304. Legal aid to accused at State expense in certain cases.
(1) Where, in a trial before the Court of Session, the accused is not represented by a pleader, and where it appears to the Court that the accused has not sufficient means to engage a pleader, the Court shall assign a pleader for his defence at the expense of the State.
(2) The High Court may, with the previous approval of the State Government make rule providing for-
(a) the mode of selecting pleaders for defence under sub-section (2);
(b) the facilities to be allowed to such pleaders by the Courts;
(c) the fee payable to such pleaders by the Government, and generally, for carrying out the purposes of sub-section (1).
(3) The State Government may, by notification, direct that, as from such date as may be specified in the notification, the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (2) shall apply in relation to any class of trials before other Courts in the State as they apply in relation to trials before the Courts of Session.
The entitlement to free legal aid is not dependent on the accused making an application to that effect and the Court is obliged to inform the accused of his right to obtain free legal aid;
Matloob v. State (Delhi Admn.), (1997)