This article has been written by Ishaan Banerjee, studying in Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies. This article would serve as an answer to your questions about the Delhi Judicial Services and its entrance exam.
Delhi, being the capital city of India, is a bustling hub of activity. Be it commercial, legal, cultural or any other area, Delhi finds itself at the heart of it all. Speaking about the legal sector, Delhi has all the super important courts and prominent organisations and firms’ headquarters, like the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal and that of the National Company Law Tribunal, among others.
Thus, a lawyer or an aspiring lawyer would probably look to practice in Delhi or even be a judge in Delhi! One cannot deny that this is surely a lucrative opportunity. One can do this by applying to and passing the Delhi Judicial Services Examination.
What are the Judicial services?
To understand the judicial service system in India, one must first understand the hierarchy of the courts system in India.
- The Apex Court of India is the Supreme Court, which is in Delhi. It has territorial jurisdiction all over India. It hears cases on appeals from lower courts (High Courts and District Courts), and also hears writs, PILs etc,
- The next type of courts in the hierarchy are the High Courts of each State. They have territorial jurisdiction over that State. Each State’s High Court supervises the members of the subordinate judiciary,
- Then come the District Courts for a district or for a group of districts. Members belonging to the subordinate or district judiciary are commonly called as Judicial Service or the PCS-J ( Provincial Civil Service – Judicial). They occupy the offices of the presiding officers of the Courts up to the level of the District Judge.
Exams are conducted only at the District and the High Court levels. The intricacies of this examination system are given in the next section of this article.
Plans for an All India Judicial Service have been floated many times, but they have been faced by opposition. However, the government has once again brought up a plan to set it up in 2020.
How can you become a Judge in the Delhi Judiciary?
First off, one has to know that there is a State judiciary present in every State and they all conduct their own independent competitive exams for admission to their judiciary. Similar is the case with Delhi.
However, there are actually two ways to become a part of the State judiciary-
- Start your own litigation practice as a lawyer and hope to get elevated to the Bench someday. However, there is no guarantee that you will be elevated to the Bench through following this method. It involves a lot of luck and years of hard work. It also takes a lot of time;
- This is the method which is becoming more preferable day by day. You can apply for the Judicial Services exam conducted by the State where you are interested in making a career as a judge.
Even inside this, there are two levels of judicial services.
- Lower judicial services: Fresh law graduates have to apply here and have to pass the entrance exam which is usually conducted by the particular State’s Public Service Commission, but in the case of Delhi, it is conducted by the High Court.
- Higher judicial services: The higher judicial services exams are open to already practising lawyers with a certain prescribed minimum number of years of litigating. This minimum number of years is usually 7, but it may vary with the state.
The benefit would lie more on the side of the higher judicial services as someone who gets through their exams would get a senior position at the start of his career whereas a person who gets through the lower judicial services examinations does not get senior-level positions at the beginning of his career. However, the lower judicial services have a fixed quota, on the basis of which elevation to the High Court is decided. However, the figures of this quota depend on the discretion of a state’s High Court. There is no uniformity regarding this.
The Delhi Judicial Services Examination
The Delhi Judicial Services Examination is conducted by the High Court of Delhi to recruit civil judges in the High Court. The exam is conducted in multiple stages.
Stages of the Delhi Judicial Services Examination
Stage 1: Preliminary Exam: This exam is held in objective multiple choice questions (MCQ) format. The subjects covered under the preliminary exam consist of English,general knowledge and law which includes topics like the Penal Code, Constitution, Evidence Act, Contract Act etc. It also tests the candidate’s command over English and his aptitude for the law. There shall be 200 MCQ questions with deduction of 0.25 marks for each incorrect answer and 1 mark being awarded for a correct answer.
Stage 2: Mains exam: When candidates qualify the preliminary exam , they become eligible to give the mains exam. This is a subjective exam. The pattern of the Mains exam consists of two sections: namely General Knowledge (100 marks) and the other section is Language and Law, which also have Civil Law -I, Civil Law-II and Criminal Law as papers. In section II, Language paper has a weightage of 150 marks whereas the others will have a weightage of 200 marks.
- General Knowledge: Questions in this section are asked from topics such as current affairs
- Language and law: In the language paper, you have questions like translations from English to Hindi and vice versa.
- Civil Law-I: Questions in this section are from the Contract Act, Hindu and Muslim law, Law of Torts, Partnership Act etc.
- Civil Law -II: Questions in this section come from The Civil Procedure Code, evidence law, law of limitation and registration.
- Criminal Law: Questions in this section come from The Indian Penal Code, The Code of Criminal Procedure, The Indian Evidence Act .
Stage 3: Viva voce/ Interview: If the candidates have passed both the preliminary and the mains exams, then they are eligible to give the interview, which would be the final stage of the Delhi Judicial Services Examination, after which they would be shortlisted. This carries a weightage of 150 marks. Depending upon the combined score, the candidates will be shortlisted for judicial posts. They need to get at least 50% marks in this round to qualify for the shortlisting process. However, the marks of the preliminary exam would not be considered while making the final merit list.
Here is the syllabus in a tabular form-
(MCQ) type, 200 questions
1 mark for correct answer and 0.25 marks deduction for wrong answer
No set weightage
LANGUAGE: Essay, Precis and Translations
CIVIL LAW -I:
Indian Contract Act
Indian Sale of Goods Act
Indian Partnership Act
Specific Relief Act
Hindu Law, Muslim law
Delhi Rent Control Act
Law of Torts
CIVIL LAW -II: CPC, CrPC, Evidence Act, Law of Limitation and Registration
The Indian Evidence Act
When does the exam take place?
It is important to remember that since the judicial service exams are vacancy based, they are not conducted every year. The online application for the exam is usually released a month before the exam is conducted. In 2019, the registration for the exam began in August and ended in September, when the preliminary exam was held.
Who can apply?
- A citizen of India
- A person having a law degree
- A person who has practised as an advocate for not less than 7 years.
- A person who is less than 45 years of age as on the 1st day of January of the year for which applications are invited.
Number of seats
The number of seats in each state depends on the vacancies of judges in that state’s High Court. So, if you are looking to join the Delhi High Court, the number of seats would differ per year. However, one thing you could be sure of is that the number of vacancies would usually be large since Delhi is a major legal hub, but the competition would also be higher.
Mode of applying and mode of conducting the examination
The applications for the Delhi Judicial Services Examination is given through online mode, with an application fee of Rs. 1000, while the exam is conducted in the offline mode.
Perks of being in the Judicial Services
When you become a judge, you finally know how it feels to be bringer of justice. It gives the opportunity to serve the interests of the people and makes the society a better place to be in. A judge also commands a position of great respect in the society. Apart from your own personal satisfaction, being in the judicial services also gives you benefits like rent free accommodation, subsidised water and electricity, telephone allowances and children’s education bursaries. The quality and quantity of these perks is typically observed to be better than those of civil officers.
With the coming of the 6th Pay Commission, the pay for most judicial officers is good. Judicial officers also are almost always posted in districts, not in remote rural places unlike civil officers.