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Legal Aid Clinic

LEGAL AID CLINIC  

 

In collaboration with the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, Bangalore 

Persons with mental illness are often the weaker sections of the society. Their basic human rights are many a time subject to violation. Persons with disability, especially those suffering from mental illness and mental retardation do not get proper attention in matters of access to justice. As a result, they are sidelined and viewed only from the prism of the paternalistic “social welfare” which looks upon them merely as persons who are in need of special protection by the State and the society.

In order to make them aware of their rights and equip them to avail the benefits of the different social welfare activities sponsored by the State and Central Government, the Free Legal Aid Clinic has been established at the NIMHANS, Bangalore.

This free legal aid service has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to persons with mental illness. In fact the Mental Health Act, 1987 also advocates the need to provide free legal aid to the persons with mental illness.

Though the majority of clients are persons with mental illnesses, the clinic is providing services to patients with neurological as well as neurosurgical disorders.

 

Inauguration of 'The Free Legal Aid Clinic' on 15 Jan 2011,at OPD complex, NIMHANS, Bangalore

 

The inauguration of the first of its kind Free Legal Aid Clinic at the outpatient block at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). This facility was inaugurated by Hon'ble Mr Justice Altamas Kabir, Judge, Supreme Court and Chairperson, National Legal Services Authority who lauded the initiative.

 

 

Hon'ble Mr Justice JS Khehar, Chief Justice High Court of Karnataka, graced the occasion. Hon'ble Mrs Justice Manjula Chellur, Judge, High Court of Karnataka and Chairperson, Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, indicated how the service would function with inputs from dedicated legal personnel. Hon'ble Mr Justice NK Patil, Judge, High Court of Karnataka and Chairman, High Court Legal Services Committee was a guest of honour.

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE FREE LEGAL AID CLINIC

To provide free legal aid services such as legal advice, legal representation and legal adjudication free of cost. Patients seeking treatment at the hospital can utilize free legal aid. Person with disabilities can assert their rights using such clinics in matters such as disability certification, employment and pension. They can also defend their rights regarding admission to mental hospitals, human rights violation, treatment, property issues and marital issues. Women can be helped in issues like, sexual violence, domestic violence and other property related issues.

Following are the main roles and responsibilities of the free legal aid clinic:

(a) Providing Legalts of persons with mental illness
(b) Assistance in Drafting of Affidavit, Notices, Replies, Applications, Petitions etc.
(c) Assistance in Resolution of Disputes.
(d) Counseling to prevent disputes
(e) Instant advice and information on legal aspects
(f) Assistance in getting the disability pension
(g) Monitoring follow up after legal assistance has been provided.
(h) Encouraging amicable settlement of disputes
(i) Free lawyer to fight/represent your case
(j) Court fee will be paid by the legal service authority

 

FREE LEGAL AID SERVICES AT NIMHANS

Persons entitled to Free Legal AID Services

Persons with mental illnesses/neurological/neurosurgical disorders who have registered at NIMHANS for treatment. Patient need to have a referral letter from the treating doctor to facilitate the free legal aid.

Providing him free legal advice and also an advocate is appointed at the cost of the Legal Services Authority to defend his right. The Authority also bears court fee, typing charges, verification of the copies is known as FREE LEGAL AID

Timing

Free legal services are provided every Tuesday and Friday from 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM.

Venue

Out Patient Department of NIMHANS

COST

It is absolute free


  

 Professor P Satish Chandra, Director Vice-Chancellor NIMHANS welcomed the gathering and handed over the first referral to one of the advocates in the panel providing free legal aid facilities. 

 

Free legal aid clinic, an innovative and a novel service was launched in collaboration with Karnataka State Legal Service Authority on 15 Jan 2011 at the Out Patient Department complex of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. The aim of this clinic is to provide free legal services to our patients in the form of legal counselling, mediation, alternate dispute resolution, advocate services and also to assist in court related procedures such as payment of court fees, filing affidavit and so forth. This free legal aid clinic was established as per the provisions of Legal Services Authority Act 1987. This Act works on the similar principle of community medicine. That is, free and easy access to justice at door steps

Against this background, the guidelines are issued by National Legal Service Authority for the legal services institutions (such as State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Taluk Legal Services Committees, High Court Legal Services Committees, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee) to be followed while they deal with legal services to the mentally ill and persons with mental disabilities. (click to download the guidelines of issued by National Legal Service Authority).

Frequently Asked Questions

(Q).  What is Free Legal Aid?

(A) Legal Aid is the provision of free legal assistance to persons with mental illness intellectual disability and neurological/neuro-surgical disability.

 

(Q). What components forms legal aid?

(A) Following are the components of legal aid

(a) Providing Legal Services to protect the rights of persons with mental illness
(b) Assistance in Drafting of Affidavit, Notices, Replies, Applications, Petitions etc.
(c) Assistance in Resolution of Disputes.
(d) Counseling to prevent disputes
(e) Instant advice and information on legal aspects
(f) Assistance in getting the disability pension
(g) Monitoring follow up after legal assistance has been provided.
(h) Encouraging amicable settlement of disputes
(i) Free lawyer to fight your case
(j) Court fee will be paid by the legal service authority

 

(Q) What is Legal Aid Counseling?

(A) Legal Aid Counseling is where a client who is unable to approach a paid lawyer due to financial difficulties can approaches the free Legal Aid Society with his case. An experienced lawyer who conducts the Legal Counseling Sessions addresses the queries of the client. The counseling is completely free of cost. The lawyers are deputed from legal service authority.

 

(Q) Can I choose my lawyer?

(A) No. Lawyers are deputed from legal service authority on rotational basis. They will be paid honorarium by the legal service authority.

 

(Q) What if, I am not from Karnataka?

(A) Since the NIMHANS is located in Karnataka, most of the matters for legal counseling deal with local laws of Karnataka. The counseling activities and legal assistance are restricted only to Karnataka. People form other State can avail legal counseling and appropriate case will be referred to their respective State authorities for the needful.

 

(Q) I have not registered in NIMHANS for treatment, do I have to?

(A) It would be prudent to register at NIMHANS for treatment, so that doctors/specialist at NIMHANS can guide you and also the lawyer for further course of action on your legal case.

 

(Q) I don’t want to register at NIMHANS, but I want to get free legal aid what should I do?

(A) If you don’t want to register in NIMHANS, you can directly visit the

Karnataka State Legal Services Authority,
Nyaya Degula Building, 1st Floor, Siddaiah Road,
Bangalore-560027
Fax : 080-22112935, 22111729 Ph. No. 22111714, 22111716

For further assistance from the legal service authority.

 

(Q) I am not a patient can I get help from NIMHANS free legal aid center?

(A) Free Legal Aid at NIMHANS is exclusively for patients registered in NIMHANS. If you are not a patient then you can directly approach Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, Nyaya Degula Building, 1st Floor, Siddaiah Road, Bangalore-560027 for assistance.

 

 

Faculty in-charge of Free Legal Aid Clinic

Dr. Suresh Bada Math,
MD, DNB, PGDMLE, PGDHRL, PhD
In-charge of Legal Aid Clinic,
Additional Professor of Psychiatry, 
Department of Psychiatry,
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, (Institute of National Importance) 
Bangalore - 560029
INDIA

Dr. Naveen C Kumar,
DPM, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, 
Department of Psychiatry,
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, (Institute of National Importance) 
Bangalore - 560029
INDIA

Dr. Md. Ameer Hamza
MPhil, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatric Social Work, 
Department of Psychiatric Social Work,
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, (Institute of National Importance) 
Bangalore - 560029
INDIA