails, without sufficient cause, to attend three consecutive meetings of the State Authority; or

    (ii) has been adjudged as an insolvent ; or

    (iii) has been convicted of an offence which, involves moral turpitude, or

    (iv) has become physically or mentally incapable of acting as a member; or

    (v) has so abused his position as to render his continuance in the State Authority prejudicial to the public interest.

  2. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rule (1), no member shall be removed from the State Authority on the ground specified in clause (c) or (e) of that sub-rule, unless the Hon'ble the Chief Justice of the High Court, Madras on a reference being made to him in this behalf by the Government, has on an inquiry held by him or under his direction in accordance with such procedure as he may specify in this behalf, recommends that the member shall on such ground, be removed.

  3. A member may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Government, resign from the State Authority and such resignation shall take effect from the date on which it is accepted by the Government or on the expiry of thirty days from the date on tendering resignation whichever is earlier.

8. Special provisions for the Executive Chairman- 

  1. The Executive Chairman, in case he is a sitting Judge of the High Court shall be entitled to payment of traveling allowance and daily allowance in respect of the journeys performed by him in connection with the work of the State Authority and paid by the said Authority in accordance with the provisions of the High Court Judges, (Traveling Allowances) Rules 1956, as amended from time to time.

  2. The Executive Chairman shall be provided with a car with driver by the State Authority and the expenditure on account of the pay and allowances of the staff car driver as well as maintenance and repairs of the car shall be borne by the State Authority.

  3. The Ceiling for the petrol consumption for the car referred to in sub-rule (2) shall be two hundred litres per month or as applicable to a sitting Judge of the High Court, 4[if a sitting judge is the Executive Chairman, he shall not be entitled to a separate quota of petrol.

  4. The Executive Chairman shall be entitled to a honorarium of Rs.5000/- (Rupees Five Thousand only) per month and paid by the State Authority".

9. Conditions of service of the Executive Chairman if he is a retired Judge of the High Court.- Where the Executive Chairman is retired Judge of the High Court or retires as High Court Judge during his term of office as Chairman of the State Authority:-

  1. His terms and conditions shall be such as are specified in the Government of India. Ministry of Fiance, Department of Expenditure OM No. 190487/7/80/E. IV. dated 8th October 1987 or such other relevant orders of the Government as may be applicable to the retired Judges of the High Court appointed as Commissions or as Committees;

  2. The term of office of the Executive Chairman shall be three years;

  3. He (the Executive Chairman) shall be entitled to a honorarium of Rs.5,000 per month and paid by the State Authority besides extending all other facilities allowed to the serving Judges of the High Court.

10. Terms and conditions of service of the Member-Secretary.-

  1. The Government may, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice High Court, Madras appoint a person in the cadre of District Judge super time scale or District Judge as the case may be, as the Member-Secretary of the State Authority, as per sub-section (3) of section 6 of the Act, who shall hold office for a term of three years.

  2. provided that a person functioning as Secretary of the State Legal Aid and 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 sub-section (3) of section 6 of the Act for a period as may be specified by the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras but not exceeding five years.

  3. The Member-Secretary shall draw his pay and other allowances as admissible to the serving District Judges Grade I or II, as the case may be, depending upon the status of the incumbent and the expenditure on this account shall be debited to the Budget Head to which his pay and allowances are debited. He shall be governed by the Tamil Nadu State Higher Judicial Services Rules.

11. The powers and functions of the Member-Secretary under Sub-section (3) of section 6 :- The powers and functions of the Member Secretary inter alia, shall be-

  1. to give free legal services to the eligible and weaker sections;

  2. to work out modalities of the legal services schemes and programmes approved by the State Authority and ensure their effective monitoring and implementation;

  3. to exercise the powers in respect of administrative, House-Keeping, Finance and Budget matters as a Head of the Department in the Government;

  4. to manage, administer and maintain the properties, records and funds of the Authority;

  5. to maintain true and proper accounts of the State Authority including checking and auditing in respect thereof periodically;

  6. to prepare annual Income and Expenditure account and balance sheet to the said Authority;

  7. to liaise with the Social Action Groups and District and Taluk Legal Services Authorities;

  8. to maintain up to date and complete statistical information including progress made in the implementation of various Legal Services programmes from time to time.

  9. to process proposals for financial assistance and issue Utilisation certificates thereof;

  10. to organise various Legal Services programmes as approved by the State Authority and convene meetings. seminars and workshops connected with legal services programmes and preparation of Reports and take follow-up action thereon;

  11. to produce video or documentary films, publicity materials, literature and publications to inform general public about the various aspects of the Legal Services programmes;

  12. to lay stress on the resolution of rural disputes and to take extra measures to draw schemes for effective and meaningful legal services for settling rural disputes at the door-steps of the people;

  13. to perform such of the functions as are assigned to him under the schemes framed by the Central Authority under Clause (b) of section 4 of the Act; and

  14. to perform such other functions as may be necessary for expeditious and efficient functioning of the State Authority and as may be directed by the patron-in-Chief or the Executive Chairman from time to time.

12. Officers and other employees of the State Authority:- The State Authority shall have such number, class and category of officers and other employees for rendering secretarial assistance and for carrying on its day-today functions as may be sanctioned by the Government from time to time, in consultation with the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, High Court, Madras.

13. Conditions of service, the salary and allowances of officers and other employees of the State Authority :- 

  1. The officers and other employees of the State Authority shall be entitled to draw pay and allowances in the scales of pay at par with the equivalent posts of officers and members of staff of Judicial Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

  2. The officers and other employees of the State Authority shall be governed by the rules and regulations as are applicable to persons holding equivalent posts in the Judicial Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

  3. The officers and other employees of the State Authority shall be entitled to such other facilities, allowances and benefits as may be sanctioned by the State Government, from time to time.

  4. Retired persons appointed as Officers of the State Authority, shall be eligible only to the payment of Traveling Allowance and daily allowance in respect of journeys performed in connection with the work of the State Authority and paid by the said Authority as admissible to Grade A Officers of the State Government. They shall also be entitled to an honorarium per month as may be fixed by the Government, in consultation with the State Authority and the same may be paid by the State Authority.

14. Meetings of the State Authority:- 

  1. The State Authority shall meet at least once in three months.

  2. The Member-Secretary, when so directed by the patron-in-Chief or in his absence by the Executive Chairman shall convene a meeting of the State Authority at the place, date and time to be fixed in consultation with the patron-in-Chief or in his absence Executive Chairman of the State Authority.

  3. Any five members of the State Authority may send their requisition addressed to the Member-Secretary for consideration of the subject or matter specified in the requisition.

  4. On receipt of the requisition the Member-Secretary shall, in consultation with the patron-Chief or in his absence the Executive Chairman, convene a meeting of the State Authority for consideration of the subject or matter specified in the requisition.

  5. provided that in case, the meeting of the State Authority is going to be held within a month from the date of receipt of the requisition, the subject or matter specified in the requisition shall be included for consideration in the agenda of such meeting with the approval of the patron-in-Chief or in his absence the Executive Chairman.

  6. Any member desiring consideration of any subject or matter at any meeting of the State Authority may intimate in writing such subject or matter to the Member-Secretary and if such intimation is received before notice for the meeting is issued, it shall be included in the agenda of the meeting with the approval of the patron-in-Chief or in his absence the Executive Chairman, but if however, such intimation is not received before the issue of the notice of the meeting, then the subject or matter mentioned in the notice may be considered at the meeting with the permission of the Chair.

  7. The Member-Secretary shall give ten days notice to the members for the meeting.

  8. The patron-in-Chief of the State Authority or in his absence the Executive Chairman shall preside at the meeting of the Authority.

  9. All questions at the meetings of the State Authority shall be determined by the majority of votes of the members present and voting and the patron-in-Chief or the Executive Chairman as the case may be, presiding at the meeting, shall have a casting vote in cases of equality of votes.

  10. The Quorum for the meeting shall be twelve members of the State Authority.

15. Headquarters of the State Authority.- The Headquarters of the State Authority shall be at Chennai.

16. Experience and Qualification of persons of the Lok Adalat referred to in Sub Section (4) of Section 19 of the Act, organised by the state Authority :-

A person shall not be qualified to be included in the Lok Adalat organised by the State Authority unless he is :-

  1. a Senior Counsel or a Lawyer of standing ;

  2. a Senior Officer of the Government ;

  3. a person of repute who is specially interested in the implementation of Legal services schemes & programmes;

  4. an eminent social worker who is engaged in the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society; or

  5. a Medical or any other expert as deemed fit, by the State Authority.

17. The upper limit of Annual Income of a person entitling him to legal services : Every person who has to file or defend a case and whose upper limit of annual income from all sources does not exceed Rs.1,00,000/-(Rupees One Lakh only ) shall be entitled to legal services, if the case is before a court other than the Supreme Court.