Internship Experience @ State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh: A great experience for a young law student

Name

Aayush Aroa, UILS, Panjab University, 2015-2020

Duration

24th December, 2015 to 4th January, 2016.

Like other internships this internship may not include fascinating site seeing or clerical work or workshops but has more of field work. Getting to know about the internship we need to understand the relevance of the institution known as state legal service authority.

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SIGNIFICANCE OF THE AUTHORITY

Though right to constitutional remedy Article 32 was been designated as heart and soul of the constitution by Dr B.R Ambedkar but irony of the nation is that legal remedy is highly expensive and more than a right it is much of a privilege to avail such remedy.

As per the current scenario the law is governing the poor and rich is governing the law, latest example is that of Harish Salve who is the former solicitor general of India and has been the lawyer of actor Salman Khan for case of hit and trial against the latter, he charged Rs. 30 lac  for an hour, and extra charges per hearing, by the way he is not the most expensive lawyer of India, the readers of this essay may refer to Top101news.com for knowing the dreadful rate list of 10 most expensive lawyers in India.

Therefore keeping the fact in view the government passed the Legal services authority act 1987, as to provide free legal services to certain underprivileged and weaker sections of the society and under this there is a three tier system for upholding the spirit of free legal services the District Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) , the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) and the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) therefore I worked with the State Legal Services Authority.

ABOUT THE INTERNSHIP AND MY EXPERIENCE

The winter internship was of 14 days, the first day was for the orientation for the students and to know about the authority , the real task started from day 2 the interns who were from various law schools were taken to New Dhanas Colony which is a slum area where the government has allotted flats to people living in jhugis and kacha houses.

We interns were asked to take a survey which obviously was a boring task so I showed least interest in filling the questionnaire, but what I did is, I finished the task of the survey as soon as possible and asked people their problems, I noted down their lay man language and gave it a legal angle, how did it help I will conclude in last para.

Then on the same day we were taken to juvenile justice home, Snehalaya, old age home which may be of no use for a jurist but as a person you learn ethics and obviously I had the curiosity to see children of my age who committed crimes and interestingly they were humans, like us ( trying to be comic #failed).

Then we were taken to Lok Adalats, which according to me was the best for two reasons Primary – we personally interacted with the Hon’ble judges, the president Mr V.K Gupta who is a retired Session Judge and Retd IPS Officer V.K Kapoor who was the member of Lok Adalat, trust me they were very nice humble and jovial and we felt free even to ask about their personal life.

Secondary – the judges served us with crispy pakoras, gulab jamun and tea which was for unknown reason so addictive that forgetting all sophistication we all filled our plates as if we were tramps wandering from past several days and are served with food.

I witnessed 6 cases solved in 10 minutes, believe me, people wandering from so many years in the court of law ultimately procured justice in front of us in a jiffy in lok adalat.

The judge threw the file on the face of an arrogant representative of the state office as he in cross examination was caught to have done dereliction of duty purposely.

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TASKS GIVEN DURING THE INTERNSHIPS

Then the interns were divided in the group of 2 or 3 to study and deliver lectures about the topics that were given to the interns to teach.

I had to teach to the students of Shivalik Public School with a team of 2 more students (Rivisha Sachdeva- UILS, PU and Jayant Sood – Jindal Global University) about the Alternative Dispute Resolution and legal aid clinics which was a fun experience as students were very eager to hear, but I added some topics and told the students that how they can form a legal literacy club in their school by at least 25 students joining hands, signing the application and sending it to SLSA,  sector 9d, Chandigarh, which would not only help the students to get legally able and aware but would also help them to explore their co-scholastic dimensions as the legal service authority concerned will conduct street plays, poster making competitions etc.

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The second task was that during the internship we were taken to various slum areas like Dhanas, Village Kaimbvala, Malloya, Burail etc there we were asked to conduct surveys, well I added something to make this activity making more productive by making people aware of their rights about free legal aid.

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VISIT TO THE MEDIATION CENTER

We were then taken to razinama kendra which is the best alternative according to me for resolution for any non criminal dispute.

Here we met senior lawyers and judges working as mediators, the most interesting was Advocate Arun Dogra he shared such shocking cases which baffled us and our reaction as to what to do, cry or laugh.

Unfortunately there were no hearings that day as it was 2nd January and the courts newly reopened after the winter vacation.

But all in all a good experience visiting the district court complex.

MERITS
  1. Easy registration process – for knowing more about it contact the law officer Rajeshwar Singh (contact number – 9417174320).
  2. Easy going and calm staff members.
  3. Learning about the new concepts – I being a fresher never knew about the alternative dispute resolution, of the free legal aid or about the act  OF 1987.
  4. Helping the poor – How? Is explained below.
  5. Interaction with students from various law schools.
LIMITATIONS
  1. No Workshops – Requires self study.
  2. Surveys – According to me surveys which had questions like “were you aware of lok adalats, are you under some trial” were not only tedious but also futile.
  3. No Stipends – Yes , not even any kind of refreshments.
MY MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

The second day visit was to Dhanas, I met children there who wanted to study but were not admitted in the school because they had no birth certificate, I remember there name still – Sandhya, Soni, Sahil, Guria I drafted a application on their behalf got it signed by them and submitted it to SLSA by myself with the help of my classmate.

The SLSA has sent the notice to the concerning families and the relevant authorities involved in issuing birth certificates on 19th February, 2016. I and my friend will insure that they get admission so that they get educated and prove to be a valuable asset too the society rather than a burden.

Also the day 6 visit to village Kaimbwala where we met a man who sold half of his property to satisfy the exorbitant fees of a private lawyer, we enlightened him about the fact of his eligibility of free legal aid, the pride I felt doing it is inexplicable.

Rest I informed and added to the knowledge of so many people about the sections of society who can avail free legal aid such as – women, children, SC, ST, specially challenged and people having salary less than 1 lac.

WHO SHOULD JOIN IT ? 

Are you a fresher and unaware of the laws, this is the internship you are looking for, I joined this internship so as to get a certificate and to add on my CV, but I became a part of it.

You may not have that kind of site seeing and fascinating visits like that of high court and supreme court(which is certainly not in Chandigarh) but you will have work at ground level.

CONCLUSION

You will have fun, transport provided by the authority, would like to thank Vikas Sir the organizer of the visits, Manjit Mam a para legal volunteer and all the people who made our holidays productive.

This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.

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