Legal Aid Movement in Pondicherry was started in 1976 under the direction of a Retired District Judge and a devoted group of Law College Students. The Legal Aid Clinic run thus far by the students and teachers of the Law College came under this Retired Judge and his group of Law students. The Clinic offered legal advice and rendered preventive legal services, enlightening the public of their legal rights and duties. A group of Lawyers on the panel of the Clinic rendered their services to parties in Civil and Criminal matters. The Clinic engaged, additionally, in Legal Literacy and Community Legal Education Works with the help of mobile Legal Aid Squads. Further, it gave research support to the solution of poverty-related problems and suggested legislative changes and administrative reforms. Eventually, the activities of the Clinic diversified into consumer movement, environmental protection, community health and group legal services for workers and peasants. All this while, it functioned as a voluntary agency subsisting on the free services of social-minded Judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students. With the establishment of CILAS (Committee for the Implementation of Legal Aids Scheme) in 1980, the Government of Pondicherry, in 1983, constituted Pondicherry Legal Aid and Advice Board with the Chief Minister as Chairman, the Law Minister as Vice-Chairman and a retired District Judge as Member Secretary with financial assistance flowing, for the first time, from the Government. Regional Legal Aid Committee was constituted for each of the outlying areas: Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. The provisions of Chapter – III of the National Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was extended to Pondicherry on 26-2-1998. Soon, on 1-5-1998, the Union Territory of Pondicherry Legal Services Authority was born.
Present and Past Executive Chairmen of the Union Territory of Pondicherry Legal Services Authority :
Thiru Justice M. Jaichandren – Present
7. Hon'ble Thiru Justice P. Sathasivam
8. Hon'ble Thiru Justice P.K. Misra
9. Hon'ble Thiru Justice Elipe Dharma Rao
10. Hon'ble Thiru Justice P.K. Misra
11. Hon'ble Thiru Justice Prabha Sridevan
12. Hon'ble Thiru Justice D. Murugesan
13. Hon'ble Thiru Justice C. Nagappan
14. Hon'ble Thiru Justice R. Banumathi
15. Hon'ble Thiru Justice Chitra Venkataraman
16. Hon'ble Thiru Justice N. Paul Vasantha Kumar
Member Secretary for the Union Territory of Pondicherry Legal Services Authority:
Tmt. V. Sofana Devi, District Judge – Present Member Secretary.Past Member Secretaries :
1. Thiru S.Nadamuni, District Judge.
2. Thiru O.M.Chandrasegar, Chief Judge, Puducherry.
3. Thiru G.Patric, District Judge.
4. Thiru M.Chinnapandi, Chief Judge.
5. Thiru R.Kalidasan, Judge, Family Court, Puducherry.
6. Thiru D.Ramabathiran, District Judge, Puducherry.
7. Thiru K.Uthirapathy, District Judge, Puducherry.
8. Thiru D.Ramabathiran, District Judge, Puducherry.
9. Thiru C.S. Murugan, Chief Judge, Puducherry.
10. Thiru P. Nallathambi, District Judge, Puducherry.
11. Thiru Dr. K. Arul, District Judge, Puducherry.
11. Thiru P.Velmurugan, Chief Judge, Puducherry.
11. Thiru C.V.Karthikeyan, Chief Judge, Puducherry.