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The article is written by P A Alexy Vaidhian from School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore.

“The law: It has honoured us; may we honour it”Daniel Webster


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The Kerala Judicial Services- No more a Dream

It is vital for every single law graduate to honour the law once they pursue their degrees and start their career. The day when legal professionalism starts to grow, one must be sure in what direction he must go with his legal knowledge. Other than focusing on the ulterior motive of money-making, the sense of self-esteem, intellectual development and personal satisfaction must never be neglected. Thus a suitable career is one where the working platform welcomes all the above-mentioned qualities of a professionalist and gives him a sense of security and respect. 

For a young, vibrant and courageous law graduate, the judicial services is the best career option with all these standards.  

Becoming a Judge in the State of Kerala

The selection process for the Kerala judicial services is carried out in two different schemes.

  • The lower judiciary examination is conducted for graduates who have acquired a bachelor degree in law from a recognized institute or university within the age group of 21 – 35 on the year of appearance for the examination. 
  • The higher judiciary examination is conducted by the High Court of Kerala for the recruitment of Civil Judges or District Judges. Candidates who have a standing of 7 years or more and within the age group of 35- 45 on the year of appearance for the examination are eligible. 

This article focuses on the lower judiciary examination conducted in the state of Kerala.

Occurrence of Examination

The exam is conducted on a yearly basis by the High Court of Kerala. The notification for the exam is usually released in the month of February. The preliminary for the same is conducted in the month of March every year.

Number of Vacancies

Even though the number of seats is less in judiciary exams, nowadays it has started to increase. There is no fixed number of seats every year and keeps changing. The seats can be less or more compared to the previous year. In the year 2019, there was a vacancy of 45 seats altogether. 

Application Process

Eligible candidates from the day of notification for the exams can apply for the same through the official recruitment portal of the Kerala High Court. Candidates who hold a valid and active mobile phone and an e-mail id can register for the exam in a few clicks.

The first part of registration is where the candidates fill their complete details in the given form. After completing it the candidate generates a key number which he/she must keep for further reference during registration.

The above step becomes complete when the candidate receives an application number of registration on his registered e-mail or mobile number as an SMS. 

The application fee is paid by the candidate after successfully completing the details and receiving the application number. The fee is paid through net banking or Debit/Credit Cards or directly at SBI branches and then then the candidate needs to upload a scanned copy of his/her photograph and signature in the prescribed size. (For SC/ ST/ Unemployed Persons with disability, there is no registration fees for both lower and higher judiciary exams, but for ‘Others’ it is Rs. 1000 and 1500 for lower and higher judiciary exams respectively). 

The registered candidates then receive an admit card for the exam three weeks before the commencement of examination. The selected candidates for the interview get a confirmation on their registered email or mobile number as an SMS and the call letter two weeks before the commencement of interview. 

Examination Scheme

Scheme- Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination consists of an objective paper. The preliminary examination is for two hours and contains 100 multiple choice questions altogether. Each question carries a weightage of 4 marks each and a negative of 1 for each wrong answer. The examination is conducted only for shortlisting the candidates for the next round and the marks scored here are not considered to determine the final merit of the selected candidates. 

The cut-off marks is 40% for general candidates and 35% for candidates from SC/ST category. The final list of shortlisted candidates for the written main examination is then declared by the HC of Kerala. 

Syllabi – Preliminary Examination

Part A

  • Code of Civil Procedure
  • Indian Contract Act 
  • Negotiable Instruments Act 
  • Transfer of Property Act 
  • Specific Relief Act 
  • Kerala Building (Lease and Rent Control) Act

Part B

  • Code of Criminal Procedure 
  • Indian Penal Code 
  • Indian Evidence Act

Part C

  • Constitution of India 
  • Legal G.K


Verbal Reasoning

  • Analogy, Series Completion, Verification of truth of the Statement, Situation Reaction Test, Direction Sense Test, Classification, Data Sufficiency, Alpha- Numeric Sequence, Puzzle, Puzzle Test, Blood Relations, Coding-Decoding, Assertion and Reasoning, Arithmetical Reasoning, Operations of Mathematics, Venn Diagrams, Word Sequence, Missing Characters, Sequential Output training, Directions, Test on Alphabets, Eligibility Test.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

  • Dot Situation, Identical figure groupings, Forming figures and analysis, Construction of Squares and Triangles, Series, Analytical Reasoning, Paper Folding, Cubes and Dice, Water Images, Mirror Images, Figure Matrix, Completion Incomplete Pattern, Spotting embedded figures, Paper Cutting, Classification, Rules Detection.

Mental Ability

  • Number Series, Directions, Alphabet Series, Coding-Decoding, Blood Relations, Statements & Conclusions, Syllogism, Mirror Images, Cubes and Dice, Embedded Figures, Statements & Arguments, Arithmetical Reasoning, Clocks & Calendars, Analogy, Decision Making, Number Ranking, Non-Verbal Series, Data Interpretation.

Scheme – Mains Examination

The mains examination for 900 marks consists of a total of 5 papers. The paper-1 carries 100 marks and the subsequent 4 papers carries 200 marks each. The duration of each paper will be three hours. The cut-off marks for candidates belonging to general category is 40% for each paper and an average of 45% in all the five papers. Candidates belonging to SC/ST category must attain 35% and 40% respectively. (Fraction of half or more shall be considered as full marks and anything less than that shall be ignored)

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Syllabi – Mains Examination


  • English Grammar, General Essays, Translation of Malayalam Depositional, Documents to English and vice-versa, Precise writing.


Part A

  • Indian Contract Act, Transfer of Property Act,  Limitation Act, Specific Relief Act, Easements Act, Kerala Building (Lease and Rent Control) Act, Hindu Succession Act, Indian Succession Act – Parts Y VI &X, Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act.

Part B

  • Kerala Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act, Stamp Act Kerala, Kerala State Legal Services Authorities Act, The Kerala Panchayath Raj Act -Ch. X, XI, XXIA & XXIII, Kerala Municipality Act -Ch. IX, X, XXIV & XXV, Negotiable Instruments Act (except Ch. XVII), Registration Act.


Part A

  • Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, Abkari Act, Negotiable Instruments Act -Ch. XVII, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

Part B

  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, Kerala Police Act, Probation of Offenders Act, Forest Act, N.D.P.S. Act (provisions relating to bail and trial by Magistrates).

Paper IV

Part A

  • Code of Civil Procedure, Civil Rules of Practice, Kerala Civil Courts Act, Order in Interlocutory Application/ Framing of issues/Judgment writing (Civil).

Part B

  • Code of Criminal Procedure, Criminal Rules of Practice, The framing of charges/ Order in Criminal Miscellaneous Petitions.

Golden Tips

  • Perspiration – Inspiration theory

Upon the decision of taking the long way to be successful one must never forget this theory. Success is always 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. After being inspired with the aim to deliver justice, the only go is to work hard until the exam is cracked. Working hard does not mean spending time, it means spending time wisely and achieving the best result or in simple terms, working smart.

  • Bare Acts- the best friends

One can never pass the prelims without being thorough with the bare acts of the related subjects. The statutory provisions and the procedural laws are to be learnt from the bare acts. Important section numbers are usually asked from CrPC, IPC, Evidence Act and the Indian Contract Act. 

  • Stay updated

The GK part is always easy to score marks and builds all over merit. Nowadays there are many paid law journals and websites that provide with day to day updates on the field of law. Recent amendments and landmark judgments are asked even during the interview of candidates to ensure that they stay updated. The habit of reading newspapers also enhances the general knowledge of a candidate.

  • Preparing short notes

There is no other activity like writing that increases the efficiency of a person. Even though it won’t seem be worth to write in today’s cyberspace, judicial service aspirants must find time to prepare notes on their won and on their convenience and must go through the same whenever there is time. 

  • Art of Time Management

Every state follows a different syllabus and pattern in their examination process. Thus an aspirant must always find time to find previous year question papers and try to solve the same in the said time. Similarly one must practise writing judgments and draft plaint, written statements etc. so that the time is not wasted during the examination. 

Level of Competition

Even though among law students the number of judicial aspirants is less, the trend has started to change. Considering the respectable position as a judge, the job security, salary and allowance, nowadays students have started to develop an ardent desire to crack the exam.

Considering the number of seats in an average to be less than 50, the competition for this exam is high. It is not the level of competition that decides the final result, but the commitment and hard work one had during his preparation day’s matters.

Preparation Process

There is no ideal time to start and end the preparation for a judiciary exam. When the aim of becoming a judge strikes one’s mind, there must not be a step back. One must remember the words of Mark Antony that “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff” and must work hard until the dream becomes true. Always ensure that adequate time is given for all topics before the examination and nothing is left out. 

Preparation Guide

    • Have a copy of the entire syllabus for quick reference whenever needed.
    • One must dedicate time every day for preparation.
    • Procedural laws must be studied in depth.
    • Start grouping the topic on one’s convenience. 
    • Never forget to revise previous year question papers.
    • One must develop the skill of reading and writing.
    • Start to learn 5 new words in English and Malayalam.
    • Prepare own questions from bare acts and learn.
    • Always develop the habit of reading Malayalam and English newspapers.
    • Learn the art of attending an interview and answering questions.
  • Work hard, Success will follow.

Keep these away

  • Aspirants must never be overconfident on their skills, abilities and on the examination.
  • Use time wisely, never spent too much time on cyber space.
  • Never feel shy to approach anyone and clear the doubts.
  • Never procrastinate lengthy topics and essays.
  • Never collect materials that are lengthy and ambiguous, remember to be smart while selecting guides and reference materials.

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