Name, College, Year of Study
Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA
IInd Semester (B.A., LL.B.)
Name of the organization, City
Chambers of Mr. Arjun Natarajan
Duration of the internship
7 June 2013 – 7 July 2013.
How big was the office, Team strength?
It is a residence-cum office. The office part of his residence consists of a big room where we worked and it has a lobby with bookshelves which has files and some books.
The office part of his residence has a balcony. Since sir resides alone, there is no ‘ghar waali baat’ or interference and the workplace has a professional atmosphere. The place has proper furniture and a very effective A.C.
The office is near Jangpura Metro Station and one takes nearly 5-10 minutes to reach it if he takes a rickshaw from the Metro Station.
Sir operates alone at present. So, in terms of a team, it was only the two of us working there. He made such state of affairs clear at the time of my application.
This perhaps was also one of the reasons why I chose to intern with him as I understood that such an office would provide me with maximum interaction with the lawyer who heads the office and a direct channel of instructions and feedback regarding every task that I was given.
Application procedure, Internship contact details
The application procedure here was not at all conventional, which results in a YES or NO in the first reply or in keeping the applicant in a state of limbo.
Once I had sent my application, I received a reply within 6-7 hours wherein I was given 4 tasks (short research assignments) to work on and submit, on the basis of which my internship would get confirmed.
No deadline was given but I was told that the earlier I would submit, the earlier my internship would start and accordingly I could start the internship or apply elsewhere if I am not taken in.
The most intriguing part of this process was that, the tasks framed were all on the basis of my interests and previous works mentioned in my cover letter and CV.
Thus, for example, if I had written a paper on IHL and had mentioned an interest in International Law, I was given a question on the applicability of IHL in international and non-international armed conflicts and, the other on the difference between covenants and declarations with reference to international legal instruments.
Once I had submitted my work and it was approved, sir explained me in more detail the terms of the internship, objective, nature of work, timings and answered all other queries. In total, the application procedure was completed in 3-4 days.
Another major reason why I chose this place for my internship was, the amount of interest he had taken in my application and the feedback that I was given as regards the assignments submitted by me. This further encouraged me to intern with him.
For internship, one can submit his/her application at firstname.lastname@example.org
Duration in weeks, No. of days/week, Timings
I interned with him for 4 weeks.
He works on all 7 days and also on holidays.
My internship was for 6 days a week. I could get a Saturday off or a half day, if there was no urgent work that needed to be done before Monday.
But urgent work in his office is any work. He likes a state of ‘no pendency’ at the cost of perpetually working and thus starts doing any work as soon as it comes to him.
Timings were flexible and in fact timings were not a factor at all as long as qualitative delivery was on or before time!
The internship started from 10:30-11:00 in the morning and it continued till 5:30 in the evening on an average. There were occasions when I left the office around 9 in the evening.
On days when there were matters in court(such days were few in June because of the court vacations) , I had to reach the office by 8:30 or 9:00 and work with him on that day’s cases and leave for court with him. He discourages the concept of coming to court directly without witnessing or being a part of the preparation that takes place before leaving for court to attend to matters.
First impression, First day, Formalities etc.
On the first day, I reached at around 10:45 in the morning. There was no difficulty in locating the place.
Sir opened the door himself and the first impression I got when I entered the place was as though I was witnessing the infamous slogan in Auschwitz, “Work Sets You Free”. There were lots of files cluttered on his table with various notes and bare acts lying around.
He was in the process of drafting a legal notice and he shook hands with me and assigned me a table opposite to him (which was relatively better arranged).
There were no formalities as such, since it was only the two of us and we had already spoken on the phone. He gave me a bunch of communications exchanged between the parties to a prospective litigation to peruse and analyse.
We discussed the facts of the case and all the information that could be gathered from the correspondences. The idea behind such an activity was to acquaint me with the basics of the broadcasting and cable TV industries.
Every task that I was assigned during this internship had a direct significance on sir’s current assignment, i.e., as far as possible, obsolete work was absolutely avoided such as researching on random stuff simply because an intern should not sit idle.
Plus, I was explained well with proper instructions the nature and practical importance of all the work that was assigned to me and sir focused on the fact that, prior legal knowledge is not always necessary but application of common sense and logic is always indispensible.
I primarily visited the TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellant Tribunal) and the Delhi High Court during the internship.
Drafting (of pleadings as well as general drafts such as communications, replies to communications, legal notices and replies to legal notices) as a task was not assigned to me when there was urgency in submission (as in the following day).
In such situations I was supposed to actively observe the process and give my inputs wherever possible but when there was some breathing space, I was asked to prepare a separate draft, which sir reviewed and took the necessary inputs along with giving a feedback on the preparation.
I was generally asked to research upon a particular point of law and understand its concept and then was given petitions, communications, judgments or other documents to analyse or review.
The main tasks included:
- Researched on the key aspects of cable and broadcasting industries based on TRAI Act, 1997 and The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations, 2004.
- Researched on the law relating to grant of injunctions and then perused a writ petition praying for grant of mandatory in the nature of supply of signals of TV channels.
- Analysed the Supreme Court’s judgment in Star India Pvt. Ltd. Versus Sea TV Network Ltd. & Anr., 2007 with a view to understand the propositions of law in the aforesaid writ petition. (This case is as important to the cable industry as Maneka Gandhi is to Article 21, read it!)
- Also, I got to observe the whole process of filing of a writ petition and its subsequent arguments in the Delhi High Court within a week. I assisted sir in the analysis of documents, interpretation of the Constitution and of the entire scheme of The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations, 2004, while the petition was being drafted.
- Sir also happens to be a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and I assisted him in the process of upgradation of the study materials for the subjects taught by him there. And assisted him in preparing the materials based on which he delivers the lectures.
Work environment, People
The work environment at his chambers is very healthy and full of interaction. There is no compulsion to wear formals and interns have the freedom to ask as many questions and do other related work.
The severity of the internship is always balanced as in every 3-4 hours, you can go out for a walk to the nearest tea stall and once in every two days, our lunch was scheduled at McDonald’s or some other restaurant. (I actually went to some 10 good places to eat during this one month)
Once on a Saturday (when the work was nearly complete), sir even took a printout of my CV and told me the technical errors IN HIS VIEW that were present in the format.
It was done with the perspective of making me understand the value of the right manner and method while preparing a CV and how presentation of content can affect things.
(Lawctopus take note: the CV was modeled on your template! We can perhaps explore the possibility of as to whether the templates need to be reconsidered).
Editor: but you got the internship, right? 🙂
The best part of this internship was the moment when I entered an appearance before the TDSAT for the purpose of seeking a passover. (I was praying that the judge asks me about the case as I had read the file.
However, that did not happen). Also, I believe that this internship has helped me in setting the right foundations for my future learning in terms of adherence to deadlines, eye for detail and standard of research.
The only problem I faced during this was the exhaustive travelling (30 metro stations in a day) as I live in East Delhi and the office is located in South Delhi. And the court exposure could have been better if the vacations were not going on during the initial part of the internship.
What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues
Though there were no co-interns, the atmosphere was relaxed. There was no generation gap as such and we often cracked jokes. There were often moments when after finishing our work, we were glued to YouTube watching The Viral Fever videos (The Gangs of Social Media, etc.) or making spoofs of the evergreen K.D. Pathak.
I was given a stipend of Rs. 2,000.
Another important thing
Please make sure that you have watched Gangs of Wasseypur (both parts) before applying. Sir converses half of the time in its dialect and our conversations too were full of its jargons and characters. And that my friend, is the cherry on the top of this cake!