Judicial Services Exam

Judicial Services Exam, or more commonly known as the PCS (J)-Provincial Civil Service-Judicial Exam are entry-level tests for law graduates to become a member of the subordinate judiciary. These exams are conducted by a state judicial department to hire for subordinate judicial services. The exams focus on Indian legal and constitutional governance and history, current developments of national and international interest, and analytical aptitude and skills of the candidate. Roughly 50,000 to 60,000 aspirants apply for Judicial Services Examination each year with barely15% - 20% approximately clearing the exam.

Judicial Services Exam: All You Need To Know

Judiciary services can be a worthwhile option for many applicants who want to build a career in public service or the workings of the state authority. Let s have a look at the various jobs roles that an applicant can take after appearing and clearing the Judicial Services exam.

  • Magistrate
  • District and Sessions Judge
  • Sub-Magistrate
  • Public Prosecutor
  • Attorney General
  • Solicitors
  • Advocate General
  • Notary
  • Oath Commissioner

Qualified applicants of Law Service Commission or State Public Service Commission are also eligible for appointment as Magistrate and Sub Magistrate.

Eligibility Criteria

The judicial services have two entry levels

Type of ServicesEducation QualificationExperienceAge (May differ from State to State)Eligibility
Lower Judiciary ServicesMust hold an LL.B degree from a recognised institution and must have enrolled as an advocate under the Advocates Act 1961 with membership in the state bar council.No experience is required and final year applicants can also give the exam. Between 21 to 35 years.Must be a citizen of India.
Higher Judiciary ServicesMust hold an LL.B degree from a recognised institution.Must have a minimum of seven years of litigating practice. Between 21 to 35 years.Must be a citizen of India.

Exam Structure

Judicial Services exams are conducted in three stages:

FactorsPreliminary ExaminationMains ExaminationViva-Voce/Personal Interview
Exam TypeComprises of objective type questions, and acts as a screening test for the Mains exam.The Mains is a subjective type examination, which comprises of three to four papers.Candidates are evaluated based on general knowledge, personality and aptitude among other determinants.
Qualifying Marks For General & SC/ST CategoriesThe minimum qualifying marks vary from State to State.The minimum qualifying marks vary from State to State.This round carries a maximum of 50 marks out of which the candidate needs to score at least 20 marks to get selected.
Evaluation CriteriaThe marks are not be calculated for preparing the final merit list.The marks secured by applicants are counted for the final selectionThe final step of selection to become a Judge.

States Conducting Judicial Services Exam

In India, a total of 24 states conduct the Judicial Services exam with each state having their own set of eligibility criteria, exam pattern, recruitment process, and pay scale. The states are listed below:

  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Assam
  3. Bihar
  4. Chhattisgarh
  5. Goa
  6. Delhi
  7. Himachal Pradesh
  8. Haryana
  9. Jammu and Kashmir
  10. Jharkhand
  11. Karnataka
  12. Kerala
  13. Madhya Pradesh
  14. Maharashtra
  15. Manipur
  16. Mizoram
  17. Nagaland
  18. Odisha
  19. Punjab
  20. Rajasthan
  21. Sikkim
  22. Uttarakhand
  23. Uttar Pradesh
  24. West Bengal

Preparing For Judicial Services Exam: Tips & Tricks

Candidates must be willing to put in the effort that is required to clear the exams efficiently. Let s take a look at some of the ways applicants can prepare themselves.

  • The primary step for the preparation of Judicial Services Exam includes the motivation to become a Judicial Officer. It is important to stay consistent and develop a systematic preparation strategy which includes a well-planned timetable coupled with discipline.
  • Each stage of the examination demands a distinct approach for its preparation. For the Preliminary Test, candidates require intensive and exhaustive knowledge in areas such as provisions, illustrations, the period of limitation, period/time-limits etc., while the Written Test requires a selective study pattern based on the frequently asked questions. A candidate can plan for this by studying and solving previous years question.

  • If you know a Judicial Officer or someone who has recently been selected and delegated in the State, seek their input and guidance, which can be very helpful and critical in the direction of your preparation.
  • Practise previous years model question papers of the different examinations conducted by the various High Courts and Public Service Commissions for developing and mastering the time-management skill. This also comes handy for understanding the exam pattern and working towards it accordingly.
  • Routinely visit the State High Court and its subordinate court websites for writing and practising ideas on Orders/Judgments and drafting of Charge and Issues.
  • For Legal General Knowledge, read journals, newspapers, and reports presented by the Hon'ble Supreme Court and the Hon'ble High Courts. Candidates can also study recognised books for obtaining information about legal general knowledge and general knowledge.

The Range Of Work For A Judge

The judicial system consists of five hierarchies mainly Supreme Court, High Court, District Court, Magistrate court, and Munsiff court. Judges are assigned to the level of court according to the qualification required for that particular court department. Many Judges and magistrates operate in chambers (private offices), courtrooms and/or law libraries. The work involves reading legal briefs and proposals, researching legal issues, holding hearings with lawyers, and lastly composing the judgment.

The responsibility of the Judges differs depending on their jurisdictions and laws. The key responsibilities and role of the Judge are as follows:
    • Establish laws and implement rules of procedure
    • Preside over trials or hearings to conduct them justly
    • Advise litigants, attorney, or court personnel concerning the issues, conduct, and proceedings of a case
    • Settle disputes between defending attorneys
    • Listen to attorney-at-law performing their cases, allegations made by plaintiffs and hear all the witnesses
    • Read documents on motions and pleadings to ascertain facts and arguments.
    • Discover the evidence presented by the defence and the prosecution to determine if the evidence confirms the charges
    • Evaluate the evidence to decide whether the accused individual is innocent or guilty in accordance with the law
  • In the case of civil trials, Judges decide whether a petition is legitimate and estimates the damage, and grants an order of compensation to the plaintiff unless a jury has been empanelled to give the decision.
  • In the case of criminal trials, the Judge determines whether to hold offenders in prison pending trial or set bail and other requirements for release
  • In case the accused is convicted, then the Judge declares the sentence. The Judge may impose a fine, send the person to jail or both, depending on what the constitution prescribes

The Munsif/Sub-Judge deals with civil cases while the Magistrate deals with criminal cases. These officers can be promoted to District and Sessions Judge based on their seniority and skills. They can further be promoted to the office of a Judge of the SC or the HC. Previously, District and Sessions Judges were promoted from those currently in service, but now in most of the states, they are being selected through competitive exams conducted by State Commissions.

A Career In The Judiciary System

The Constitution of India has a three-tier judicial system, which comprises of the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts in different states and the Subordinate Courts. Thus, the constitution of India requires the appointment of Judges at all these three levels. Let s take a closer look at the hierarchy of the Judges.

Supreme Court (SC)

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial system and the ultimate court of appeal under the Constitution of India. The SC of India includes the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and 30 additional Judges. Chief Justice is the senior-most and highest-ranking Judge in the Supreme Court of India and holds the most prominent judicial position. The President appoints the Chief Justice of India after consulting with other Judges of the SC and High Courts.

The Judges of the SC retain their position till the age of 65 years.

High Court (HC)

The President of India appoints every HC Judge by consulting with the CJI, the Chief Justice of the HC, and the Governor of the state. The President consults with the Governor and the CJI for electing the Chief Justice of the HC. The number of Judges in the court is determined by two factors; dividing the average institutions of chief cases during the last five years by the national average, or the average rate of distribution of the cases per Judge per year in that HC, whichever is higher.

The Judges of the High Courts retain their position till the age of 62 years.

District Court

Each state is split into judicial districts governed by a District and Sessions Judge. When presiding over a civil case, a Judge is called a District Judge and in the event of a criminal case, he/she is called a Sessions Judge. He/she is the highest judicial authority after an HC Judge. There may be Assistant District Judges and Additional District Judges depending on the workload. The Judges of District Courts are elected by the Governor after review with the Chief Justice of the HC of the concerned state. The necessary eligibility to become a District Judge is minimum seven years of practice as a pleader or an advocate.

Magistrates/Munsiff

Magistrates/Munsiff are elected by the Central or State Government in deliberation with the Chief Justice of the HC of the concerned State.

Compensation Of A Judge

Judges are eligible to receive a salary as directed by the government. The salary of Judges diversifies according to their seniority or to the court they serve. The Chief Justices of SC and HC earn high compensation as compared to the other Judges of these courts. Judges in lower courts (Magistrate Court or District Court) with limited power such as Magistrates/Munsiffs generally earn the lowest salaries. Other than the monetary compensation, the Judges are also authorised to receive attractive allowances such as travelling allowance, housing allowance, etc.

Important Dates For The Judicial Services Exams

ExamOrganisationEligibilityLast Date
Civil Judge (140 Posts)Madhya Pradesh High CourtBachelor's Degree in Law04-09-2018
Civil Judge (42 Posts)Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC)Bachelor's Degree in Law30-06-2018
District Judge (10 Posts)High Court of ChhattisgarhBachelor's Degree15-06-2018
District Judge (37 Posts)Allahabad High CourtBachelor's Degree in Law14-06-2018
Civil Judge (75 Posts)High Court of GujaratBachelor's Degree in Law06-06-2018
District Judge (30 Posts)High Court of KarnatakaBachelor's Degree in Law30-04-2018
Civil Judge (24 Posts)West Bengal Public Service Commission (PSCWB)Bachelor's Degree in Law07-05-2018
District Judge (Entry Level) (28 Posts)High Court of Madhya Pradesh (MPHC)Bachelor's Degree in Law30-05-2018
Civil Judge (28 Posts)High Court of GujaratBachelor's Degree in Law30-04-2018
Delhi Judicial Service Examination (50 Posts)Delhi High CourtAdvocate22-02-2018
Civil Judge (101 Posts)High Court of KarnatakaBachelor's Degree in Law01-03-2018
Civil Judge (35 Posts)Rajasthan High CourtBachelor's Degree in Law21-12-2017
Junior Judicial Assistant (288 Posts)Office Of The District & Sessions Judge, DelhiBachelor's Degree in Law01-12-2017
Civil Judge (94 Posts)Madhya Pradesh High Court (MPHC)Bachelor's Degree in Law05-09-2017
Clerks, Junior Office Assistants & Process Servers vacanciesHimachal Pradesh High CourtGraduation/B.Tech/MCA/PGDCA/BSC(IT)/10+207-11-2015

History of All-India Judicial Services

The idea to formulate an All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) was first proposed by the Law Commission (1st, 8th and 11th, 116th) in the 1950s. With All-India Judicial Services, the District Judges will be recruited centrally through an all-India examination and allotted to each State. It is debated that this will assure an efficient and transparent method of recruitment to find the best talent in India s legal profession.

To grant an All-India Judicial Services under Article 312, the Constitution of India was revised in 1977. The Chief Justices convention in the 1960s encouraged the creation of All-India Judicial Services and recommended the implementation of the service, but were rejected each time.

The ruling UPA government floated the proposal again in 2012, but the draft was declined after opposition from High Court Chief Justices who expressed it as a violation of their rights. Execution of All-India Judiciary Services has been a debatable subject for many years. In the recent times, the Central Government led by the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad with Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi and came together for a conference regarding the constitution of All-India Judicial Services, but no common consensus was reached.


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