Internship Experience @ Human Rights Law Network [HRLN], New Delhi: Draft Bail Applications, Research Work

Name. College. Year of Study

Yashika Jain; Second Year; National Law University, Delhi.

Name of the organisation. Office Address. City

Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), New Delhi – 110014

How was the office?  Team strength?

I interned here during the month of July, this year. The office is located in not-so-posh area in Jungpura, Delhi.

It is basically headed by the founder of the organization Mr. Colin Gonsalves, often referred to as BOSS in there. Trust me, he is one of the sweetest people around, but strict enough to get the work done from you that too in the best way possible!.

The office does not look fancy from outside but it is big enough to accommodate 15-20 interns and 25-30 employees.

The office basically has four floors and a basement. Basement has a little library where you would find books you are searching for (related to the work of course). Adjacent to the library you have a conference room, where all the meetings are conducted.

Nobody goes to the first floor so I don’t know who all sit there, some admin stuff. The second floor is basically where all the interns are allotted their desks along with some amazing employees. All the advocates sit on the third floor along with some court clerks.

Basically these are the people who do not get to wear colorful stuff to office as they are always on their toes and rush to the court every now and then. The fourth floor again is admin staff where you get your reimbursements for the field visits.

They have another branch which is popularly referred to as A-20 there. People working for reproductive rights basically work there. It is on a walking distance from the main office.

Application procedure. Internship contact details

I personally got to know about this place from my seniors. So if you want to work for Human Rights, or you want a fruitful internship where you get to learn things, and if you are not doing internship for merely a certificate, then this is the place to be.

The entire application procedure is listed on their website in detail.

They have a separate application form which is required to be filled up and a write up on why you want to do this internship (500 words) is required to be submitted online along with your CV. This is supposed to be sent at [email protected]

I received my confirmation letter within 3 days of applying by the interns supervisor.

Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings

It is compulsory for the Indian interns to intern for minimum of 4 weeks and for the foreign interns, it is 6 weeks. I interned for 4 weeks but I had friends who took extension out of their OWN CHOICE and interned for 8-9 weeks. It really is fun working at HRLN.

The official timings are basically 9 to 6 for Monday to Friday and for Saturday it is 9 to 4 and somehow they call it a Half Day. But we often stayed back till 7-8, again out of our own choice.

You just don’t feel like leaving your work incomplete. So the schedule is little hectic. OK more than a little hectic! And on the first day of your internship you are told that you may be called on Sunday in cases of emergency. However none of the emergencies arose while I was interning.

Accommodation: how, where, how was it?

The organization is in Jangpura which basically is a hub for legal internships so you don’t face many problems finding an accommodation. Since there are a lot of foreign interns, there are lot of PGs and hotels around which you can easily get at viable prices.

Since I was staying at my relative’s place, I don’t have a firsthand experience. But this is what I was told by my friends there. All the hotels and rooms are at a walking distance so it is not really a tough job finding the suitable one for you.

The conditions inside the hotels and inns are hygienic and pretty satisfactory. The cost of the hotels for a room is also not too much. Further you can always ask help from people at HRLN.

First impression. First day, formalities etc.

Do not judge a book by its cover. So the impression of the place from the look of the office from outside won’t be that great and the same happened with me. However what matters is what’s inside there. The office seemed to be well maintained with all the facilities included.

Basically on the first day the intern-coordinator Zoya familiarized everyone with the office, the employees, the kind of work we’ll be allotted, how to go about things, allotment of desks and stuff like that.

The introduction procedure was followed by the registration and then all the interns were allotted to the respective supervisor according to their interests. These supervisors change every week or so, so that every intern gets the opportunity to learn different aspects of Law.

All the co-interns are told certain basic rules such as mandatory signing in and signing out in the specified register when you enter and exit the office, working hours and days in a week, no. of holidays etc. And then right on your first day you are told to pull your socks up and start working.

Main tasks

HRLN basically is a NGO that provides free legal aid and tries its best to protect human rights.

The work given to the interns ranged from research work to the field work. They have all sorts of work to keep you interested. The work there basically gives you a practical experience at working of Law.

Researching for petitions for issues like marital rape, farmers suicide, conditions of orphanages; drafting of bail applications and affidavits after analyzing the case file yourself; drafting writ petitions like Habeas Corpus; Organizing national conferences; going on protests; conducting field research in slums and other places; Going for fact finding in criminal cases are some of the jobs that you get to do while interning.

I had some awesome experiences like visiting courts and attending proceedings, visiting police stations, talking to the police officers regarding the case on one-on-one basis, finding evidences on actual crime-scene, filing RTIs, and interviewing acid attack survivors and rape survivors. The kind of work that is given there basically widens your horizons.

Also you get the opportunity to travel outside the city for attending conferences and doing field research.

During the internship you get to cover a lot of Criminal Law and Civil Law along with broad understanding of International Law on aspects according to the work allotted. The best part is you realize what actually is happening around the world.

Work environment, people

The work environment of the place is really great. You get a lot of flexibility in the type of work you want.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the way of work. You can go about the work the way you want.

The people working around, co-interns and other lawyers and activists are really helpful and their dedication towards work, add a new enthusiasm to the place. Regular coming and going of clients and access to them provides a reality check of the surroundings.

Best things

1. Lot of court visits

2. Free tea that too you can choose from: lemon, ice, and the milk one

3. Great work environment with really awesome people.

4. Good quality of work allotted.

5. Screening of interesting documentaries and discussions on Fridays.

6. Flexibility in work.

7. Awesome eateries just outside the office.

8. Random treats from your supervisor.

9. Internet access and access to great websites like manupatra.

10. AC, all the time.

11. You can take as many breaks as you want and whenever you want, given you complete your work.

12. Apart from the learning experience, my favorite part was to get to mix with people from all across the world. You get to know their perception about your nation and share your own with them.

Bad things

1. You get a lot of work and during your internship you’ll end up with only Sundays free. Given the fact that you work really hard on other SIX DAYS, you won’t feel like hanging out.

2. Since there are loads of interns and there is only so much work an NGO can do, sometimes you are allotted a not-so-cool work and when you see other people doing all the cool stuff, it gets on your nerves. The solution is do not sit back and feel bad, just go and talk to the supervisor.

3. Often interns get competitive as only few interns get to go to court at one time. Some of the sly ones sneak there way every time. It is not basically HRLN’s fault but you need to keep yourself aware and make sure that you keep the coordinator updated with respect to your visits.

What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues

So there is no specific time for lunch and you can have it whenever you want. All the employees are extremely frank and thus you get a lot of scope of bonding with them and also with co-interns.

I made some really good friends out there. Even though the locality does not seem to be very impressive, there are lot eateries around.

There is an awesome chaat shop where you get everything ranging from paneer-samosa to pav bhaji.

That place has a Subway, Agarwal’s and KFC outlet not too far from the office. There are lots of bakeries and other street-food stalls.

So you get a series of places to hang out together, get to know each other, and ofcourse fight for food. And you can always take out some time on your free day and give yourself a break at Khan Market!

Stipend/ month

None. Infact you need to pay Rs. 1000. But it is totally worth it!

Conclusion

In a nutshell, I had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends, had amazing experiences and got to learn a ton!

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