This article was written by Sikander Sharma, a student of University School of Law and Legal Studies.
At the end of the first year in the Law School, an amazing opportunity at the notice board in the corridor of my college caught my sight. I wanted to grab it without procrastinating any further. It was an honour working with the President of the Dwarka Court Bar Association, Advocate Naresh Sharma, as he then was, in the summer of 2013. Thanks to the Internship and Placement Cell of my college which accepted my request for the internship.
I was already excited and keen to intern with Mr. Sharma. The very first day of my Internship was crucial for me as it is for any intern so as to leave a good impression on the minds of the people at the workplace. I wore a black suit and reached the Courts’ Complex at 9 am sharp as I was told to do so.
I took his permission to enter the chamber and he welcomed me with warm greetings and also introduced me with the fellow interns and junior counsels. I was asked to bring a diary or notepad to jot down the cases to be heard for each day before leaving the chamber.
Now, we were on our way to the courtroom. He briefed me with the facts of the case while speeding towards the courtroom and told me that it was a rape trial and he was going to cross examine the prosecution, witness.
This was like a boon to me as I am more inclined towards Criminal Law. I was asked by one of my seniors to carefully observe and notice the language and tone of Mr. Sharma while the cross examination and the way it affects the witness and her statement. This was the part where I had learnt some of the technicalities of advocacy. He had a deep and audible voice which was pleasant to everyone’s ears in the courtroom.
Now, the quality of his voice had another aspect – it was dominating and could make the witness nervous affecting his statement and secondly, it showed his confidence affecting the view of the Judge which could be seen later in the Judgment.
I was asked to attend the court proceedings similarly on a daily basis both in the District Courts and the High Court, observe them, draft petitions for the filing of cases with the help of a senior intern , research on matters to be heard before the court and most importantly appear as a trainee before the judge asking him to give a subsequent date in case the prime counsel could not come.
I was little nervous on the first day of confronting the Judge, but later it became a routine and I could interestingly speak in different styles whenever I got an opportunity which made me feel like an advocate.
Ironically, the only sentence I had to say was “Your Lordship, the Prime Counsel could not appear as he has a case in the High Court”
A few days later, we were asked by one of the seniors to attend the proceedings at Courtroom no. 207 for it was known as the most entertaining court in the whole complex. A court that is entertaining?
It sounded a bit strange to us but when we went inside , we were actually amused after a while. That was a Family Court. The Judge in there had undoubtedly no intention to seek our attention but only to deliver justice. We had never seen a Judge so outgoing and friendly both with the parties to the case as well as the pleaders. In a divorce matter , he pacified the counsel for the plaintiff by saying “Wakil sahab, why do you worry so much? Let us find a solution instead of multiplying the complexities”
What I had inferred from his behaviour was that he was actually striving to bridge the gap between the parties to the case i.e the husband and the wife by reflecting a sociable and uninhibited attitude so that they could explain their grievance without hesitation. This could be seen in that Court pertaining to any matter, be it marriage, divorce, maintenance, succession or any other family dispute.
His approach was to settle the disputes by advising the parties to the case to co-operate with each other instead of promoting the ever increasing litigation custom of arguing. Such an approach by a person sitting behind the dais endeavours to preserve the social relationships in the society.
Another thing which I had learnt during the internship was saving time and valuing it. I then came to the conclusion that time is not only what my watch reads but it is indeed, big fat money.
Whenever I accompanied Mr. Sharma towards the court, I always watched him walking at a fast pace. He never used to wait for the elevators but hastened downstairs every time he had to appear before the Judge and it was a real challenge to outrun him.
One generally gets to see a huge variety of pleaders in the District Courts. You find some of them very articulate in their speech and some are going to blow your mind up
I was sitting in the Courtroom for a matter to be called up where I was analysing the way the different pleaders presented their case and acknowledged that most of them used to speak in Hindi and even in their local languages which were barely comprehensible. This was unlike the Delhi High Court where you find all the silver-tongued lawyers with a fine quality of language.
One should definitely opt for an internship in the District Courts in the first year where you get to know about the reality i.e. how the Court actually works, how the drafting is done, the procedure which is confirmed to during the trial, the location of the specific Court, the jurisdiction of the Courts and a lot more.
If one is attentive and craving for knowledge, there is a lot to do and learn from but in case one tends to be lethargic and does not pay heed to minor details in the surroundings, even god cannot help . It is worth noting that a clerk working at a lawyer’s chamber knows far more than a student of first year. Going for the Supreme Court or any prestigious Law firm in the first year only to upload your facebook status does not pay you much.
Nevertheless, the environment in the chamber made me comfortable , the senior interns were helpful, the junior counsels taught me the functioning of the court. Overall, my experience in the District Court was fascinating and very informative. And I am pretty sure that this will add up to my advocacy skills in the future.