Internship Experience @ Adv. Dharmender Arya, Saket Court, Delhi: Learnt the Basics of Criminal Litigation

Name, College

Gowri Reghunath, NLU Delhi

Name of Organization

Advocate Dharmender Arya, Chamber No.’s 156 & 159, Lawyers’ Block, Saket Court, New Delhi.

The best way to reach the office is via metro. After getting off at Malviya Nagar metro station, you can take a shared auto to the court.

Team Strength

Sir’s office consists of his brother- Advocate Dayanand Arya, two associates, one clerk, and one helper.

Timings

9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Application Procedure

Send an e-mail containing your CV and your preferred dates for internship to [email protected].

This email ID is managed by Sir’s brother, Advocate Dayanand Arya. Sir’s office receives a number of applications every semester, therefore it is better to apply a few months before your intended internship period.

Duration of Internship

4 weeks

First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure

All interns were required to report at 9:30 a.m. Some of us arrived a little early, so we were told to wait in Sir’s chamber. The office spans across two chambers located opposite to each other. While Dharmender Sir works in chamber no. 156, his brother and other associates work from chamber no. 159. The interns are generally supposed to sit in Dharmender Sir’s chamber, unless he is busy with clients, or there is a shortage of space.

On the first day, Sir arrived at around 9:30 a.m. and asked each intern to introduce herself/himself individually. Sir then went on to explain a bit about what the internship would be like, and what our daily routine would be. His pleasing personality instantly put all the interns at ease, and after a short conversation with him, it really didn’t seem like he was meeting us all for the first time!

Daily Routine and Tasks

  • Morning routine

We were required to report at 9:30 a.m. sharp at Sir’s office (he really appreciates punctuality so try and reach on time). Sir would usually be busy with his day’s work in the morning. After a brief interaction with the interns, he would tell us which courtroom to go to. All interns were then required to attend proceedings in that courtroom until 12:30 p.m.

  • Court Proceedings

Unlike other advocates who expect their interns to run around from one courtroom to another along with them, Sir expected us to sit in one courtroom for a couple of hours, so that we could carefully observe all the cases that were going on, and thereby get some understanding of criminal procedure ourselves.

Since Sir is a criminal lawyer, we were usually sent to one of the MM Courts, or any ASJ’s Court. But Sir also used to get a few matrimonial cases, therefore we got a couple of opportunities to visit the family court as well.

  • Classes on Criminal Procedure (Best Part!)

By 12:30 p.m. all the interns were supposed to return to Sir’s chamber. He would encourage us to ask doubts relating to anything that we may have observed in court that day. Thereafter, he would take a class on one particular topic relating to criminal procedure. This was undoubtedly the best part about the internship.

Unlike the theoretical and jargon-filled manner in which CrPC is taught in law schools, Sir explained every concept in the simplest possible manner, along with practical issues that one could face, real-life examples from cases that he has dealt with, etc. in order to enrich our understanding of the subject. He covered one or two topics every day, and was able to teach us most of the important parts of CrPC and the Evidence Act.

Sir would usually conclude the class with a motivational message for all the interns. He knew a lot of inspirational stories and he would share one or two of such stories every day to motivate all his interns.

  • Break

This session would be followed by a lunch break, usually from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. All the interns would go to the canteen located on the ground floor to have lunch. (Students coming from P.G.’s/hostels can purchase food from the canteen at affordable prices.)

  • Reading files of decided cases

By 2:00 p.m. all of us would re-assemble in Sir’s office where we were handed out files of decided cases. Each intern was supposed to go through one file. Sir told us that he expected us to focus on the charge-sheet to understand the investigation process (and not just read the final judgement).

He also explained the components of a charge-sheet, and how to read it like a defence lawyer. In the first week, he told us about other documents that we may come across in the file, and their relevance. Sir also encouraged us to discuss the cases that we had read, with him to check our understanding of the same.

As a matter of general practice, interns were not given files of pending cases to read, as the associates were usually working on them. But Sir was always open to our queries relating to such cases, and he would give us the background facts and issues relating to these cases as well.

All interns could leave the office by 5:00 p.m. after returning their files.

  • Alternate afternoon routine

On some days, Sir’s matters would be listed for cross-examination at 2:00 pm. We were expected to attend this process in court. Sir would later discuss with us the questions that were put to the witnesses and their relevance in arriving at the final outcome.

  • Friday Routine

On Fridays, Sir works as a mediator at the Saket Court Mediation Centre. On the first Friday of the month, he took all of us along with him to show us the mediation centre, explain the process of mediation, and to also tell us a bit about how he- as a mediator deals with cases that come before him. But we were not allowed to sit through mediations as they are supposed to be private and confidential proceedings.

Even in Sir’s absence, we interns were required to attend court proceedings in the morning, and work on our files in the afternoon. Sir did not take a class on Fridays.

Work environment and people

Sir’s constant motivational stories and messages for the interns ensured that there was always a positive work environment in the office. He paid individual attention to each and every intern. He would praise each one of us for our strengths, and also point out our weaknesses and guide us on how to overcome the same.

Unlike other internships, where interns are required to ‘work for their employer’, Sir wanted us to ‘work on ourselves’ and expand our understanding of law (and life!). These qualities really set apart this internship from all the others that I have done, or heard of.

The limited interaction that I had with Sir’s brother, other associates, and staff, was also very good.

Extra Information:

This is slightly unrelated but might be of interest to all students reading this post. There is a law book seller who sits on the same floor where Sir’s office is located (1st floor, Lawyers’ Block). He offers unbelievably high discounts on bare acts and textbooks, so if you are planning to buy books for your next semester do take a look at this shop!

 

 

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