MIZORAM STATE LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY (MSLSA) Vs. STATE OF MIZORAM
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Mizoram State Legal Services Authority (Mslsa)
STATE OF MIZORAM
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Michael Zothankhuma, J. -
(1.) Heard Mr. Victor L. Ralte, counsel for the petitioners as well as Mr. Samuel Vanlalhriata Chhangte, counsel for the State respondents.
(2.) The instant writ petition is filed by the Mizoram State Legal Services Authority which was constituted vide Notification dated 11.09.1997 under the enabling provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Thereafter, the District Legal Services Authorities for all the eight Districts in Mizoram was constituted vide Notification dated 02.06.2010. That in order to facilitate the functioning of the said Authorities, 38 numbers of various posts was created for the Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre and the District Legal Services Authority vide Notification dated 01.06.2011. However, the posts were created on co-terminus basis with the 13th Finance Commission Grant to be filled up on Muster Roll basis from the date of engagement up to 28.02.2015. That since the 13th Finance Commission was due to come to an end shortly, the petitioners through its Member Secretary submitted a proposal that the aforesaid posts created on co-terminus basis be converted into temporary posts under the State fund of Plan or Non-Plan head of Account so that the functioning of the State Legal Services Authority and the District Legal Services Authority would not be hampered. However, such proposal with detailed justification and organization chart submitted by the petitioners was rejected by the State respondents by holding that co-terminus posts are only terminable on termination of the Scheme besides holding that there was no proper justification. That after several requests were made to the State respondent authorities that the functioning of the State Legal Services Authority would be hampered without the sanctioned 38 numbers of various posts at the end of the 13th Finance Commission i.e. 28.02.2015, the State respondents in the Finance Department vide Order dated 12.05.2015 made an allocation of fund during 2015-16 for improving justice delivery in the State to be regularised in the regular budget 2015-16 positively.
(3.) That the case of the petitioners however is that such arrangement hardly meets the requirement of the petitioners. In fact, Article 39-A of the Constitution of India mandates that the State shall secure equal justice and free legal aid to its citizen on the basis of equal opportunity and particularly to those who are economically backward and to those with other disabilities. Furthermore, Section 6 (7) and Section 9 (7) of the Legal Service Authorities Act, 1987 provides that the administrative expenses of the State Authority and the District Authority including salaries, allowances and pensions payable to the Secretary, Officers and other employees shall be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund of the State. However, in the instant case, the State and District Authorities have only been made to depend upon the Finance Commission Grant for its functioning which is only for a specific duration. Therefore, the Constitutional Scheme on Legal Services cannot be carried out with such limited resources.;
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