Online Internship Experience at Volunteers Collective: Research on Environmental Laws

Name, College, Year of study of the Student Intern

Sourabh Balwani, National Law University Nagpur, III Year Student B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)

Name of the Organisation where you Interned and Its Full Address

Volunteers Collective [Online Internship]

Duration of Internship

12 Weeks, 15th June 2020 to 6th September 2020

How Did you Apply?

Got to know about the opportunity after encountering the Call for Interns post of the group on their Twitter handle. I applied for an internship under the Environmental Law Team of the organisation dedicated to working activities concerning the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, subordinate legislation in India. Applying for the opportunity is a simple and convenient process where one could address an application for internship via email at volunteers.collective[at]gmail.com, along with the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the applicant.

About the Organisation

Volunteers Collective is a Delhi-based citizen’s collective which consists of people from various professional backgrounds, including lawyers, researchers, journalists, mental health advocates. Volunteers Collective is actively working towards the goals of the betterment of the society by providing pro bono aid to the people who are financially constrained, and the group also undertakes frequent awareness drives about the laws concerning domestic violence, sexual abuse and environmental aspects.

First Day Formalities, Infrastructure, First Impression

Due to the lockdown effectuated, the entire get to know process went on through the virtual mode. Starting from the scratch, I had a telephonic interview with Prof. (Dr.) Atreyee Majumder (who helms the Environmental Law Team of the group) where I was asked to evince the reasons for my interest in the domain of environmental law and my understanding in the concerned field. On the same day, I had discussion with Advocate Tanvi Sharma, who is the founder and head of the organisation. I was later introduced to the other members involved in various ongoing projects of the organisation.

People here were of amicable disposition, extremely helpful and caring, providing an ambience to have a comforting start and it also enthused me to dedicatedly complete the various tasks I was assigned later.

Main Tasks

My primary work at the organisation encompassed the aspects concerning research about the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 which was publicised by the Central Government in March 2020. I was asked to peruse the various provisions of the proposed law, determine and gauge the drift in the new relaxations of environmental norms as well as analyse the pernicious change in the law vis-à-vis the erstwhile EIA Notification, 2006.

The other important aspects of my research pertained to decoding the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) approach and policy towards the EIA as well as studying the EIA framework of other jurisdictions including those of Canada and Australia.

Importantly, my major work concerned with:

  • Contribution in the drafting of a comprehensive response letter from Volunteers Collective group to the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) pointing the probable deleterious effects of proposed changes in the law. The letter was sent to the ministry in the month of August.
  • Research work about significant judicial pronouncements of courts in India dealing with the questions related to the process of gauging the impact of industrial projects on the environment through the framework of the EIA. I researched various judgements on aspects like the public consultation process in EIA as well as post monitoring mechanism after the grant of environment clearance.

Work environment

This was my first internship where I was actively involved in a research team led by a well-known Professor. Under the Environmental Law Team of Volunteers Collective, we were assigned tasks to work on various topics pertaining to the EIA process. We were also asked to give frequent online presentations reflecting our roadmap towards the contentious provisions of the Draft EIA Notification, 2020. This was quite an enriching experience since I was guided by the Professor wherever I lost track of things, as well as I also got to learn things of new arenas from the presentations of other interns of the group. Despite the constraints of virtual modes of communication, we had extensive discussions on various aspects of EIA law in India as well as international treaties.

On many occasions, we had Adv. Tanvi Sharma Ma’am, providing us useful insights about the nuances of the proposed law. During my internship, the organisation also hosted a webinar on the EIA law in India, where renowned panellists discussed the genesis of the law while also delineating how the EIA law has had a subdued impact in India.

Good things

The most strikingly excellent thing about working in this organisation was the conducive ambience to get to know professional conducts and propriety from members of the diverse vocational line. Although I was involved in the research work related to EIA notification, frequent discussions concerning the topics of criminal law such as bail applications as well as two cents of advice from practising advocates reflecting actual court mannerisms, were some distinctive advantages which I experienced during my internship with Volunteers Collective.

Bad things

I did not experience any bad moment throughout my entire internship.

Stipend

No stipend.

Disclaimer: Internship experiences are opinions shared by individual law students and tend to be personal and subjective in nature. The internship experiences shared on Lawctopus are NOT Lawctopus' official views on the internship.

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