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Report No. 48

63. Legal aid in proceedings for maintenance.-

It remains now to deal with the question of legal aid in proceedings under section 488. There is, in the section, no mention of the right to legal aid of the person claiming maintenance, and many deserving cases are left out simply because of want of counsel. Ordinarily, the opposite party is rich enough to engage a counsel, and the applicant has, therefore, to fight an uneven battle. Having regard to the beneficial object of section 488-an object which seeks to introduce a modicum of socialism in the sphere of family law-it is desirable that legal aid should be available in proceedings under section 488. In order that such an amendment may not work to the disadvantage of an indigent respondent-such a situation could be contemplated-it will be necessary to extend the right to legal aid to both parties to such proceedings. It may be noted that the Kerala rule1 as to legal aid makes a specific provision covering such proceedings.

1. Rule 4, Kerala Legal Aid Rules, 1958.

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