Name of the Student, College, Year of Study
Name of the Organisation
Advocate Dr. Ajoy Narayan Sinha
Duration of Internship
16th of February, 2021 to 16th of March, 2021
Weekly Report of Legal Internship
I pursued my physical legal internship in the Court of Munsif, Sub Judge and District Judge, Muzaffarpur (Bihar) under Advocate Dr. Ajoy Narayan Sinha (who is a very well-known Civil lawyer in the District Court of Muzaffarpur) for a period of one month from 16th of February, 2021 to 16th of March, 2021.
The timings were the regular Court timings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., after which I used to go to the office till 7 pm to research further and study cases.
Week – 1
On the first day of the internship, I attended a briefing session call from 10 am to 12noon. The purpose of the session was basically to break the ice between all the interns and the junior advocates. In the session, we were also introduced to our coordinator for this internship who was Advocate Tarun Kumar Singh i.e. a civil lawyer practicing under the guidance of Advocate Dr. Ajoy Narayan Sinha.
Then all the interns accompanied sir to what became our first day in the premises of the Muzaffarpur District Court. My first impression of the district court of Muzaffarpur was honestly of horror as I found myself stuck in utter chaos. This was so because the court building is old (absolutely unhygienic even in times of Pandemic) and the streets go through some parts of the Court making it seem nothing less than a fish market. It was a little hard at first, but then I got used to it and started learning a lot more than I had expected.
In the court, I attended multiple hearings in cases like Partition Suit, Divorce Cases, Cases for restitution of conjugal rights etc. While attending the cases we were instructed to write the case number and the order given by the sub-judge or magistrate or Additional District Judge. Occasionally, sir used to ask legal questions pertaining to what we observed in the court.
Additionally, at the end of each day, each intern was supposed to report the cases on the WhatsApp group in order to keep everyone informed about the next date given or the relevant orders.
Week – 2
In week 2 of my internship, I specifically became responsible for a few cases as in I was expected to keep in touch with the clients about the developments taking place and keep sir informed about the next date.
The slightly difficult part of this task was that all the documents related to the cases were drafted in primitive Hindi mixed with Bhojpuri and it was extremely difficult for me to comprehend the difficult words and understand the essence of the document as I was not well versed with Bhojpuri (since I have stayed in Hostel in Jaipur since childhood). Additionally, some of the land papers brought by clients were extremely old and were on the verge of tearing. Such documents were also written in Devnagiri Script, about which I was completely clueless.
However, my difficulty was solved by approaching my seniors who were residing in Muzaffarpur (so were familiar with Bhojpuri) and were also practising as sir’s juniors for quite some time, so they were used to understating the vaguely written at times faded words in the documents that were very old.
Additionally, while interacting with the client who were aged, I encountered a communication gap. It is not that I don’t know Hindi, I know it pretty well but the only problem is that we are not used to conversing in proper Hindi and it becomes hard to understand the important terms, as compared to English.
Additionally, there are certain legal terms whose Hindi I don’t know as we have been taught them in English only, so initially, I was even unable to understand the documents they were talking about. But gradually I bridged this gap by observing my seniors interact with the client and making a note of important Hindi or Bhojpuri words.
Additionally, by now I was even exposed to and began clearly understanding the working of the District Court in Muzaffarpur, Bihar and the procedures involved in carrying out the day-to-day proceedings in the court. By this time I also memorised the locations of different courtrooms in the extremely cast court.
Week – 3
After having attended the court proceedings and gaining knowledge about the intricacies involved in a Trial before the Family Court and Civil Court, in the third week, my work became more specialised in researching cases and applicable laws.
Accordingly, during this week I gained and got an opportunity to expand my knowledge base. I studied various sections and rules under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and Indian Contracts Act, 1872 that I was largely aware of due to the college syllabus. Accordingly, during the course of the internship, I learnt about the practical application of various sections of these already taught statutes. Such as – CPC Cross-Examination, My Lawyer.
Week – 4
Finally arrived in the fourth week of this internship. In the fourth week of my internship, I could actually make sense of all my observations throughout the internship.
This is to say that I understood the way the different advocates deal with cases and the response of different judges in terms of different situations arising in the Court.
This internship definitely helped me to study the different aspects of law at the root level and the practicality of such aspects in the Court of law. Additionally, it taught me different ways of responding to and tackling different sorts of judges’ questions.
One particular instance that I would like to quote in this regard is that in a particular case the opposition lawyer was trying to impress the judge by his command on English (a language that is seldom used in Muzaffarpur District Court as most of the people including judges are not well versed with English), however my senior countered all his arguments in Hindi and at times Bhojpuri language. The result surprisingly came in favour of my senior.
Out of curiosity, I asked my senior to why did he not respond to the opponent’s arguments in English, even though he knew the language. To which my senior replied that being a good lawyer is about being able to convince the judge and not about flaunting high sounding English words. He further elaborated by telling me that he deliberately spoke in Hindi coupled with Bhojpuri as when the opponent was making his points, he could sense that the judge was not very comfortable with English. Additionally, he had been practising in the District Court for 25 years now and knew that English was not in the culture of Muzaffarpur District Court.
Lessons Learnt, Anything Else, Etc.
On a concluding note, I can confidently say that my one-month internship at the district court of Muzaffarpur proved to be immensely productive. I deliberately wanted to intern at the district court of my own state as I am not familiar with the local languages of the district court of other states. Additionally, I believe that it is important to intern at the bottom level to gain knowledge about the basics involved in the working of the judiciary. Once your basics are strong, it becomes easier to understand the higher levels of the judiciary and the administration.
Additionally, the people I was working with were extremely friendly since they helped me a lot to understand how the Court works and where to go and what to do, particularly because I was so lost during the first two days and most of all they helped me understand Bhojpuri better.
This internship also strengthened my research skills as I was allotted mostly research-oriented work in the 3rd week of my internship. Further, this internship really proved to be helpful in honing my writing skills as I also helped sir prepare some written statements.
I am really thankful for the fact that I got such a wonderful opportunity to intern and focus on my productivity even in such stressful times.
None but several clients used to pay me a token amount of money for doing their clerical work.
However, on a concluding note, I would like to talk about a few drawbacks that I believe needs improvement. Firstly, I believe that the District Court of Muzaffarpur is not a very ‘suitable’ place for female internships unless you are lucky enough to work under a renowned and respected lawyer. I was lucky that way and I got to learn a lot about the procedures of the District Court. I say so because among the entire crowd there were only a few female lawyers. Additionally, in my full team, I was the only female intern all others were male interns.
Due to this, I had to go to the office immediately after court hours while all the other interns (males) used to go home to relax and come to the office at 6. The reason why I was supposed to go to the office at 4 was that since I was the only female both my parents and the senior lawyer advised me to return home by 7 pm max for safety reason while all the others would work in the office from 6 to 10 pm.
Apart from this, one of my major concerns was the lack of availability of hygienic surroundings and restrooms specifically in the court due to which I almost always had to go to a restaurant nearby to use the restroom.
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