Internship Experience @ DLSA, New Delhi: Learn how the legal aid system works in India

Name, College, Year of Study, Email ID

Swati Garg, University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 4th Year, [email protected]

Name of Organisation, Location, Team Strength

Delhi State Legal Service Authority, New Delhi.

Application Process

DLSA offers two internship programmes. One is Summer Internship Programme and other one is Winter Internship Programme.

Form for Summer Internship Programme is usually released on their website during March-April. Internship is given on the “first come first serve” basis.

Duration of internship and timings

Three weeks. No fixed timings. They gave us the schedule in the starting. Usually we have to reach around 11 am. Rest depends on when the work is complete.

First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure

My first impression was good. We had an orientation session at Tis Hazari Court.

Main tasks

The main idea about this internship to give us students an idea about how the legal aid system works in India. We were supposed to visit certain places and on the last day we had to submit a report on the basis of our experiences.

Places we visited:

1. Tihar Jail: We visited Tihar Jail for three continuous days. Our main task there was to interact with prisoners and to inform them about the legal aid facilities which the government provide.

2. Police Station

3. Juvenile Justice Board (JJB)

4. Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences(IHBAS)

5. Observation Homes

6. Child Welfare Committee (CWC)

7. Gender Resource Centres (GRC)

8. Patiala House Court

Work environment and people

We were divided in small groups on the basis of our geographical locations. We had field visits like daily. Only once in a while we had to visit the DLSA’s office.

People were easy to interact with. You can easily make new friends.

Best things

1. Visit to Tihar Jail. Everyone was excited about it.

2. During our NGO visit, me and one of other interns were asked to give a lecture to the ladies there. And then those ladies came to us with their problems. It really boosted our confidence.

3. Timings were flexible.

4. Good Exposure.

Bad things

1. Though they gave us a schedule on the very first day but they kept on changing the times and locations. It was all a mess.

2. Except at Tihar Jail and Police Station, nobody from DLSA accompanied us to our visits. And when sometimes we faced trouble finding the location, nobody picked up our calls.

3. Delhi is too hot during summers and so much travelling. Duh !

Stipend

No Stipend.

Biggest Lessons

I’ll advise students to actually intern here. I don’t know about legal aid but they do give us an insight into the mindset of prisoners.

During our Tihar visit, many prisoners told us that every year new interns comes, they talk to us but nothing happens. Well, that actually shocked me because I was under the impression, that DLSA people actually do something with our reports.

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