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Case Studies

Legal Education

M. H. Hoskot Vs State of Maharashtra AIR 1978 SC 1548

State Of Maharashtra Vs M.P Vashi AIR 1996 SC 1
Thomas Job Vs P.T. Thomas AIR 2004 Ker47 (50)
Center of Legal Research Vs State of Kerala AIR 1986 SC 2195

Thangjam Manorama, Case

State of Maharastra v. Manubhai Pragji Vashi, A.I.R. 1996 S.C. 1.

State of Maharashtra v Manubhai Pragaji Vashi, the particular question of grants-in-aid to

non-governmental law colleges was dealt with. It was held that provision of grants was duty
of State which came out of reading of Article 39A with 21. It also affirmed the position of
Supreme Court in the previous cases.
The court held that the state government, in concurrence with the concerned university, the Bar Council of
India, and the State Bar Council and other competent bodies or persons, should take the necessary steps to
ensure high standards to achieve excellence in legal education.

In Centre for legal research v State of Kerala, the question was whether voluntary
organizations or social action groups engaged in legal aid programs should be supported by
the state government, and if yes, then till what extent? CJ Bhagwati said that legal service
was not a charity but a social entitlement of the people. Those in need of assistance were
not mere beneficiaries but participants in the entire process. Voluntary organizations and
social action groups engaged in legal aid programs were the best way to ensure participation
of the people. These organizations, because of the specialized nature of their functions, are
well-versed with the people and their needs. Thus they must be encouraged and supported
by the State. But they shall not be under control or direction of the State.
Thomas Job Vs P.T. Thomas AIR 2004 Ker47 (50)
It has been clarified in this case though the award Passed by the Lok Adalat is
treated as a compromise decree passed by civil court as per the provision
contained in Section 21 of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987, the two are
distinct from each other. In case of civil court when it passes a decree in terms of
compromise between the parties, and if a time is fixed for doing a particular act
in the decree the court will have the jurisdiction to extend the time in
appropriate cases. But unlike this, the Lok Adalat isS not a court, it is merely a
forum created under the provision of the LSAA and has only those powers which
are conferred on it by that Act. The award made by the Lok Adalat only certifies
the compromise agreement entered into between the parties as true an original
and it has to be signed by the parties and the panel of members constituting the
Lok Adalat . there is no provision in CPC which requires a party to a compromise
decree passed by a civil court to affix his signature in the decree. Thus the award
passed by the Lok Adalat and signed by the parties and attested by the members
of Lok Adalat stand on altogether different footing from that of compromise
decree passed by civil court. therefore the civil court executing the award has no
jurisdiction to vary the terms of award mad by Lok Adalat or extend the time
agreed to between the parties in the award.

Thangjam Manorama, Case

{case based on (AFSPA) Armed Force Special Power Act, 1958)}
Thangjam Manorama, a 32 year old lady from Manipur is good example to clarify the ground
reality of due process, though she was arrested in the exercising the so called power given
under the AFSPA, but No incriminating evidence was found during her arrest as recorded in
the memo of the arrest (This was not-so-subtly denied by the official spokesperson of the
Assam Rifles who later said that a hand grenade, a wireless radio and plenty of incriminating
evidence were "seized" from her house). However, after much searching, her body was found
four kilometres away from her house. Although there were barely any clothes on her body,
there were plenty of bullets in her vagina. After Manoramas rape and murder, In July 2004, a
group of 12 women disrobed in front of the Kangla Fort in Imphal, holding up a banner that
said, 'Indian Army rape us'. They were protesting the rape and murder of Thangjam
Manorama, allegedly by security forces. Manorama was picked up from her house on July 11,
2004 by Assam Rifles soldiers.
Madhav Hayawadanrao Hoskot v State of Maharashtra
Article 39A states:
39A. Equal justice and free legal aid - The State shall secure that the operation of the legal
system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free
legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities
for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.
The Article implies that free legal service is inalienable from the requirements of reasonable,
fair and just, as without it people would suffer economic disabilities, which cannot be a
ground for someone not getting access to justice. This should be held to be implicit in Article
21, that is, the fundamental right to life and personal liberty.
Article 21 states:
21. Protection of life and personal liberty - No person shall be deprived of his life or personal
liberty except according to procedure established by law.
When Article 21 and 39A are read together, it becomes quite clear that equal justice required
in the latter is included within life and liberty of the former. 39A further gives the State a way
to ensure that this Fundamental Right of the accused is not infringed, that is by provision of
free legal aid and opportunity. This was stated in Maneka Gandhi v Union of India.
So although Article 39A is not enforceable in a court of law by virtue of it being a Directive
Principle, it may draw its mandate from Article 21. That is, in fact, how the various cases
regarding free legal aid have come up in the courts.
Petitions invoking Article 39A have come up many a time in courts of law. Most of these seek
maintainability through Article 21 as 39A is not enforceable. In this chapter, a series of the
main decisions shall be discussed.

The first of these judgments is a 1978 decision of the Supreme Court in Madhav
Hayawadanrao Hoskot v State of Maharashtra. The case came up as a Special
Leave Petition by the accused, M.H. Hoskot, who was charged with forgery and
misrepresentation of a college degree. The shopkeeper to whom he went for getting
a fake seal made, however, turned out to be clever and he gave pre-emptive
information to the police. The Sessions court held the accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt for grave offences, but softened his punishment to a large degree.
This gave rise to two appeals to the High Court: one by the Petitioner against the
conviction and the other by the Respondents for the nominal punishment. High Court
dismissed the Petitioner's appeal and allowed the Repondent's, increasing the
punishment to three years rigorous imprisonment. The appeal in the Supreme Court
came up against this harsh punishment, but after a period of four years. The reasons
stated by the Petitioner for this delay was that a copy of the High Court had not been
served to him. The Supreme Court identified to perils of the legal system in this: first,
the fact that prisoners are at the mercy of the prison officials with regard to their right
to appeal; second, there is no statutory provision for free legal serives to a prisoner
because of which a right of appeal for the legal illiterates is nugatory and, therefore, a
negation of that fair legal procedure which is implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution
as was stated in the Maneka Gandhi case. Though the Supreme Court provided the
petitioner a lawyer, he decided to argue on his own.

The Court in its judgment categorically stated that the provision of the Code of Criminal
Procedure granting Right to Appeal was implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution. It could not
be denied under any circumstances and it is the duty of courts to facilitate an accused
invoking this right. It further states that Article 39A is an interpretive tool' for Article 21. It
affirms the position in Maneka Gandhi v Union of India that personal liberty could not be cut
down without fair legal procedure. To ensure this was a State's duty and not any form of
charity. Further, though the services were to be free to the beneficiary, the lawyer had to be
remunerated at the State's cost.
The decree of the High Court was not changed. The Supreme Court only laid down the said
principles. But it confined this liberty to a prisoner alone.