Supreme Court Legal Services Committee Chairman is Justice BR Gavai

Justice BR Gavai is the next Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC), succeeding Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

Understanding the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee: 

  • Constitution and Purpose: The SCLSC, formed under Section 3A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, strives to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of society in cases under the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.
  • The committee is chaired by a sitting Supreme Court judge and includes members with necessary experience and qualifications, all of whom have been nominated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI).


  • Composition and Functioning Current Members: The SCLSC now consists of Chairperson BR Gavai and nine other members chosen by the CJI.
  • Staffing and administration: In collaboration with the CJI, the Committee may appoint officers and workers in accordance with the Centre’s principles.

In India, there is a demand for legal services.

  • The Indian Constitution, particularly Article 39A, emphasises the state’s obligation in ensuring that all individuals, regardless of economic or other impairments, have access to legal justice.
  • Historical Development: The notion of legal assistance evolved in India over decades, with substantial progress noted by the founding of a national committee in 1980 under Justice PN Bhagwati.

The Legal Services Authorities Act and Its Provisions 

  • Statutory Framework: The 1987 Act establishes a legal framework for providing free and competent legal services to qualified groups such as women, children, SC/ST, EWS, and others.
  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) was established in 1995 to regulate legal aid programmes and to develop legal services policies.
  • The Act envisions a nationwide network for legal aid in India, with State Legal Services Authorities (SLSAs) and District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs) administering these services at the state and district levels, respectively.

State and district legal services authorities’ roles

  • Implementation at the State Level: Each SLSA, directed by the Chief Justice of the appropriate High Court, carries out NALSA’s policy and offers free legal services.
  • District and Taluk Legal Services Committees: DLSAs and Taluk Legal Services Committees, respectively chaired by district and senior civil judges, undertake legal awareness programmes and provide a variety of legal services.
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