Internship @ National Legal Services Authority, New Delhi: Good Environment, Visit to Tihar Jail

Name. Year. College.

Abhishek Bansal. 2nd year. Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.

Name of the Organization. Office Address. Contact details.

National Legal Services Authority. 12/11, Jam Nagar House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi.

Ph: 011-23386176, 23385321, Fax: 23382121

About the organization. 

NALSA is basically an organization which provides free legal aid to the poor, deprived and the backward classes of the society who cannot afford to bear the costs involved in litigation.

It is the governing authority of the State Legal Services which are present in almost all the states of India.

How was the office? Team Strength?  

The permanent staff had offices and cubicles but we sat in a conference hall where the organization generally holds meetings and video conferences with Judges, NGOs and other people involved in providing free legal aid.

The hall got clumsy when the 15 interns were present, which happened almost everyday.

It was air-conditioned but the ACs went off sometimes, adding to the woes of summer, the typical Delhi ki garmi.

The hall also had LAN connections, so we never got bored when we had no work to do. Yes, you don’t really have a LOT of work to do in NALSA.

During working hours we were served with unlimited coffee and tea.

Besides the office, there’s Dutton Bhaiya’s canteen where you get good ghar ka khana in lunch.

Duration of the Internship. Office timings.

12th June to 2nd July (3 weeks).

The office timings were 10 AM – 5 PM, but the Under Secretary is a good man, so we were allowed to leave before 5 PM when we had nothing to do.

Procedure of application? Internship Contact details.

The application procedure is quite simple.

I sent an e-mail to [email protected] two months in advance.

The subject of my mail was“Application for Internship: May or June”.

Then I explained why I wanted to intern at NALSA and with it attached my CV and a standard-format recommendation letter from my college.

A reply came in within a fortnight and I was asked to confirm my participation in the internship before a specified date. The internship slots for the month of May being filled up, I was asked to join in June.

One does not really need to keep following-up because they take students for internship solely based on the first come- first serve basis. If you mail them before others do, then you have a chance. So, send the mail well in advance.  

First impression, first day, formalities.

The first day at NALSA was quite relaxed.

When we got into the office we were not quite aware of the tasks that we would be assigned or the work that we had to do.

The day started with a short address to the interns by Mr. G.B. Ravichandran, the Under Secretary of the organization.

He informed us about our tasks and visits to different organizations, forums and other places that were lined for the coming days.

Then, we were given some petitions to read and were asked to suggest the course that should be adopted to mete out justice to the aggrieved party. As far as formalities are concerned, we were only required to be decently dressed.

Main tasks

Our main work at NALSA involved reading petitions that came to the organization so that due course in law can be suggested.

The interns were only asked for their suggestions and were not involved in the process that was adopted in addressing the grievances.

We were also given the task of framing FAQs regarding various Acts and statutes.

It basically involved a careful reading of the bare provisions of some legislations and framing questions and finding their answers for the layman’s understanding.

As I have mentioned above, we did not really have a lot of work to do. Everything was very basic and that is why I would call it a perfect First Year internship.

Then, we had our visits to various organizations and forums which was part of a one week program with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority.

We visited the Child welfare Committee, Lok Adalat, Mediation center, Tis Hazari and Patiala House Courts, the Juvenile Justice Board and the Tihar Jail.

Yes, when you intern at NALSA, you get to go to the most talked-about prison in the country and this was easily the best place we visited in the whole internship.

The basic purpose of taking us to Tihar was to let us know the rights of prisoners and the procedure through which the inmates file petitions.

The inmates make almost everything there, from cloth, paper and furniture to bakery items and art. Their bakery items could give the best bakeries in town a run for their money.

Apart from this, we had scheduled visits to the Supreme Court and the Parliament (when in session) after the internship.

But some of us could not visit these places because we had to leave for our homes the very next day our internship got over.

Work environment, people

The work environment was pretty good.

The interns were a great bunch of people and it was easy to gel up with them.

Since, we did not have to work with the permanent staff and everyone whom I worked with was an intern, there were no ego-clashes or animosity towards anyone.

As the days passed we interns became very good friends and often hung out at the Cannaught Place which was not too far away.

Moreover, when you work under someone like Mr. Ravichandran, you don’t have to worry about anything.

He is the man who made our internship all the more interesting and fun. He will tell you everything you need to know, from Judges to lawyers and from ministers to other staff in the organization.

If you don’t get something or don’t feel like working some day, then he’s fine with it, provided that you have a genuine reason.

So, NALSA offers you a good working environment and it’s not like law firms where you have to adhere to each and every rule. Here, there’s no work load as such and one feels comfortable.

The good things AND the bad things

What I liked best about NALSA was the way everyone cooperated with each other in everything.

Each intern was a good friend. Actually, it was the first Delhi trip for most of us and we did the whole Delhi Darshan together.

Moreover, getting to learn the basics about the working of the various forums and organisations that we visited during the internship was a great experience.

Also, it felt very good to work with someone like Mr, Ravichandran.

The man has such a great heart that he has promised us to arrange for a Parliament visit the next time we are in Delhi, even if we do not intern in NALSA.

Stipend

No stipend.

They expressly state this in the invitation mail that you will not be paid for your accommodation or travel expenses.

You only get free coffee and tea at the office.

Where did I stay? How did I commute between the office and the PG?

I stayed in a paying guest accommodation at Nirman Vihar in East Delhi.

This place is well connected to the other areas of the city.

To commute between NALSA and my PG I either took a bus or the metro.

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