Intern name: Nitish Saxena
College: UILS, Punjab University
Year when interned: First year (at the end of)
Duration of the internship: 6 weeks
Procedure adopted for applying: Application over email
Type of internship: Government Organisation, State Commission
Number of days per week: First 10 days daily at the beginning, and then as and when you are called
Office timings: 9 am – 4 pm
Whether the firm was strict about timings and number of working days in a week: Yes
Rating on 10: 8
Experience: Interning at the State Human Rights Commission is perhaps the best thing to do in your first year. It is not too taxing and lets you experience the kind and manner of cases being dealt by the Commission and their way of functioning. Also, such a Commission has been statutorily set up in every state so you do not even need to move out of your hometown.
Logistics: The Punjab State Human Rights Commission is situated in Sector 34, Chandigarh and being a resident of Chandigarh, I used to travel daily to the office (5 km drive approx). For outsiders, PGs are easily available at nominal rates near Sector 34 from where the Commission is at walking distance.
Food: The Commission is adjacent to Dominos Pizza. Need I say more? For the gluttons, Sector 35 (across the road) has a plethora of eating joints (McDonalds, KFC, CCD, Barista etc.)
Fellow interns: Usually there would be around 6-7 interns working with you at the office (if it is a summer internship). Since each intern gets individual tasks/research work, you do not need to worry about irritating co-workers! 😉
Nature of work: For the first 10 days or so, you would be required to come on all five days of the week and know the basics. This includes getting familiar with the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, getting to know the functioning of the State Human Rights Commission, learning the procedure employed to deal with cases, reading case files (in English as well as regional languages), categorizing those files/cases into their respective heads, etc.
For the remaining part of your internship, you would be assigned a research project (on the topic of your choice) which you would have to finish within the stipulated time and then submit your report with findings and recommendations. This project might involve field work as well so be ready to do some interesting work.
At the end, you would be required to showcase your project in the form of a power-point presentation, following which you would be asked questions by your project head/mentor.
1. Flexibility of the nature of work – human rights is a wide domain so one can research or work on cases of any nature that interests him – I worked on cases relating to Child Rights and Custodial Violence.
2. Great guidance – the project heads/mentors are very cooperative and make you feel at ease – my project head was Mr. Rohit Chatrath.
3. Flexibility of timings – 6 hours isn’t too long for a willing intern. If, on a good day, work is less, you might be let off early.
4. Easy schedules – the only hectic days are the first 10 days of the internship. Once you’ve been assigned the project, you need not come daily. Just submit the report when your project head asks you to.
5. There is kitchen staff who serves tea and coffee to interns as and when they wish.
1. Don’t look for any hardcore legal work. Working at a Commission is more like a blend of NGO + sarkari daftar (govt. office) work.
2. Clerical jobs abound – you may have to write/recite case summaries and make briefs.
3. Sometimes project heads act like school teachers – beware of the ruler!
4. No court visits, no meetings with judges.
5. Reading 10-15 case files a day, that too, in regional languages (hardly 3-4 are in English) is a bit too cumbersome at times.
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