September 27, 2011
Extern at Human Rights Legal Network in Delhi.
“In the summer of 2011 I worked for the Human Rights Law Network in New Delhi. Under the direction of Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves and a team of about twenty dedicated and talented attorneys, I learned a great deal about Indian law and the inner workings of a legal, non-profit NGO. HRLN accepts a wide variety of cases - from basic indigent defense cases in the trial courts of Delhi to Public Interest Litigation in the names of tens of thousands of people. Working with few resources, the firm is consistently successful in pathmarking cases and regularly publishes articles and books that serve as a guide for similar NGOs throughout Asia. The legal rights and protections that Indian citizens have are actually astoundingly strong - for instance, all Indians have an affirmative right to food and housing - but often these rights have outpaced their enforcement. Subsequently, HRLN and other courageous advocates step in to police the government and bring this lack of enforcement to the attention of the courts. So, as in the case for civil rights in any nation, the challenge for the civil rights lawyer is not to overcome the law, but to actually enforce it. To that end, I had the rare opportunities to draft two separate petitions (one before the Supreme Court of India, the other before the High Court of Delhi), to sit in on refugee client counseling sessions, to visit the various courts, and to help author a book on Freedom of the Press - in short to help bring about that enforcement. This was an experience I will cherish and I am grateful to have had the good fortune to work with HRLN.”