Ayushi Singhal, II Year, NUJS
Name of the organisation. Office Address. City.
(“PUCL”), 76, Shanti Niketan Colony, Kisan Marg, Jaipur -302015.
Alternative working place: Vinoba Gyan Mandir, B-190, University Marg, Bapu Nagar, Jaipur-302015.
About the organization
PUCL is an NGO, which was found by Jaya Prakash Narayan in 1976. Its website can be accessed here, http://www.pucl.org. Yes, it is the very organization of which any avid legal reader would have read of as a party to a lot of public interest petitions. It filed the famous Food security PIL.
Application procedure? Internship Contact Details
You should apply to PUCL at least three months in advance since there are limited seats for students. Some of my friends did not make through because of delay in their applications.
To apply, you need to mail your application along with your CV at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com (preferably to both). Please do not mention the exact dates unless you are sure, since Kavita ma’am (the General Secretary of PUCL) is strict about dates. Do not correspond through phone, unless extremely urgent.
If selected, you will get a reply within 2-3 weeks which will warn you to accept the selection only if you can work hard and if you will not refuse going out of station.
Duration in weeks. Days of work per week. Timings.
I interned for 3 weeks (19th May- 7th June). Ordinarily it is 6 days a week, but you should not be surprised if you are called on a Sunday for a rally or dharna (agitation). Timings range from anytime between 9 to 9 (am to pm of course), which sometimes get extended.
Although 3 weeks of internship is allowed and you would get a certificate (I was warned that I will get it with a red mark since I interned for 3 weeks only!), I would advice to intern at least for 4 weeks to gain the best experience. It is not only to avoid the red mark in the certificate, but also because the activities are designed to fit this term.
How was the office? Team strength.
The office is small, although the alternative office which is used for workshops is quite spacious. The team involves Ms. Kavita Shrivastava, Mr. Prem Krishan Sharma (President) and Mr. Bhanwar Lal Kumawat (In charge PUCL, Rajasthan Secretariat) along with other people who help at the PUCL office. Although I found the sobriquets given to the latter really amazing, yet jokes apart, they all are really helpful.
First impression, first day, formalities
The first day, you have to fill up the register kept at the office and complete some other formalities to mark the beginning date of your internship. You should make sure you contact someone beforehand to know what is the agenda for the day at PUCL, which you can access easily from the PUCL interns FB page (yes, there is an FB page for PUCL Jaipur Interns, the link for which will be sent to you as part of the instructions when you accept your selection for internship).
You will be required to work from Day 1 itself, which will be detailed by the student coordinator.
You should make sure you do not get late as you are being reported for the same.
If you are a person who likes field work, you will love interning at PUCL. One of the main works involves checking the implementation of various Acts issued by the Central or State Government. My team (of which later) analyzed the working of the RTI Act in various government departments of Rajasthan and the State Information Commission’s Decisions on the same.
We also surveyed the condition of the night shelters (rein basera) in Jaipur. By the end of the internship, you will be deft in legal report writing as a result of the numerous reports you will have to draft.
Every analysis for us was preceded by a talk or seminar on the legislation to be analyzed making us acquainted with the loopholes in the legislation and the process of its implementation. The analysis was followed by a presentation of the analysis to the authority or people that can play a role in improving the situation.
For instance, the analysis of the RTI Act and decisions was presented in a Public Hearing in front of activists including Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey; the survey of the Women Police Desks was presented in front of Jaipur Police Commissioner; etc.
Another part of interning here involved participation in workshops and talks on pertinent socio-legal topics by eminent people and organizations working in the field in question, which was followed by a rich discussion on the topic.
We also provided legal aid in public welfare camps and organized agitations to spread awareness and show solidarity against issues like the Badayun Rape case.
This work was interspersed with evening discussions on politics, law and India at Kavita madam’s residence involving knowledgeable arguments from each side, which made working here all the more fun and awarding.
Work environment, people
The work environment is really amazing and educational which can be made out from the work which interning at PUCL involves. Your co-interns give you an impression of a mini India, with people coming from all across the country (some of which because of Lawctopus. Kudos to you!).
You have to work in teams generally (sometimes working ceaselessly, preparing slogans and banners for the agitation next day), which might lead to lifelong friendships and gives a scope for building team work skills and accommodating differences.
As mentioned earlier, you will get to meet some exceptional names in the social field and get to expand your network and learn from their experience.
The best things
Apart from the value of the internship here;
Firstly, the enriching experience of working with some brilliant minds.
Secondly, the chance of getting interviewed every other day by one or the other news channel because of the various seminars, press conferences and other activities organized.
Thirdly, the sense of accomplishment and the happiness which one receives when people thank you for helping them and for your contribution.
Fourthly, getting to know closely about the not so rosy picture of the Indian legal system and getting a chance to help improve the same.
The bad things
Nothing really, except that I haven’t yet received my certificate, with or without the red mark. 😛 (However I have been informed that it will be issued soon).
Since I belong to Jaipur, I did not have to search for one; however there are numerous PGs available near the office at reasonable rates (ranging between 3-4k for sharing the room and 6k for a single room) since a lot of out station students come for the internship every year. The second office is not so far from the first one and so commuting to and fro the same will not be a problem.
It is better to know someone in Jaipur who could lend you his/her vehicle since the internship involves a lot of travelling work (for surveying). Otherwise, Jaipur has a wide network of bus routes which should make your travel easier. You should also install Google maps (if you already do not have one).
What did you do to chill in and around the office?
You can take a detour around the beautiful Pink City along with your team, if you finish your field work before the time allotted. This will not cost you much because of the uniqueness of Jaipur City’s structure that you can never get lost since all the main roads connect to each other.
Otherwise, there are a lot of restaurants and coffee houses near both the offices, where you can go to chill after the day (in case it ends early). If you happen to be not a Jaipurite (or even if you are), do not forget to visit the Sodhani’s restaurant nearby (famous for pyaz ki Kachori).
I received the best lesson from the internship from Kavita ma’am. Although she is a person with extreme views on certain issues, yet she has a standing matched by few in the socio-legal field. It so happened that I wasn’t allowed by my family to attend the first night shelter because of the late night timings of the survey (although I was adamant enough to go for the second one).
It was then that what she said sounded very important and significant to me, “Remember you are a human, then a lawyer and at the end a girl. Your gender matters little if you want to make a difference in this field”. How true!
Some insight advice
You should join only if you can show professionalism and can be punctual and committed. You will have to work hard, since it is only what you work that is added in the certificate, which has no set format. Also do not miss the opportunity of being the coordinator if asked (it entails extra perks of conducting a one to one contact with the guests while escorting them and planning the activities and workshops everyday).