Mr. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee. He was nominated by the Central Authority for the said post. The Central Authority under Section 3A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 read with Rule 10 of National Legal Services Authority Rules, 1995, has the power to regulate and make SCLSC. This committee was made to give legal aid and to give legal assistance to the marginalized sections of the society.
Section 3A of the National Legal Services Authority Rules, 1987 says that: -
- The Central Authority shall constitute a committee to be called the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for the purpose of exercising such powers and performing such functions as may be determined by regulations made by the Central Authority.
The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee is the successor of the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee. When SCLSC replaced SCLAC, all the staff members of SCLAC were transferred to the newly formed SCLSC. All the dues of the SCLAC, all the bills of the lawyers were also transferred to the SCLSC. It is mentioned under Rule 10 Supreme Court Legal Services Committee Regulations, 1996.
The powers of the SCLSC are given in Rule 5 of Supreme Court Legal Service Committee Regulations, 1996 which are: -
- To administer and implement the legal services program in so far as it relates to the Supreme Court of India for this purpose take all such steps as may be necessary and to act in accordance with the directions issued by the Central Authority from time to time.
- To receive and scrutinize applications for legal services and to decide all questions as to the grant of or withdrawal of legal service,
- To maintain panels of advocates on record and of senior advocates in the Supreme Court for giving the legal advice,
- To decide all matters relating to the payment of honorarium, costs, charges, and expenses of legal services to the advocate on record and to senior advocates of the Supreme Court,
- To prepare and submit returns, reports, and statistical information in regard to the legal services program to the Central Authority.
The power possessed by the Chairman and the function of the Chairman is also defined in this statute under rule 6. He is the overall head of the administration and implementation of the programs of the committee. The Chairman shall do the meetings, conveyed through secretary for at least once in three months and he shall be the one to preside over the meetings. Also, the Chairman has all the residuary powers of the committee.
The new chairman Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman will be succeeding Justice Arun Mishra as he is retired; Justice Mishra held the post since last year in November.
The order by the Central Authority said that “In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (39 of 1987) read with Rule 10 of the National Legal Services Authority Rules, 1995, the Central Authority hereby nominates Mr. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Judge, Supreme Court of India as Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee with immediate effect”.