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Legal aid in India has evolved over the last few decades since 42nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution. This paper attempts to provide philosophical underpinnings suggesting how legal aid model has evolved over the years and excogitate a newer trajectory for its future evolution. It delves into weighing Kant’s imperfect duty justifying a charity based regime and marks a transition to utilitarian model suggesting requirement of institutional need to address issues of basic liberty of ‘access to justice.’ It also spells out Rawls’ principles of justice and attempts to explore their applicability in the Indian context, to chart out a road map for future. While contrasting different models on legal aids, it makes a finding that, India doesn’t accord priority to liberty of access to justice. The Indian Supreme Court has emerged as a bastion of liberty but the finer details of the enactment has been messed up by the Indian lawmakers. The lower compensation to lawyers and lack of alternative incentives in attracting established litigators, testifies this. There is a convergence in Kantian duty of benevolence and Rawls’ liberty principle but in the world of moral relativism, a fair compensation must precede before imposing any obligation on lawyers to take up pro bono matters, as doing so, is likely to compromise their ‘true needs.’

About the Authors

S. Chandra
Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat

Sushant Chandra (Sonipat, India) – Bachelor of Civil Law (university of Oxford), Assistant Professor and Assistant Director (Clinical Programme) at Jindal global Law School
(Office No. 321, T-1, Third Floor, Jindal global Law School, O.P. Jindal global university, Sonipat, 131001, Haryana, India)

N. Y. Solanki
Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat

Nityash Solanki (Sonipat, India) – LL.M. (george Washington university, university of Manchester), Senior Research Associate
(Research Associate Office, T-1, Third Floor, Jindal global Law School, O.P. Jindal global university, Sonipat, 131001, Haryana, India)


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For citations:

Chandra S., Solanki N.Y. LEGAL AID IN INDIA: RETUNING PHILOSOPHICAL CHORDS. BRICS Law Journal. 2015;2(2):68-85.

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ISSN 2409-9058 (Print)
ISSN 2412-2343 (Online)