How to Prepare for the Judiciary

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While studying at law schools, students generally realise their interests which help them opt for a particular field after completion of their law degrees. Many law students dream of becoming a judge, the most honoured position in the legal system. There are several attributes associated with a Judge such as excellent legal knowledge, good judgment power, and the ability to be impartial while delivering judgments. 

To become a judge in India, one must appear and clear the Judicial Services Examination. The exam requires utmost dedication from a candidate. 

About the Judicial Services Exam

The Judicial Services is an entrance exam consisting of two levels:- 

1. The first level is for the lower judicial services for law graduates. The exam is conducted by State Public Service Commission in their respective states, but in some states, it is conducted by the High Courts as is the case with Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

2. The second level is for higher judicial services mainly for practicing lawyers who have been practicing as an advocate for a minimum period of seven years. The minimum duration of practice required may vary from state to state.

Eligibility Criteria

For the lower level judicial services exam, one must be a law graduate, i.e, have a bachelor’s degree in law and have their name registered under Advocates Act, 1961. The minimum age required is 21 to 35 years but different states have different age requirements.

For higher level judicial services exam, the person must have been practicing as an advocate for 7 years or more, and a minimum age of 35 years.

Exam Pattern for the State Judiciary Services (PCSJ)

The test is conducted in 3 phases – 

Phase I – Preliminary Examination

This exam consists of objective type questions from Aptitude, General Knowledge, English and Law

Phase II – Mains Exam

This is a subjective test comprising of questions related to General Knowledge, Language and Law

Phase III- Viva Voce or Personal Interview

An individual interview is conducted of every candidate qualifying the Mains Exam. It is for the analysis of the overall personality of the candidate.

Generally, this structure of examination is followed in most of the states but in some states, the syllabus may vary.

How should you prepare?

Students should prepare a daily schedule or a time table and stick to it. Time should be divided equally among all subjects. Ideally, one must start preparing in the early years of their law school to get a good understanding of every subject from the beginning.  Sticking to a daily schedule ensures smooth preparation and you can be sure to cover up the entire syllabus while leaving ample time for revision.

Candidates should also be thorough with current affairs by reading the newspaper every day. They should be familiar with the current affairs of countries around the globe, not just India. The Hindu and The Indian Express are great newspapers and can be relied upon better for the preparation of Current Affairs and General Knowledge.

You should also go through the past year question papers to get a better understanding of the exam. Many books provide subject-wise past paper questions, or even chapter-wise past paper questions. This makes it easier to study and figure out your strengths and weaknesses which you can work on.

A proper schedule and implementation of the same is the most important preparation strategy and will help candidates in achieving their targets.

Books recommended for the preparation of Judicial Exams

Candidates can prefer books of their choice and study from self-preparatory notes as well. According to me following are some books which can be referred:-

  1. General Knowledge – Upkar, Lucent’s General Knowledge and Arihant’s General Science(for static gk) and Pratiyogita Darpan (for current affairs)
  2. English – Objective general English by R.S Aggarwal
  3. Indian Constitution – V.N Shukla, J.N Pandey, PM Bakshi
  4. Indian Penal Code – P.S.A. Pillai’s criminal law Book, K.D Gaur
  5. Indian Contract Act and the Indian Evidence Act – Avtar Singh
  6. Code of Civil Procedure  – C.K. Takwani
  7.  Criminal Procedure Court –  R.V. Kelkar
  8. Torts – R.K Bangia

Bare acts should also be referred.

Important Tips to follow during the preparation of Judiciary Services Exam

1. The very first and foremost problem faced by a student is how to prepare for the exam. Thus many legal experts advise going through the past year papers as it helps the students to get a fair idea about the paper pattern and the important sections or questions on which they need to give more emphasis on.

2. Time management happens to be a challenge for most of the students. They generally end up giving more time to other sections which cause mismanagement and thus they are enabled to complete their papers at the given time. To avoid this, students must have a daily practice of the previous year papers with proper time being allotted to every section. This will help them in enhancing their speed and avoiding mismanagement during exams. 

3. Keeping a target for each day and achieving it accordingly will benefit a lot in the whole preparation. This will also help in evaluating one’s own progress. Set weekly and monthly deadlines.

4. Be clear on what has been done and what needs to be done. Track your progress on a regular basis and keep in mind the time limit and deadlines you set for yourself. 

5. Be thorough with Bare Acts – Candidates who have sat and cracked the Preliminary Exam consider thoroughness with Bare Acts to be a crucial factor. Candidates for Judiciary Examination should be thorough with the statutory provisions, particularly of procedural law i.e. Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Code of Civil Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act. Many a times, Judiciary Examination of some States also ask Sections or Article number pertaining to related statutory provision.

6. Be thorough with latest judgments and Amendments in law – Candidates should also be well aware of what is happening around. They should read the important judgments and what observation/verdict was made in that case. Be thorough with the latest amendments as well. Subscribing to newsletters legal news websites is a great way to keep oneself updated regularly.

7. Make notes as you prepare – Ensure that you make notes while you are studying of whatever you think is important for later revision. Note-taking is useful for your weekly or monthly revision, for any future references, and for last-minute revision. Preparing notes saves time during revision, especially during the last few days of your exam.

8. Take breaks regularly while studying. Make sure your study plan is spread out throughout the day and have kept time for breaks at regular intervals. This will keep your mind fresh. 

Topper’s views

1. MP Judicial Examination Topper, 2017 Sonal Gupta(Rank 1) – Topper of Judicial Services Examination 2017 said that time management and self-discipline are the key factors to succeed in Judiciary exams. She used to practice regularly to quality content and to avoid mismanagement of time. She believes in working hard as hard work will only lead to success.

2. Delhi Judicial Examination Topper 2017, Surpreet Kaur( Rank 2) –Reading interviews of toppers help in boosting oneself and motivates as well. Patience and hard work are the key factors for success. One must prepare a proper schedule and work accordingly.

3. UP Judicial Examination Topper 2016, Aakash Sharma(Rank 5) – Examination requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Thus students if starting from the scratch will need a minimum of 2 years of preparation while students carrying on with their preparation from the beginning can crack the exam within 6 months.

4. Rajasthan Judicial Examination Topper 2018, Siddhant Saxena (Rank 5) – A selective study approach must be adopted. Candidates must try their level best to gain a good command over language and writing skills as it too carries marks. Students must prepare their notes themselves and revise them accordingly. Though the competition is getting tougher still immense hard work and honesty to oneself will make you stand apart.

5. Delhi Judicial Examination Topper 2015, Vinod Joshi (Rank 29) – For him one must not just keep on studying bundles of books without properly analyzing the exam pattern. Reading newspaper on a daily basis and revision of bare acts regularly along with case laws will help a lot.

6. UP Judicial Examination Topper 2016, Divyakant Singh Rathore (Rank 48) – He says that one should make a strategy according to his comfort, which one is familiar with and implement the same. He believes in self-studies as it helps in clarifying the concepts well.

Conclusion 

Judiciary is completely a worthy option for the students who want to enter into public services and desire to do something for the nation by becoming a part of the Indian legal system. Cracking judicial exams and becoming a judge is not a cakewalk. It requires efforts and patience. Thus, students who are preparing for judicial exams must have self-discipline in themselves. During the preparation of the examination, the candidates must be honest with themselves about the extent of preparation. They must spend ample of time preparing and should manage their time carefully. Being thorough with the bare acts is always advisable. Proper planning, discipline, and continuous hard work is bound to lead to success in judicial exams.

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