Name. College. Year of Study
Nupur Walia, University Institute of Legal Studies (U.I.L.S) (IV Year)
Name of the organization. City
Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), Chandigarh.
I did the summer internship and there were about 20-25 fellow interns. The office is big enough and our batch was supervised by a team of two people.
Application procedure. Internship contact details
The application procedure is simple and easy and you get a reply within a day or two.
Send in your details at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can even apply by walking in with your CV, ID card and a ‘No Objection Certificate’ by your institute. I applied over the email, though.
FYI: The Address is SCO No. 20-21-22, Sector 34-A, Chandigarh.
Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings
It is mandatory that we go to their office for the first two weeks (sometimes, three) thereafter which, interns have to select a project topic to work on and is to be submitted by the end of last week of internship period.
Weekends are off. Normally, timings were from 9:30 am – 4:00 p.m., but they were subject to change as per the quantum of work.
P.G’s are available in sector 34 and 35, near to the commission.
First impression. First day, formalities etc.
My first impression of the commission was good. Our batch was administered by Mr. Rohit Chatrath, the system manager of the PSHRC and he was always easily approachable. The PSHRC building is big enough.
Their ‘air-conditioned’ training cum conference room was on the third floor and could accommodate 35-40 people.
Our summer batch had around 25 interns. The training staff comprised of three members. The interns and the staff were very nice and interactive. My co-interns included students from UPES Dehradun; Amity Law School, Noida; SLS Pune.
The first day was smooth and enjoyable! In pre-lunch session, a copy of bare act of Protection of Human Rights, 1931 was handed over to us and then we were tested on the basis of our reading and understanding of the act.
In post-lunch session, we were familiarized with the working of the Commission, how complaints are taken cognizance of and how to scrutinize them into their respective heads. (NOTE: These were all dummy papers on Day 1.)
Interns were not given any work in particular. The very idea of this internship is to make the interns aware of Human Rights and issues connected therewith.
The entire internship programme at the human rights commission was divided into two stages that were spread over a span of four weeks. On the very first day we were handed over the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
We were then tested on our knowledge of the act. To make us understand as to what type of matter can be accepted by the commission, we were given previously decided cases as samples.
The First stage of our internship was to segregate the complaints received by the commission into cognizable and non-cognizable complaints and then fill relevant forms for them. Complaints were in Hindi, English but mostly, Punjabi.
Since I didn’t know Punjabi, I was at a disadavantage. However, with help of my co-interns and Mr. Rohit, it was all manageable.
In the Second stage we did case reading on which the member judges of the commission had given their judgments. The cases included custodial death cases, police inaction etc.
This task was always done in a group of 3-4 interns. After thorough reading of cases, we had to give a briefing to other teams and Mr. Rohit would ask us questions. (Oh, we were grilled!) Also, we were required to read newspapers and spot the cases where the commission can give suo motto cognizance.
The Third and the last stage was to research and submit a project report on a topic related to violation of human rights. We were free to choose the topic. I did my research on Honor Killings. You can work on a project individually or in a team.
Work environment, people
Liberal, smooth and easy.
We were divided into groups of 3-4 people each and then we had to complete the tasks mentioned above.
The common notion about the work environment of any Human Rights Commission is that it’s very liberal in structure, therefore, it is less work and more fun. I say, you get what you seek. I found my internship experience to be quite enriching.
Not only I had a chance to read the provisions of the bare act (which I certainly wouldn’t have read otherwise), we were also given due opportunity to interact with Justice Jagdish Bhalla (former chief justice of Rajasthan High Court & Himachal Pradesh Court.)
He told us about how he was moved by the very concept of human rights and his words are still crystal clear in my mind: “Do what you must! Money will come if you keep doing the right thing.”
Our supervisor, Mr. Chatrath was an excellent mentor. If you take this internship lightly, it’s more of fun and less of learning. But if you actually want to learn, sit in sir’s cabin, talk to him for a while, and you’ll get a grasp of things much better.
My project topic allowed me to study in depth a case of honor killing of a Panjab University research scholar whose case came up before the commission and sir encouraged me to talk to people who dealt with it.
I didn’t find anything bad with the internship.
You get to interact with students from other law schools! Most co-interns apply for this internship in their first year only.
Since they’re also new and still adapting, such basic and smooth internship gives you opportunity to open up. You can learn, you can have fun!
Anything else you’d like to tell
There’s no formal and compulsory dress code, lift and AC may not work at times, most eating joints are located in nearby sector – 35.
Every law student should care to intern at a human rights commission once, preferably in their first year. Such internships develop a respect for the human rights.