In our country, a large number of people are unaware of their rights. One such right is the "right to free legal aid".
Everybody in our country has the right to justice under the Constitution, and to ensure that, there is a provision to free legal aid to everyone who cannot afford expensive and quality lawyers services for conducting the legal proceedings for or against them.
The Article 39A of Indian Constitution has a provision which ensures free of cost legal services to poor and marginalised section of our society.
Article 14 of the Constitution clearly states that no person should be denied equality before the law within the Indian territory.
However, the Article 14 is meaningless if a citizen can't get justice because of his poverty.
So there is Article 39 A in place which makes it clear to that the "states should provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or scheme or in any other way to ensure justice" is not denied to anybody by reason of poverty or illiteracy.
In State of Maharashtra vs Manubhai Pragaji Vashi, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that failure to provide free legal aid to accused will vitiate the trial.
In another case of M.H Hoskot vs State Of Maharashtra, Justice KrishnaIyer made it clear that providing free legal services is a state's duty and not govt charity.
The section 304 of the Criminal Procedure Code also says that if a court of law finds any accused not able to a pleader, it shall assign one at the cost of state.