Can I be my own lawyer?
Knowing the nature of case would be better to give an opinion. Yes, being a wife you may represent your husband. However, if you cant afford a lawyer, why not visit the office of your State Legal Service Authority (offices are located in each distict court of the state) and get free legal aid including the Lawyer. You may also google the website of Legal Service Authority in your district/state
Vishwa Bhushan Arya
Yes! You have a right to advocate your own case. Also if your financial conditions do not allow you to engage your own advocate you can get free legal aid. As per Art. 39 of the constitution it is the duty of the State to see that the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity for all its citizens. It must therefore arrange to provide free legal aid to those who cannot access justice due to economic and other disabilities. Also Sec. 304 of Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 states that, if the accused does not have sufficient means to engage a lawyer, the court must provide one for the defense of the accused at the expense of the state. Seeing Article 38(1) of the Constitution of India, it avows that the State shall promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting the social order including justice. Therefore seeing all these provisions it is clear you can not only be your own advocate, but the state will help you engage you with one. You can approach Legal Services Authority of your state/district. The Legal Services Authority offers following services:
- Payment of court and other process fee;
- Charges for preparing, drafting and filing of any legal proceedings;
- Charges of a legal practitioner or legal advisor;
- Costs of obtaining decrees, judgments, orders or any other documents in a legal proceeding;
- Costs of paper work, including printing, translation etc.
Thank you for writing to us. Here's our response.
According to one Supreme Court Judgment of 2011 Goa Antibiotics v R.K. Chawla, a person can represent or fight his own case but cannot argue for his father or son before the court of law. The court held that a natural person can fight for his own case but he cannot give a power of attorney to anybody other than an advocate to argue for his case, that would be against the Advocates Act of 1961.
Acoording to Section 33 of Advocates act of 1961, Advocates alone entitled to practice.—Except as otherwise provided in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, no person shall, on or after the appointed day, be entitled to practice in any court or before any authority or person unless he is enrolled as an advocate under this Act. That means a person who has not been enrolled as an advocate is not entitled to practice.
You have mentioned in your query that you are a post graduate, but have not mentioned whether studied law. Nonetheless, you can argue your own case but it has drawbacks in case you do not have a law degree. It would be problematic since you do not know the procedures of the court and you lack the expertise in these fields so I would suggest you that you seek help from the State since your financial condition is not good. This remedy is provided to those people who are indigent and cannot afford a lawyer to represent their case in Court of law. This remedy is provided under Article 39 A of the Indian Constitution. The landmark judgment in Hussainara Khatoon v State of Bihar the court held that if any accused is not able to afford legal services then he has a right to free legal aid at the cost of the state.
Free legal aid is your right and you should definitely go for it. Or you could also seek help from NGOs near by who would also help you considering your situation.
I hope you find this answer hopeful. Thank you.