Your Name, College, Year of Study, Email ID
Ajay Menon, VIT School of Law, VIT University
Name of Organisation, Location city, Team Strength
Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Dongri, Mumbai, 1
Application Process with contact details
Contact the Legal Aid Office, preferable after making a site visit and interacting with the advocates in person.
I got this internship through a personal contact and ma’am was gracious enough to accept. She was delighted at my interest and directed me to send more of my friends with a similar passion.
Duration of internship and timings
14th – 28th June, 2016.
First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure
The work space is minimal and essentials are only provided. It is a government sponsored free legal aid clinic and hence we cannot expect more. The first day was great, ma’am was sweet and patient enough to introduce me to each element of the JJB and answer and clear every one of my questions and doubts. The courts and rooms are clean.
After teaching me about the intricacies of the JJB, ma’am told me about the JJ Act, 2000 and how it was updated after the Nirbhaya case. She introduced me to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the TISS RCJJ (Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ Research Cell for Juvenile Justice), Prayas (On Site NGO).
After interacting with the social workers and committee members, i sat in on court proceedings and client meetings with Ma’am. I had the opportunity to experience first hand the issues and cases that are common to the JJB.
My work included taking copious notes of all the details provided by the clients and cross checking it with the statements made by them in following meetings. Ma’am taught me the filing of bail applications, surety applications and good behaviour bonds. She taught me how to interact with the clients and how to tell the law without confusing or scaring them and the options that they had.
I also had the chance to accompany the social workers from TISS to social investigations to childrens’ homes and file Social Investigation Reports before the Judges.
My tasks also included maintaining contact and collecting and submitting documents to the court staff, the Public Prosecutor and others.
I also sat at the Legal Aid desk and cleared basic queries of the people who approached me.
Work environment and people
The people of every element of the JJB were extremely helpful. My enthusiasm and excitement prompted them also to share more information about proceedings and the tiny and minute details about cases, case proceedings and the clients, especially the court staff. I had the privilege of being told many of the processes of court and the acquisition of documents for case hearings.
The helpfulness and willingness of Ma’am and the social workers. They ensured that i was comfortable at office and made me feel like i was a part of the team. Every detail was shared and although i was extremely inexperienced and a junior to everyone present there, they were kind enough to let me in on everything – be it a case detail, a legal topic of discussion or even a joke.
Genuinely speaking, this was among the best internship experiences that i have had. I learnt a great deal in a very short span of time. The slow court proceedings and the lack of interest of court staff was extremely difficult to adjust to. A few members of the court were not punctual and it was difficult since paperwork was stalled and hence, case hearing got postponed.
It was sad to notice that the most properly maintained place on the campus was the temple and not the residential homes of the children. The attention and importance to things was skewed in my personal opinion.
None. I worked solely for the experience!
Be humble, and open to others thoughts and ideas. Especially if you are inexperienced and unaware of things like me, listen. Listen carefully and absorb each and every detail. Everyone has something to teach you if you listen. Be it the judge, the advocate, the constable or the client. Everyone’s opinion and words are valuable. Listen.
Any Other Thing
I hope that many people intern and learn and in the process help advocates at the JJB. There is a shortage of good dedicated persons. Learn and give back to society, give your time at least a few hours a week to help the less fortunate.
I stayed at home in Mumbai. There are quite a few PG’s available and the place is easily accessible through public transport – buses, trains, autos and cabs.
The timings were relaxed. I was simultaneously dong two internships due to short span of holidays and ma’am was gracious enough to let me be flexible with timings. I worked from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. five days a week. The court opened at 11 and was open till 5/530 p.m. The lunch break was for an hour/ hour and a half roughly.