Raviena Bedi. Army Institute of Law, Mohali. Third Year.
Name of the organization. City
Sr.Advocate Subhash Gupta’s Office, District Court, Hisar
Duration of the internship
1st July to 31st July. Four Weeks.
How big was the office? Team strength?
The office was decently sized, filled with wood furniture and books. Since Mr. Gupta’s son was also practicing in the same court, he also had an office in the other room.
Separate sitting area was maintained for clients and junior advocates. Apart from me there was one more intern, seven other junior advocates, one clerk, one typist etc.
Application procedure. Internship contact details
I found the internship through a personal contact.
Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings
Exactly 4 weeks ; Second Saturday of the month was off, rest all Saturdays were working. I had to reach court by 9 sharp and had discretion to leave by 11 am or 12 pm. I also went in the evenings from 6-7 pm for case study and drafting.
Accommodation: how, where, how was it?
I stayed with family in the Cantonment. The other intern was from Hisar itself.
First impression. First day, formalities etc.
On the first day of the internship, I entered a court for the first time in my life (unbelievable but yes it was true).
As I was about to enter, Mr. Gupta saw that I came fully prepared with my black coat, handbag containing my notebook, water bottle and other usual stuff as I did not wanted to miss out on anything.
Then the next thing Sir did was to ask me to leave everything in his cupboard and carry only one notebook and pen with me.
As I proceeded to the courtrooms, Mr. Gupta explained me that each courtroom deals with specific law like there was a family court, juvenile justice court and courtrooms dealing with cases under Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act (Cheque bounce) and crime against women.
There were 15 courtrooms in all and they were present in such a pattern that one ends up in coming back to the first courtroom. Mr. Gupta dealt only with civil suits and matrimonial cases.
On the very next day, a High Court Judge was coming, therefore preparations were been made in his honour and as a result there were hardly any hearing on that day and I was free by 10 am.
A female junior advocate took me on a tour of the court which included one library, common room for ladies, canteen and a huge hall full of notaries. I was introduced to other Junior advocates and was briefed on the cases going on in the court rooms.
Main tasks (in detail)
The first two weeks I was doing mundane tasks like reading case files thoroughly and making comprehensive paragraphs on the cases I witnessed and read.
Mr. Gupta was one of the best advocates in the court with amazing drafting skills and therefore every evening I use to go to his office to learn the same.
That along with research, going to court daily and watching the proceedings, making notes etc. formed the majority of my work. I also got the opportunity to sit in cross examination sessions and gained some insight regarding the way it is conducted etc.
Work environment, people
The work environment was decent. There is a huge degree of flexibility in the working hours and work given as well. This can be a pro as well as well as a con since nobody cares whether you have work or not and how much effort you’re putting in.
I was allowed to leave court any time and had discretion to come in the evening also. But since the knowledge and interest in the cases was never ending, I chose to avail each part of it.
Though Mr. Gupta had told me not to ask any questions from him during internship and only observe him, he himself used to call us and brief us on the case and mannerism to be adopted in the court.
Co-intern and junior advocates were very helpful in clearing doubts as I was the junior most in the lot.
Best things? (Nothing is all bad)
The best thing of this internship was my visit to Women Aid Cell on the last day where poor and helpless women got free legal advice from police and advocates appointed by government.
Each story was more shaking and mind boggling than the other. It demonstrated plight of poor Indian women who were victim of some kind of violence but were afraid to report the same.
Apart from serious business, there were fun times as well, quite hilarious actually. This was one ritual which had to be adhered to like a routine.
Mr. Gupta used to walk in front and behind him there were 7 junior advocates and I was behind them with my fellow intern who joined me in the third week.
The moment still gives me a spine chilling feeling when we all had to enter Chief Judicial Magistrate’s office at one time which was less than 10 foot big. Also the judges were so used to see us that they started joking with Mr. Gupta if he has started some kind of coaching or school for junior advocates.
One day, since my fellow intern did not turn up in uniform, to our surprise, she was mistaken for an accused by one of the judges. Then one day we were sitting in an advocates’ chamber, she offered us tea, ladoos and patties as a special treat to the interns.
Bad things? (Nothing is all good)
During the initial days, I was bit lost as I was a new face in the court and I was asked if I was a fresher. Then I all used to do was to follow Mr. Gupta everywhere and during lunch time sit in library with one day old newspapers.
The fact that the cases were real in nature apart from what we get as moot problems, made me a bit sad seeing the reality at ground level.
Firstly, knowing the fact that each case is taking minimum two to three yearsfor its first hearing.
Secondly, even though one can make out that one party is guilty but the law doesn’t support the victim and hence justice is way too far to be delivered.
No stipend. Some things in life are invaluable
Making law your sole weapon.
From this internship, I have come to a conclusion that the laws made in this country are more in favour of the guilty than of those who suffer.