NEW DELHI INTERNSHIP: CARDIFF LAW AND GLOBAL JUSTICE STUDENTS IN INDIA
During our internship in India we spent time with the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), a statutory body seeking to protect and further the rights and interests of women and children within the capital. They regularly report to the Delhi government via empirical studies, run women’s empowerment groups alongside other local NGOs and provide free counselling and legal aid services to women when a process culminates in litigation or a criminal trial.
We aided DCW in the production of two reports, namely a report surrounding human trafficking from neighbouring countries and internal Indian states, and the current state of play surrounding the enforcement of prohibited pre-natal sex determination laws. Furthermore, we spoke to a circuit judge surrounding the current status of rape laws gaining a detailed and challenging account of sexual violence against women in Delhi. Conversations with a social worker and former juvenile magistrate allowed us to to fully grasp the impact of poverty, dependency and crime upon the average child’s life.
Speaking to both of these people, we appreciated the proactive steps and attempts of the law, DCW and other NGOs to alleviate disadvantage and further change.
DCW operates an emergency helpline number and response team for women in Delhi. It operates 24/7 and can provide women with immediate assistance. We were lucky enough to be invited to accompany the team on a number of occasions and were overwhelmed at the passion to tackle such difficult situations as well as the struggle women in need face when dealing with the police.
We also interned alongside government standing Counsel Mr Manish Mohan in the High Court of Delhi as well as spending time at the Supreme Court of India. It was a fascinating opportunity to witness law in action in Delhi and to see the efforts to further positive change in India.
The internship allowed us to work and speak with the teams on the ground. We were able to witness empowerment meetings, discuss the situation of women and children as well as meet with victims of domestic abuse, sexual crimes and trafficking. It was humbling to witness Kat-Katha school who provide education to children of sex workers who are ostracised from mainstream education.
Finally, we were invited to work with the Death Penalty Law Centre (AKA Project 39a) at the National Law University, who campaign against the death penalty in India as well as challenge and report on malfunctioning legal practice. Whilst working with them, we specifically examined the use of ‘junk science’ in evidential proceedings of a criminal trial in India. We critically examined the ‘DNA-Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill’ - a government proposal to create a national DNA database. The Centre will offer reports on both in due course.
“My experience was a rich and diverse emersion into the Indian social and legal system. I found the experience eye-opening and challenging, often questioning my own understanding from a UK-centric perspective. I found it inspiring as to how India seeks to challenge mainstream frameworks and structures as well as progress change through the law and other means. I admired the traditional and non-conventional methods they used to do this. It is an experience I will carry with me always and expect it to guide my thinking in the future.” – Tom
“During the three-week visit to Delhi, myself and Tom worked with the DCW, P39A and one of the High Court’s most senior advocates. Lawyers told us that about their concern that the law is failing its many of its subjects meaning more and more people were losing faith in their own nation’s legal order and its enforcement. By learning of the Indian Legal System’s strengths and challenges, I hope to be more aware of the pitfalls within the system active over England and Wales. My time in Delhi was incomparable to any other experience I have had.” – Marco