In a written reply before the Rajya Sabha, the Ministry of Law & Justice has said on Thursday that free Legal Aid is provided by each and every Law College in the country.

The question asked by MP Abdul Wahab was about the number of law schools which operate legal services clinics providing professional training to students and free legal services for the socially and economically weaker sections of the society.

The Ministry said that Clause 11 of Schedule-III of Legal Education Rules, 2008 mandates each and every Law College of the country to mandatorily establish and run Legal Aid Clinic by the Final Year students of the Institution in cooperation with the Legal Aid Authorities.

"Therefore, free Legal Aid is provided by each and every Law College of the country", the answer said.

The Ministry has informed that there are 1,662 Law Colleges in the Country as per the data furnished by the Bar Council of India.

The maximum number of law colleges is in Uttar Pradesh at 339, followed by Maharashtra at 201, Rajasthan at 125 and Karnataka at 124. While Mizoram has only one law college, Goa has two and Nagaland and Tripura have three each.

The answer given in the Parliament also says that the Bar Council of India has constituted a high-level committee headed by a former Chief Justice of a High Court to identify such Centres of Legal Education (CLEs) that are not complying with the infrastructural, faculty, library and other requirements as per Rules of Legal Education.

As per the Ministry, the Committee conducts surprise inspections on such CLEs. Once the inspection reports are received by the Committee set up by Bar Council of India, it takes action. "Even otherwise, as per regular inspections when it is seen that there are deficiencies on the part of CLE's, they are not granted approval of affiliation, or when the deficiencies are not of such nature or of such nature which may be made up by way of compliance of such condition, then an opportunity is given to comply and make up the deficiencies and the matter is considered afresh after such deficiencies are made up", the answer says.

The Ministry also says that as per information made available by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), Regulation 3 of the National Legal Services Authority (Legal Services Clinics) Regulations, 2011 provides for the establishment of legal services clinics, subject to the financial resources available.

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