Avishikta Chattopadhyay, a first-year student of the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala shares her internship experience in Legal Aid Services West Bengal (LASWEB) under Justice D.K Basu, Former Judge, Calcutta High Court, Former Secretary-General, Association of Retired Justices of Supreme Court and High Courts of India.
30, Karnani Estate, 1st Floor, 209, A.J.C Bose Road, Kolkata-700017.
Duration of internship
The internship was for the period of a month from 1st January 2019 – 31st January 2019.
The process of application was simple. I sent across my CV and Cover letter to (firstname.lastname@example.org). His team responded to my email within 2 months. I was asked to report on the 1st of January to the given address and bring all the relevant documents and my laptop.
Travel/ Communication/ Accommodation
I lived in Garia and travelled by metro from my place to the office. One has to travel to Rabindra Sadan and take a taxi to Karnani Estate which is opposite the bus stop: Kalamandir.
Tenure and Working Hours
10:30 to 5:30 for 6 days a week from Monday to Saturday.
First day formalities and impression
I visited the Honorable Justice a day before the actual internship commenced i.e. on the 31st of December, 2018. Karnani Estate is an old dilapidated building. It has several commercial hubs on the first floor among which the office is located. The chamber is stocked with piles of old legal books, which gave it a feeling of a library. Bibliophiles would instantly be attracted towards the setting of the office. I introduced myself and was asked to wait. Through the slender curtain, I could see the old figure of the Justice talking patiently to a client. I was called inside to his inner chamber. The office consisted of 3 chambers. A waiting room for the clients, a researching room for his team and his inner chamber, where he was seated. He asked me to introduce myself. “Why law?” is the question that followed. He then went on to brief me about the work done by LASWEB. He specified the tasks that I would be expected to do in the days to come. He greeted me in the end and said that he looked forward to working with me. Over and above, his presence made me comfortable throughout my internship period. He was always eager to impart the knowledge, which he has acquired through his experience. He gave special attention to his interns. He is thus a formidable part of this internship and one of the main reasons why one should choose LASWEB as a place of internship.
Projects / Tasks undertaken:
First and Second Week
All the interns were given a list of bare acts on the very first day of the internship. We were required to read through the bare acts, find case laws and make presentations on them at the end of each day. The greater the number of presentations, the better. I successfully completed reading through Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1986, The Legal Services Authorities Act, the Right to Information Act, The Negotiable Instruments Act and provisions related to the Prevention of Child marriage act coupled with the Hindu marriage and Special marriage act.
In the third week, we were taken for a visit to the High Court. The advocate in charge showed us around the High court complex. We were audience to the proceedings of the plethora of matters argued in various courts. We visited the City Civil court and the ADR Center. We submitted a report of the things learned during the visit. Case files were allotted for us to read. We were taught how to draft pleadings and plaints.
We were allowed to interact with the clients, hear their problems. The official papers of the new clients were given to us to make the timeline of their activities. The internship wrapped up with Justice D.K Basu giving us his best wishes for our future ventures.
The most comprehensive learning experience I have ever had. The internship was well structured. The advocates and office staff was well behaved. The best part of the internship was the guidance we received from the Justice D.K Basu.
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