Internship Experience @ PUCL, Jaipur: Madam’s views, ideas, beliefs and working inspired me a lot

Name, Year of Study, College

Prafful Goyal, 2nd year, NUJS

Name of the Organisation, City, Contact Information

People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jaipur, Rajasthan

Nature of the Organisation

PUCL is a Human Right Organisation founded by Jai Prakash Narayan in 1976 with the aim of protecting civil liberties and human rights.

It is not-for-profit organisation and do not accept funds from any source, be it Indian or foreign. All operating expenses are fund by the members itself. PUCL, Jaipur works mainly under the able guidance of Ms. Kavita Srivastava (General Secretary, PUCL).

Official Website can be accessed from HERE.

Application Procedure, Contact Information

For an internship in PUCL Jaipur, one has to first send an e-mail either to PUCL Rajasthan email-id or to PUCL General Secretary’s (Ms. Kavita Srivastava) email-id.

E-mail should specify the law school in which the intern is pursuing law, his/her year of study, duration of internship and an updated Curriculum Vita (C.V.). This all has to be done atleast a month prior to the period of internship.

In response to the application, usually in a day-time, there will be a detailed confirmation mail by the authorities at PUCL office.

Email-ID (PUCL Rajasthan): – [email protected]

Email-ID (Kavita Srivastava): – [email protected], [email protected]

Duration of the Internship, Timings

21st April to 18th May, 2014 (4 Weeks)

Timings are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Officially)

However, there is no strict boundation regarding the timings, but this doesn’t mean that one can come late, while, it only means that one can leave late.

Accommodation

Usually, it is provided near to the office by the PUCL Jaipur officials only. But, since, I am from Jaipur I didn’t need the accommodation facilities.

In the confirmation mail to the internship application, PUCL officials ask about the accommodation requirements, and if, anyone requires then they provide them with the decent accommodation at a reasonable price.

How Big was the Office? Team Strength

The office is located in a residential house, located in Shanti Niketan Colony, Kisan Marg and occupies one complete floor. Though I believe that they are thinking of expanding it owing to the numbers of interns they receive. PUCL Jaipur is a state-branch of a nation-wide organisation called PUCL only, having its main head-quarter in Delhi.

PUCL Jaipur mainly works through its office. It concentrates on Human Rights Violation, happening in and around the state. However, they also take active part in the issues prevalent in the other parts of the country.

PUCL Jaipur office, as I have said earlier, is in a residential house, so, its inner structure is like a normal household. It consists of three rooms and a kitchen. Over-all, it is not very spacious.

Interns are usually made to sit in a single room which can accommodate at the maximum of 15 students at a time. Therefore, whenever they have more than 15 interns they have to book other places to accommodate them.

PUCL Jaipur usually receives a lots of internship application. During summer vacations they have more than 100 interns coming from different places of the country. They book various places (usually libraries and halls) to accommodate them during internship hours.

First Impression, First Day Formalities

First day at PUCL’s office is the best because you get to personally interact with Kavita ma’am (it happens throughout the internship period, but first day talk is just awesome). She’ll talk about the issues in news, she’ll ask for opinions, she might even give readings.

During my internship, Lok Sabha elections were going on, so, she asked me “whom do you support and why?” I replied to her question and she just said ‘Ok’. On the very next moment, she handed me some reports and asked me to read them and then answer the same question again.

After couple of minutes, she asked me, whom do you support now? I was completely amazed on the fact that she didn’t try to force her opinion over mine; she just provided me the facts which completely negated my opinion. Her views, ideas, beliefs and working inspired me a lot.

Kavita Ma’am and I went for the ‘Janmanch’ where Ms. Aruna Roy (Social Activist) delivers the speech against the freebies offered by the politician to attract voters to vote for them, she was accompanied by many other activists on the same.

Formalities in the office were near to zero. It was very informal. However, one has to write an application stating the name, year of study, college, address, parents’ information, their phone number etc. Further, interns also have to enter their name in the register, maintained by officials at the office.

Main Tasks

Work at PUCL ranges from visiting police stations, central jails, old-age homes, night- shelters to protest outside the house of politicians.

Our main task was to conduct surveys in the near-by police stations, night-shelters and get our questionnaires answered by them.

We also went to the Central Jail (Men’s) every week, where we met five-seven poor under trial prisoners and learn about their respective cases. We ask them their problems; provide them with every kind of help they need, ranging from basic necessities to arranging a lawyer under the Legal Service Authorities Act, 1987.

During these sessions, we came across the flaws in the legal system as many of under-trial prisoners didn’t have their lawyer appointed and those who had, didn’t know about them because lawyers never approach them in jail. Further, we came across some cases where charges were framed unnecessarily because of the influence of the opposing parties on the police.

Apart from this, we were also required to visit Sessions and High Court, where an advocate, associated with PUCL, will acquaint us with the procedures of the court. However, the experience of session courts in Jaipur was truly disappointing.

There was no standard format followed, five-six advocates argue together, not letting the judges to concentrate on a single matter, there were interruptions from everywhere. In totality, there was no decorum maintained.

During internship, they also encourage interns to file atleast one RTI. I also filed one to the Ministry of Home Affairs asking them about the ‘Number of criminals, since 1947, in India who have been sentenced to Death Penalty, and, has filed mercy petition before the President under Art.-72 of the Constitution’.

Further, I asked about the number of non-citizens who have been sentenced to Death Penalty by Indian Courts and, further, how many of them belong to Pakistan.

Also, during my internship, they hold lots of sessions with eminent personalities, who are having expertise in their fields, to teach us the varied subjects of law and their pertinence in the present scenario.

However, the day at PUCL is still not over, every intern has to submit the report, scripting the activities undertaken by him/her at a particular day.

Best Things

The best aspect regarding internship in PUCL is that you are always surrounded by your friends. Further, everyone sits together in the after-noon to have their lunch and the conversations following out from there weren’t only entertaining but also served to familiarize interns from different places better.

Also, they consider every-one equal, no unfairness on the basis of law-schools or any other criteria. They treat everyone with utmost respect and allot work equally.

Bad Things

I can’t think of any bad things, in general. But, you might get a ‘daant once in a while’, as Kavita Ma’am herself says in the confirmation mail. 🙂

Also, it might not be a concern for few but usually is for most that, PUCL does not provide for the expenses incurred on transportation during field work. So, whenever wherever one visits, he/she has to pay from his/her own pocket.

Further, the transportation is not so cheap.

Work Environment

Work environment at PUCL Jaipur is great. In PUCL, there are interns coming from various National Law Schools and the prestigious private law colleges. It helps in making a considerable number of new companions, and, which further add to one’s knowledge.

Officials are very social; they usually familiarize or orient the new interns with the existing ones and also to the working of the institution. One also gets to meet lots of intelligent scholars who have expertise in their areas. Overall, it was a great fun interning at PUCL.

What did you do to Chill? Co-Interns

Internship at PUCL is like a must for all the law students. Therefore, there’ll always be someone from your law school or from your coaching that will intern with you at PUCL. During my internship, I had almost nine to ten friends whom I knew prior to the joining the internship.

I never felt coming at new place during internship, I always had someone before me. Further, the officials at PUCL are very affable and kind. They spent most of their time with the interns, therefore, it is quite implicit to develop bond with them.

Further, the office is in heart of the city. Shopping-malls, cinema’s, restaurants are in close vicinity to the office.

Stipend

PUCL is a self-financed organisation; they don’t take any institutional funding from anywhere, and work through the contributions from their members. Hence, they provide NO stipend or travel money for any kind of field work. All expenses have to be borne by the intern.

Tip

Do an internship with the intention to learn and not for the sake of certificate. Internship with PUCL was well-beyond all my expectations.

Therefore, whenever you intern, it is essential that you stay inspired; either by your goal to learn something new or by sharing your views with your colleagues, always find inspiration that’ll help you to stay motivated during internship.

Finally, I would just say “be so good that they can’t ignore you”.

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