Internship Experience @ Senior Advocate Dipak Seth, Lucknow: An enriching learning experience

Name : Ambrish Tewari

Semester: IIIrd

Institute : Gujarat National Law University

Duration: 22 November to 22 December, 2014

First Impression:

One of my seniors informed me about the place. He had interned there earlier. Dipak sir was not the one we were to work under directly but his associate, Mr. Ratnesh Chandra.

He had had a very long and enriching tenure of advocacy at the Lucknow High Court. The chambers are small but quite impressive with a huge collection of books.

Everyone was friendly, but professional. Sir assigned me some reading. I had applied with one of my friends from the same batch in the college.

The first day, in itself, gave us an opportunity to prepare legal opinion on a writ petition relating to the issue of Compassionate Employment.

Sir asked us to research and find out the leading case laws and prepare a brief. There weren’t any formalities to be completed. The first day was relaxing and comfortable.

The next day sir asked us for our recommendation letters from the college and to fill the form for our passes. It took us three days to get the passes. Till then we had to report only in the chambers from 5 pm to 10 pm. Although, sir was considerate and kind enough to let us go by 9 pm but even that was very tiring for us.

It was mandatory for us to be in formals inside the High Court but casuals were allowed for the chamber hours.

Once the doors of the High Court were open for us (after receiving passes), our working hour became 10am to 10pm. From 10am to 4pm in the Court, where we’d listen to the hearings and make notes of the same.

On the very first day inside the High Court, we got really confused and did not know how sift through the cause list to find out the court number and timings when sir would be arguing the cases.

Wandering in a clueless manner we ran into one of his junior associates, Mr. Anuj Dayal who was really helpful and understood our problem of being completely inexperienced about the ways the High Court worked.

He showed us the procedure the cases are taken up and how to make proper use of the cause lists. Then on, we didn’t have any sort of problem in getting to the courts where sir would be having his arguments.

We would read the files (the petitions, the counters and the rejoinders) of the upcoming cases in the chambers and research on the topics allocated to us and subsequently, the next day, we would take down the developments at the hearing which we were to brief sir once he reaches chambers by 7pm.

The first case that we researched upon was a very interesting one. It related to a writ petition in a matter of illegal and unlawful usage of the national emblem by a newspaper called ‘Canviz Times’.

Sir also made me sit and observe how he gave dictation, and explained a lot of things about civil procedures and practical court situations.

He always stressed on the need to understand the intricacies of the case completely. If we didn’t understand, he would try to explain to us the issues patiently and would leave us only when we had understood the points completely. It was a great learning experience.

The best experience, personally for me, was to observe the court proceedings. I would look in all awe at sir, while he would argue, to soak every bit of knowledge on the adequate court etiquettes and the way arguments are to be made.

I really loved the experience at the Chief Justice’s court. It is a custom that the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court sits for a period of one week out of the four in a month at the Lucknow Bench.

I had heard a lot about the sheer brilliance and legal acumen of Hon’ble Mr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and so I wanted to see the man himself in action. When that opportunity came by, I became a permanent observer of the court of Chief Justice for that one week.

The first case that he took up was relating to the maintainability of the Public Interest Litigation filed to put a statewide ban on the movie PK on the grounds of hurting religious sentiments.

It was indeed quite enriching to hear him stress upon the mandate by the Constitution to uphold the Freedom of Speech and Expression. The matter was albeit given another date and I never got to hear of it again.

The array of cases that we observed and researched upon related to a number of wide legal issues such as allocation of tender by Petroleum Corporation, an illegal occupation of a business property, Panchayat Election disputes, Seizure of illegal drugs, maintainability of review petitions, etc.

We were also given the work of drafting affidavits and counter-affidavits in two or three cases. On the last day, I also drafted a letter for condonation of delay.

The BEST Thing: The best thing was the first-hand experience of how a High Court works, the interactive sessions with sir and the elaborative research regarding a number of interesting cases.

The BAD thing: The long and hectic schedule, only!

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