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During the year 2009 National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) brought out a scheme called the Para-Legal Volunteers Scheme which aimed at imparting legal training to volunteers selected from different walks of life so as to ensure legal aid reaching all sections of people through the process of Para-Legal Volunteers Scheme; ultimately removing the barriers into access to justice. The Para-Legal Volunteers (PLVs) are expected to act as intermediaries bridging the gap between the common people and the Legal Services Institutions to remove impediments in access to justice. Ultimately, the process aims at Legal Services Institutions reaching out to the people at their doorsteps rather than people approaching such Legal Services Institutions.


The western concept of 'Paralegals' cannot be totally adopted to Indian conditions having regard to illiteracy of large sections of the community: The hours of training as applicable to a regular academic course, cannot be adopted. It should be more like a bridge  courseconceptualised in a simple and need-based module. The PLVs have to be trained in the basics of different Laws which would be applicable at the grassroot level with reference to their day-to-day life, the subtle nuances employed in the working of a judicial system, and the functioning of various other stakeholders like the Police, officials from Social Welfare Department, Woman and Child Welfare Department and other departments dealing with

different beneficial schemes of Central and State Governments including the protection officers involved with Domestic Violence and Juvenile Justice Acts.


With the basic knowledge in the laws and other available welfare measures and legislation, they would be able to assist their immediate neighbourhood; Those who are in need of such assistance, so that a person, who is not aware of such right is not only made to understand his rights, but also will be able to have access to measures involving implementation of such rights.


PLVs are not only expected to impart awareness on laws and the legal system, but they must also be trained to counsel and amicably settle simple disputes between the parties at the source itself; which could save the trouble of the affected travelling all the way to the Legal Services Authority/ADR Centres. If the dispute is of such a nature, which cannot be resolved at the source with the assistance of PLVs, they could bring such parties to the ADR Centres, where, with the assistance of the Secretary in charge either it could be referred to LokAdalat or Mediation Centre or Legal assistance could be provided for adjudication in a court of law; depending upon the nature of problem.


Though initially the NALSA Scheme of training of the PLVs included the legal fraternity of Advocates, Advocate community, later on experience revealed, the same to be unfeasible on account of conflict with the professional status of Advocates. The reality that marginalised people living in distant places will not have the benefit of lawyer PLVs also contributed to the practice being discontinued, and NALSA deciding that Advocates shall not be enlisted or engaged as PLVs.


The past experience gained from the working of the system after 2009 and also ground realities ascertained from the paralegals in the respective jurisdiction showed us that there has to be a re-look into the entire matter and who best could fit the role of a Para-Legal Volunteer. Initially, the training programme of PLVs was only for two-three days. Since the obligations of PLVs were vast in nature, it was felt, there has to be longer duration of training provided to the PLVs. At the same time, the training curriculum for PLVs adopted by NALSA cannot be such as to be training PLVs to become full-fledged lawyers. PLVs are not expected to conduct themselves as legal professionals. The aim of the training should concentrate on basic human qualities like compassion, empathy and a genuine concern and willingness to extend voluntary service without expectation of monetary gain from it. Then the line separating PLVs from professional lawyers should be zealously guarded.




  • Ideally every Taluk Legal Services Committee (TLSC) shall have a panel of PLVs; of a maximum number of 25 (50) on their roll at any given point of time. The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) shall have 50 (100) active PLVs on their roll.


  • PLVs shall be literate, preferably matriculate, with a capacity for overall comprehension.


  • Preferably PLVs shall be selected from persons, who do not look up to the income they derive from their services as PLVs, but they should have a mind-set to assist the needy in the society coupled with the compassion, empathy and concern for the upliftment of marginalised and weaker sections of the society. They must have unflinching commitment towards the cause which should be translated into the work they undertake.


GROUPS from whom Para-Legal Volunteers can be selected


  • Teachers (including retired teachers)
  • Retired Government servants and senior citizens.
  • M.S.W students and teachers.
  • Anganwadi Workers.
  • Doctors/Physicians.
  • Students & Law Students (till they enroll as lawyers).
  • Members of non-political, service oriented NGOs and Clubs.
  • Members of Women Neighbourhood Groups, MaithriSanghams and other Self Help Groups including of marginalized/vulnerable groups.
  • Educated prisoners with good behaviour, serving long term sentences in prisons.
  • Any other person whom the District Legal Services Authority or Taluk Legal Services Committee deems fit to be identified as PLVs.



Selection of PLVs - District Level


Selecting the PLVs shall be by a Committee chaired by the Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority. The Secretary shall be one of the Members of the Committee. The Committee shall consist in all of three members including the Chairman and the Secretary shall be one of the Members of the Committee. The third member, to be appointed at the discretion of the Chairman of the DLSA, shall be one capable of identifying suitable persons, who could be trained as PLVs. This selection process shall not be entrusted to any other body.


Selection of PLVs - Taluk Level


The Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority shall constitute a Committee consisting of the Chairman of DLSA, Member Secretary of DLSA and the Chairman of TLSC and a fourth person at the discretion of the Chairman of DLSA. The place of interview for Taluk Level PLVs shall be at the discretion of the Chairman of  DLSA. The Member Secretary of DLSA shall co-ordinate with the selection process.


Empanelment process


Applications may be invited from the local residents by the respective DLSAs and TLSCs or Sub Divisional Legal Services Committee. There could be an advertisement, if required. Copies of either the advertisement or notice calling for applications could be sent to the offices of the Bar Association, Notice Board of the Court premises, Legal Services Authority Offices and District Panchayat Offices. The advertisement shall state the qualifications required for selection as PLVs as stated above with last date for the receipt of applications at the office of DLSA. There shall be a column in the application, wherein the candidate has to express willingness or place of preference to work at either district-level or taluk-level or village-level. In the advertisement there shall be clear mentioning that the work of PLVs does not carry any salary, remuneration or wages except honorarium fixed by the DLSA from time to time.


Method of Selection


The Selection Committee is entitled to use its discretion and shortlist the number of candidates for interview depending upon the number of applications received. Preference shall be given to women while selecting PLVs. Representation from suitable applicants belonging to SC/ST, minority and other backward classes must be ensured.


Training of PLVs


Under the supervision of Chairman of DLSA, PLVs shall undergo training programme, totally under the control of the Member Secretary. The training shall be held at a convenient place subject to discretion of the Chairman of DLSA. The number of PLVs to be trained at any given point of time in a training programme shall not exceed 50. Wherever the State Judicial Academy has facilities for training, the same may be availed of. The expenses for the training shall be incurred by the Judicial Academy for providing such facility to be reimbursed by the State Government/DLSA concerned.


Trainers/Resource Persons


  • In consultation with the State Legal Services Authority, the Chairman of DLSA shall identify the trainers for training the PLVs and other resource persons.
  • Suitable persons from the members of the Bar with training skills shall be included in the list of resource persons.
  • Others could include:
  • NGOs associated with the activities of LegalServices Authority, i.e., persons, who areexposed to the nature of work of the LegalServices Authority.
  • Master Trainers of mediation.
  • Law Teachers from Law Colleges.
  • Post-Graduate students of Law.
  • Retired Professors of Law.
  • Retired Judicial Officers.
  • Revenue Officers.
  • Officers from Social Welfare Department,.
  • Public Prosecutors.
  • Police Officers.
  • Psychiatrists/Psychologists/Mental Healthexperts.


Nature of Training


Training that is to be provided to the PLVs would be inaccordance with the curriculum prescribed by the NALSAand will be in the following formant:


(a) Orientation Programme.

(b) Basic training.

(c) Refresher course.


There shall be periodical refresher training in order toassess the quality of work turned out by the PLVs. TheLegal Services Authorities need to assess the work ofPLVs and assist them to identify the deficits and how totackle the problems faced by the PLVs after theirexperience in the field. There shall be annualcongregation of PLVs so as to facilitate an exchange ofexperience. There shall be district-wise half-yearlymeetings of PLVs to resolve their doubts and facilitate

the acquisition of knowledge and upgradation of theirskills as per the module.


PLVs shall create awareness among citizens of thebenefits of settlement of pending cases through LokAdalats including the fact that the parties are entitled

to refund of court fee and that there shall be no appeal.


Topics for Training

A uniform training module for PLVs shall be prepared byNALSA which shall be applicable to the entire countryand the module shall have a special emphasis on theconduct and behaviour of PLVs. The module so preparedshall be translated into regional languages.


Identity Cards

After completion of the training by the District LegalServices Authority, the PLVs may be subjected to awritten and oral test before the PLVs are declared tohave successfully completed the training. On beingdeclared successful, they may be given identity cardsbearing the emblem of the District Legal ServicesAuthority. The identity card shall have (i) serial number;(ii) name and address of the PLV; (iii) contact number ofthe PLV; (iv) photograph of the PLV; (v) the date ofissue and the period of validity of the identity card. Itshall be clearly printed on the reverse side of theidentity card that the loss of the identity card should bereported to the nearest Police Station as also itsrecovery.


The identity card shall not be used for availing oftravelling concession either in bus or in any mode oftransport.


It shall not be used for availing of any governmentalbenefits or loan by the holder of the card.


The identity card shall not be used for availing of anyother facilities, except for the purpose of identificationof the person as PLV.


Validity of Identity Cards


The validity of the identity card shall be for a period ofone year. A new card shall be issued to the PLV, if theChairman, District Legal Services Authority findshim/her eligible to continue as PLVs for more than oneyear.


Mentors for PLVs

DLSA and TLSC shall maintain a panel of Mentors/Guideswhom the PLVs could contact in case of any clarificationor assistance in connection with the discharge of theirduties as PLVs. There shall not be more than ten PLVsfor one Mentor.


Monthly Reports

A monthly report of the existing PLVs, PLVs newlyrecruited and the training given to the PLVs shall besubmitted by the DLSA to the SLSA. The SLSA shall

submit a consolidated report of the details of thenumber of PLVs trained, the resource persons engaged,expenses incurred and the refresher courses, if any,

organised, pertaining to each month, to the NationalLegal Services Authority before 15th day of every month.


NALSA shall cause the copies of such reports sent to theNational Committee for Para-Legal Training and LegalAid Activities set-up by the Chief Justice of India.


The SLSAs shall submit to the NALSA a consolidatedDistrict-wise report on the activities of the PLVs,specifically the number of persons attended and thenature of advice given and action taken.




Duties of Trained Para-Legal Volunteers


Para-Legal Volunteer shall educate people, especiallythose belonging to weaker sections of the society, toenable them to be aware of their right to live withhuman dignity, to enjoy all the constitutionally andstatutorily guaranteed rights as also the duties anddischarge of obligations as per law.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall make people aware of thenature of their disputes/issues/problems and informthem that they can approach theTLSC/DLSA/HCLSC/SLSA/SCLSC so as to resolve thedispute/issue/problems through these institutions.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall constantly keep a watch ontransgressions of law or acts of injustice in their area ofoperation and bring them immediately to the notice ofthe TLSC through telephonic message or a writtencommunication or in person to enable effective remedialaction by the Committee.


When the PLV receives information about the arrest of aperson in the locality, the PLV shall visit the PoliceStation and ensure that the arrested person gets legalassistance, if necessary, through the nearest legalservices institutions.


The PLVs shall also ensure that the victims of crime alsoget proper care and attention. Efforts shall be made bythe PLVs to secure compensation for the victims ofcrime under the provisions of Section 357-A Cr.P.C.


PLVs shall, with proper authorization from theDLSA/TLSC visit jails, lock-ups, psychiatric hospitals,children's homes/observation homes and shall ascertainthe legal service needs of the inmates and intimate theauthorities concerned about any absence noticed of basicessential necessities with special emphasis on hygiene.


PLVs shall report violations of child rights, child labour,missing children and trafficking of girl children to thenearest legal services institutions or to the child welfarecommittee.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall assist the DLSA/TLSC fororganizing legal awareness camps in their area ofoperation.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall give information to thepeople of their locality about the legal services activitiesof SLSA/DLSA/TLSC/HCLSC/SCLSC and shall provide theiraddresses to the people so as to enable them to utilizethe free services rendered by the above organizations tothe eligible persons.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall generate awarenessamongst people about the benefits of settlement ofdisputes including pre-litigation stage through LokAdalats, Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall make people aware of thebenefits of inexpensive settlement of disputes relatingto Public Utility Services like P&T, Telephones,Electricity, Water Supply, Insurance and hospitalservices through Permanent LokAdalat (PLA).


Para-Legal Volunteers shall submit monthly reports oftheir activities to the DLSA/TLSC under whom they areworking in the prescribed format.


A diary to record the daily activities shall be maintainedby each PLVs. The diary shall be printed and given toPLVs by the District Legal Services Authority. Such diaryshall be verified and endorsed by the Secretary, DLSA orthe Chairman, TLSC as the case may be.


Para-Legal Volunteers shall see that publicity materialson legal services activities are exhibited at prominentplaces in their area of activity.


Expenses incurred by Para-Legal Volunteers


Reasonable expenses incurred by Para-Legal Volunteerse.g Bus/Train fare, Postage, Telephone charges etc.,may be reimbursed by the TLSC/DLSA/SLSA, onproduction of proof. Travel expenses limited to thelowest classes by road/rail/steamer to the legal aidbeneficiaries brought by the Para-Legal Volunteers alsomay be reimbursed at the discretion of the Chairman.


The rate of daily honorarium payable to PLVs on thedays of their engagement as such in metro-cities may beas determined by the SLSA.


The PLVs are not entitled to any travel expenses whenthey use the transport provided by SLSA/DLSA/TLSC.


Para-Legal Volunteers to work in the 'FrontOffices' of the DLSA/TLSCs.


The Secretary, DLSA or TLSC may depute one or morePLVs to operate the 'front offices' of the legal servicesinstitutions.


Para-Legal Volunteers to work in the 'Legal AidClinics' of the DLSA/TLSCs.


The Secretary, DLSA or TLSC may depute PLVs in theLegal Aid Clinics set up under the National LegalServices Authority (Legal Aid Clinics) Regulations, 2011.The PLVs engaged in the Legal Aid Clinics shall functionin such clinics in accordance with the provisions of theaforesaid regulations.


Honorarium for the PLVs rendering services in theLegal Aid Clinics and Front Offices.


The State Legal Services Authority in consultation withthe National Legal Services Authority may fix anhonorarium for the PLVs engaged in the legal aid clinics.


However, such honorarium for those who have renderedservices on any day shall not be less than Rs.250/- perday.


The PLVs who bring legal aid applicants from the distantvillages to the legal services institutions at theTaluk/District level and to the District ADR Centers shallalso be eligible to receive honorarium for such day atthe same rate.


PLVs shall also be eligible for honorarium if on anyparticular day they assist persons in connection with thePLV work by accompanying such persons to variousoffices including Courts, however, subject to proof.


Para-Legal Volunteers to assist in the legalliteracy classes and camps.


The PLVs in consultation with the nearest legal servicesinstitutions shall organise micro-legal literacy camps inthe area of their operation by organising legal literacyclasses for small groups of persons including labourers,women, children members of SC/ST etc. It shall be theduty of the PLVs to distribute information booklets andother publications of the Legal Services Authorities

during the legal literacy classes.


Resolving local disputes through ADR mechanism.


The PLVs shall take efforts to bring the parties of thelocality involved in disputes, to settlement, by using themachinery of LokAdalat, Mediation or Conciliation at

the District ADR Centers. If no District ADR Center hasbeen set up in the District, the legal servicesinstitutions shall take steps for organising a suitableADR mechanism like LokAdalat, mediation, conciliationetc. in the village itself in coordination with the PLVs.The PLVs who bring such cases to the ADR process shallbe entitled to receive the prescribed honorarium on theday when such proceedings are held.



Para-Legal Volunteers in Jails.


A few educated well-behaved prisoners serving longterm sentences in the Central Prison and District Prisonsmay be identified for being trained as Para LegalVolunteers. Their services shall be available to the otherprisoners in the jail including the under trial prisoners.The training of such PLVs may be conducted along withthe other PLVs.




They will be entitled to be paid as PLVs for the services rendered at the prescribed rate of honorarium payable to other PLVs.



Disqualifications of Para-Legal Volunteers andtheir removal.


  • The PLVs shall be disqualified and removed from the
  • panel if he/she:
  • Fails to evince interest in the Scheme.
  • Has been adjudged insolvent.
  • Has been accused of an offence.
  • Has become physically or mentally incapableof acting as PLVs.
  • Has so abused his/her position ormisconducted in any manner as to renderhis/her continuance prejudicial to the publicinterest.
  • If she/he is an active political enthusiast of apolitical party.Any such Para-Legal Volunteer may be removedby the Chairman, District Legal ServicesAuthority after suitable enquiry and intimationof the same should be sent to the State LegalServices Authority.


National level meetingsof Para-Legal Volunteers.


The State Legal Services Authority may select suitablePLVs for attending the National Levelprogrammes relating to PLVs to be organised by theNational LegalServices Authority as the case may be. The State LegalServices Authority may recommend the names of PLVswho have given outstanding service forconsidering such PLVs for National awards tobe instituted by the National Legal ServicesAuthority.


The District Legal Services Authority to maintain adatabase of all Para-Legal Volunteers in theDistrict.


The District Legal Services Authority shall maintain adirectory of Para-Legal Volunteers and the same shallbe updated periodically. The directory shall contain thedetails of the para-legal volunteers of District Authorityand Taluk/Mandal/Sub-divisional Committees, theirnames, addresses, telephone/cell phone number, e-mailID (if any), number and date of expiry of the identitycard issued.


The State Legal Services Authority to maintain adatabase of all Para-Legal Volunteers in the State.


The State Legal Services Authority shall maintain adirectory of Para-Legal Volunteers and the same shallbe updated periodically. The directory shall contain thedistrict wise details of the names of para-legalvolunteers, their addresses, telephone/cell phonenumbers, e-mail ID (if any), number and date of expiryof the identity card issued.


The Legal Services Authorities to work in co-ordinationwith the National Committee for Para-Legal Training andLegal Aid Activities set up by the Chief Justice of India.


The State, District and Taluk level legal servicesinstitutions shall work in coordination with the NationalCommittee for Para-Legal Training and Legal AidActivities set up by the Chief Justice of India. Thedirections, if any, given by the Hon'ble Chairman of theNational Committee for Para-Legal Training and LegalAid Activities shall be binding on all legal servicesinstitutions in the country.







Immediately upon initial empanelment the PLVs shallbe given a day's orientation course.


Course objectives:


The objective of the Orientation Programme is toprovide an overview of the role of the PLVs and lay downthe Code of Ethics that they will be required to be adheredto.


The Orientation Programme should include inter aliathe following:

• Introductions and Ice-Breaking Session

• Purpose & Role of PLVs.

• Basic Structure of the Constitution - Preamble etc.

• Obligations of the State under the Constitution to themarginalised classes of society(Directive Principles ofState Policy)

• Fundamental Rights (including Articles14,15,16,19,21,22)

• Duties of a responsible citizen to the community(Fundamental Duties).

• Article 39 A and Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987and NALSA Regulations.

• Do's and Don'ts for PLVs.

• Dress Code and Standards of behaviour.

• Materials

• Ethics.




The induction training will be for a period of fourdays and should cover the following topics:


• Basic listening, communication, observation skills andDrafting skills.


• Family Laws (Marriage Laws, Adoption, Maintenance,Custody and Guardianship, Judicial separation &Divorce).


• Property Laws (Inheritance, Transfers of immovableproperty, Registration, Revenue Laws).

• Criminal Laws (IPC &Cr.P.C {minimum requiredknowledge, especially, bail, arrest etc. S.357 ACr.P.C.,Rights of Prisoners under Jail Manual and Prisoner's Actetc}).


• Labour Laws (Minimum Wages Act 1948, Workmen'sCompensation Act 1923, Unorganised Workers Welfareand Social Security Act 2008, The Inter-State MigrantWorkmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions ofService) Act, 1979, The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947(Briefly), legal assistance under the NALSA Scheme(Legal Services to the Workers in the UnorganisedSector) Scheme, 2010.


• Gender Centric Laws/Women Laws - Equal RemunerationAct 1976, Maternity Benefit Act 1961, Protection ofWomen from Domestic Violence Act 2005, MedicalTermination of Pregnancy Act 1971, Pre-Conception andPre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of SexSelection) Act, 1994, Sexual Harassment at Workplace,Important provisions of IPC - Sections 509, 354, 376,

304B, 366, 498A, 494, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.


• Laws relating to children - Juvenile Justice (Care andProtection of Children) Act, 2000, The Child Labour(Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986, MissingChildren, The Factories Act 1948, Prohibition of ChildMarriage Act, 2006.


• SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and TheProtection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.


• Government orders and schemes promoting socialwelfare, including MNREGA, Social Security Schemes(pensions, antodaya, insurance etc), obtaining variouscertificates (such as caste, disability, birth, income etc),obtaining ration card, Aadhar card, National PopulationRegister, Voter ID-card, etc, obtaining Passport.



• Visits to Govt. Offices, Courts, Police Stations, Prisons,Revenue Offices, DLSAs, TLSCs etc. Interaction withProtection Officers, CWCs/JJBs, appropriate authorityunder PCPNDT Act, 1994 etc.




After the PLVs have had field experience for three monthsit is important that an advanced training programme isconducted lasting for three days. The occasion should beutilized by the Chairpersons of the DLSAs to discuss thework done by the PLVs, the shortcomings generallynoticed and their continuance. The Mentors should alsoparticipate in this programme for guiding the PLVs toresolve the problems faced by the PLVs in the dischargeof their duties and public interaction. The Chairpersons ofthe DLSAs should also obtain feedback from the PLVs inorder to remove administrative bottlenecks. During thistraining programme the PLVs should be introduced toSpecial laws which could include:


• Right to Information Act, 2005

• Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

• Mental Health Act, 1987 and legal assistance under theNALSA scheme Legal Services to the mentally iII Personsand Persons with Mental Disabilities) Scheme, 2010.

• Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens

Act, 2007.

• Right to Education Act, 2009

• Alternate Dispute Resolution (S 89 C.P.C.)

• Basic skills in mediation and counselling

• LokAdalat, including pre-litigation and its benefits.

• Plea-bargaining

• Rights of marginalised groups such as those living withHIV/AIDS, Disabled, trans genders etc.

• The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and issuesrelating to sex workers.

• Disaster Management and Legal assistance to victims ofdisaster under the NALSA Scheme - Legal Services toDisaster Victims through Legal Services Authorities.

• Environmental issues

• The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,2012.


Ideally, the SLSAs should by itself or through the DLSAsorganize workshops at regular intervals on special topicswhich could be for a day or two. These should be needbased, that is to say, if on a review of the working of thePLVs, the SLSAs/DLSAs feel that certain subjects need tobe revisited and discussed again or that in a given areacertain issues exist which need to be addressed or tackled

and which have not been dealt with by the prescribedcourse content, such topics and issues should bediscussed in the one day/two days workshops.


Inter-District workshops should be organised by the SLSAsfor a day to encourage experience sharing andintroduction of better practices. Good work done could berecognised and appreciated and commendationcertificates given on the occasion.