The application process was simple. Anyone interested in the internship was only to write a letter and apply for the internship stating the reasons why he/she wanted to intern with the SLSA. This application letter was to be submitted to the SLSA.
Timings were from 9 am in the morning to 2 pm in the afternoon at the SLSA office in sector 9 Chandigarh.
First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure
My first impression of the SLSA and the look adalat was that its one of the most simple and easy platforms to resolve conflicts.
As far as the internship is concerned, my first impression was that its easy and I’m comfortable doing this.
One of the most interesting internships that I participated in was with the State Legal Service Authority in Chandigarh. As part of this internship I worked with a sessions judge as a paralegal volunteer.
The job was easy and interesting. At the time I had finished my first year and was yet to start with the second year of a five year law course and so easy and interesting was exactly what I needed.
The day’s job included attending the lok adalat daily where people would bring in their problems for mediation before the honourable judge, who was acting as the mediator.
Many times I was called upon to help mediate and talk to the parties and explain to them the position of the law. Case included complicated domestic disputes, matrimonial disputes, bank policy fraud, child custody cases(matrimonial) and employer employee disputes.
In one case I remember the employee had fired his employee and the case was before the lok adalat for a decision. The ex-employee had agreed not file any suit for a simple compensatory fee of Rs. 1500 and the employer argued that the actions of his ex-employee had caused him losses and he wouldn’t pay more than Rs. 1000.
I watched over the proceedings and with the permission of the chair interjected and asked the employer to consider that he he got himself “peace of mind of Rs. 1500, instead of a law suit for Rs. 1000 where he will have to pay much more” he instantly took the deal.
Another case was one wherein a husband and wife had fought with each other and decided to live separately. The matter dealt with a complicated husband-wife relationship and how it affected their children. To make matters even more complicated the wife’s father kept interrupting and interfering. Finally the wife withdrew the case for the forum.
As part of the internship I also spoke before police officers at the police training seminar on juvenile delinquency and visited and interacted with children at a juvenile remand home. Children who were unaware of their actions, not knowing what they are doing is contrary to the law, for example a child of 16 ran away from his home with a girl of 15.
They went to Delhi and lived there as a couple. They were found and arrested by the police, which is a violation in itself and the boy ended up in the remand house.
As part of the internship I was also required to research on the topics that were assigned to me by the honourable judge. These includes drug trafficking and laws dealing with it, human trafficking and the laws dealing with it inter Alia.
It is also one of the tasks of the SLSA to inform and educate the people about the legal and social issues that surround us and thus as part of the internship I participated in an awareness campaign about environmental protection and also did a door to door legal survey of a locality for their legal problems and issue and invited them to bring them forward in the lok adalat.
The overall experience was a good one because as a 1st year student one doesn’t know much about the law and at the lok adalat, no big criminal or procedural issues are touched and not much legal knowledge is required to enjoy the internship.
I would recommend an internship with the SLSA for 1st year students but not later than the 2nd year. After the second year more serious and more specific internships should be opted for.
For example if you want to be a criminal lawyer go in for an internship at the district court to learn and understand the procedure and stages of trial. Follow it up with an internship at the high court to understand the procedure of appeals.
Work environment and people
The work environment was very good and the people were friendly and supportive. The honorable judge dedicated personal attention to the interns briefing them before the start of the lok adalat about the cases of the day and explaining the point of law involved in each case at the end of the day.
The best part about this internship was that it provided a broad set of laws. Moreover it provided real life cases to deal with and observe up close.
It was an easy yet interesting internship.
There is no hard core law involved this internship. The lok adalat is a form of ADR very similar to mediation.
It provides little legal knowledge about very many spheres such as juvenile delinquency, matrimonial cases, employment matters etc. Only the surface of these issues is scratched and the depth of these cases is not explored
The one big lesson that I learnt during this internship was that no matter how big the dispute is, there can always be resolution if the parties are willing to come together and put their differences aside.
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