Eligibility criteria for judiciary exams in India & local language requirements

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This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO and Kashish Khattar, Team LawSikho.

To qualify as a young judge in India is a matter of prestige and great accomplishment. It requires a certain level of discipline and commitment to qualify as a judge in a country of a billion people and 2 million lawyers.

The Indian judicial system is designed in a manner where there are several courts at different levels in every district of a given state with different mandates. There are also specialised courts for specific statutes or purposes. The highest court in a district is the district and sessions court.

Each state conducts its own recruitment process of judges, through examinations and interviews. There is a lot of similarity in how different states select their judges, but there are many peculiar aspects. It would also appear that the criteria to become a judge is designed in such a way that local candidates will have some advantage.

In reality though, candidates often appear in multiple state exams and even get selected in many different states. Here is one such candidate who cleared 4 different state judiciary exams: https://youtu.be/9-GmYUX47sA

Approximately 70,000 aspirants apply for Judicial Services Examination each year while only 1%-2% end up clearing the examinations successfully. All states have a preliminary and mains exams, followed by an interview round. The entire process from writing preliminary exam to interview round and announcement of final selected candidates can take upto 1 year or more.

Lower and Higher Judiciary Exams

The judicial services examinations have two entry levels: The lower judiciary service & the higher judiciary service.

The Lower judiciary services essentially comprises three cadres of judges: District Judges, Senior Civil Judges & Civil Judges (Junior Division). These judges have civil as well as criminal jurisdiction. These exams are conducted by public service commissions or the High Courts of the respective states. They put out advertisements and notices.

The Higher judicial services or HJS is open for lawyers who have some experience under their belt. This experience is typically seven years. The syllabus for these exams are typically the same. The added advantage for competing and passing by clearing the higher judiciary exams is that the candidate gets posted as an additional district judge way above the lower judicial service officers. It also opens the door for promotion to the High Courts of respective states.

What is the Judicial Service Examination pattern like?

Judicial Services exams are conducted in three stages:

Factors

Preliminary Examination

Mains Examination

Viva-Voce/Personal Interview

Exam Type

The Prelims is an objective type examination. It acts as a screening test for the Mains exam.

The mains is a subjective type examination, which comprises of three to four papers

( Depends State-wise).

Candidates are evaluated based on general knowledge, personality and aptitude among other determinants.

Qualifying Marks For General & SC/ST Categories

The 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 Criteria

The marks are not calculated for preparing the final merit list.

The marks secured by applicants are counted for the final selection.

The final step of selection to become a judge.

What is the state-wise eligibility criteria?

In India, each state has their own Judicial Services Exam with all of them having their own eligibility criteria with regards to their age, language, citizenship etc. The High Courts or the Public Service Commission of that states are typically given the responsibility to appoint judicial officers.

We have 25 High Courts in India. The Gauhati High Court is the High Court of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. The Gauhati High Court takes care of appointment, selection and training of all these states. Furthermore, the other High Court which works under this mechanism is the Bombay High Court at Goa which takes care of appointment of judicial officers in the state. Punjab and Haryana has a single High Court in Chandigarh as well.

The general eligibility criteria to apply for these examinations is as follows:

Entry Level Examination

Educational Qualification Requirement

Experience Required

1.

Lower Judiciary Services

LL.B degree from a recognised institute or university and enrollment as an advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961

No experience required

2.

Higher Judiciary Services

LL.B degree

A minimum of seven years of experience in litigation

All applicants have to be a citizen of India (except those applying to Punjab Judicial Services Exam)

Let us take a look at the state-wise criteria for these examinations:

Arunachal Pradesh

Age Criteria

  • Upto 35 years. No limit on the attempts are stated in the notification.
  • Upto 38 years for Candidates of SC & ST category belonging to the respective states.

Local Language

Candidates should have a stronghold in english as there is a 100 marks paper which tests essay, precise writing and grammar. No other local language is tested, which means those who know English well and no other language could apply for this judiciary exam.

Assam

Age Criteria

  • Upto 38 years for the general category. No limit on attempts is stated.
  • Upto 43 years for candidates of SC & ST category belonging to the respective state.

Local language: You should be proficient in the official language of Assam, i.e., the Assamese language. In Paper V of the exam, which is qualifying in nature, the candidate has to score a minimum 35% marks in a test of Assamese language.

                              Click Above

Appearance restriction: no restrictions

You can appear as many times as you wish as long as you satisfy age criteria.

Karnataka

Age Criteria

  • Upto 35 years.
  • Upto 38 years for Candidates of SC & ST category belonging to the respective states.

Local language

There is a local language paper where candidates will have to convert passages from Kannada to English and English to Kannada. The passages are typically taken up from judgments, depositions and documents.

Other Criteria

  • The applicant must have an LLB from a University established by law in India and must have been enrolled as an Advocate.
  • The applicant must not be dismissed or removed from service or compulsorily retired by any High Court, Government or Statutory or Local Authority or another employer.
  • Must not have been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude or who is or has been permanently debarred or disqualified by the High Court or the Union Public Service Commission or any State Public Service Commission from appearing for examinations or selections conducted by it or has been removed from its roll by any Bar Council.

Jammu & Kashmir

Age Criteria

  • 18-35 years. No limit on attempts is stated.
  • The candidates of the reserved category such as SC and ST will be offered the relaxation in the upper age.

Other Criteria

  • Candidates should possess Bachelor of Law of University/ Barrister of England, Barrister of England or Northern Ireland or a member of the faculty of Advocates in Scotland or any other equivalent bachelor degree in law recognized by the Government of India.
  • Candidates must have permanent residence in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Local language

Non J&K candidates cannot apply. That is why the language criteria is not of much importance here. Moreover, in the compulsory English language paper, the candidates will have to convert passages from English into Urdu and vice versa.

Kerala

Age Criteria

  • Upto 34 years. No limit on attempts stated.
  • Candidates of the reserved category will be given the legitimate relaxation in their upper age.

Local language

The english exam has a section where the candidates have to convert passages from english to malayalam and vice versa. These passages are from depositions.

Maharashtra

Age Criteria

  • 21-35 years. No limit on attempt is stated.
  • The relaxation for the candidates of the OBC category is 3 years.
  • Candidates of the SC and ST category will get the 5 years relaxation in the upper age.

Other Criteria

  • He must have the permanent domicile in the state of Maharashtra to get the reservation benefits.

Local language

The Mains paper is in Marathi language or English. No paper on local language as such. However, you could be disqualified in even interview rounds if it is felt that you are not proficient in Marathi language.

Himachal Pradesh

Age Criteria

  • 21-35 years. No limit on attempt is stated.
  • The relaxation for the candidates of the OBC category is 3 years.
  • Candidates of the SC and ST category will get the 5 years relaxation in the upper age.

Other Criteria

  • Candidates must have qualified a degree in Law from an institute recognized by the Bar Council of India.

Local language

Candidate has to attempt an exam in Hindi.

Odisha

Age Criteria

  • 23-35 years. No limit on attempts is stated.
  • The relaxation for the candidates of the OBC category is 3 years.
  • Candidates of the SC and ST category will get the 5 years relaxation in the upper age. There are no prescribed number of attempts for candidates.

Local language

The candidate should speak Odia fluently and also should have passed an examination in Odia language equivalent to that of Middle English School standard. There is also a compulsory translation part from English to Odia and vice versa.

Rajasthan

Age Criteria

  • 23-35 years. 6 attempts allowed.
  • Candidates of the reserved category will be given legitimate relaxation in their upper age.

Other Criteria

  • They must have the domicile of Rajasthan to take reservation benefits.

Uttarakhand

Age Criteria

  • 22-35 years. No limit on attempts.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.

Other Criteria

  • Candidates must have the domicile of Uttarakhand in order to take the benefits of reservation.

Language

  • They must possess a thorough knowledge of Hindi in Devnagri script.
  • They must also possess Basic knowledge of Computer Operations.

Bihar

Age Criteria

  • 22-35 years. Only 6 attempts are allowed.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.

Other Criteria

  • They must have the domicile of Bihar to take reservation benefits.

Local Language

They must possess a thorough knowledge of Hindi in Devnagri script. They must also possess Basic knowledge of Computer operations.

Jharkhand

Age Criteria

  • 22-35 years. No limit on attempts.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.

Local Language

English and Hindi are tested in the language paper.

Uttar Pradesh

Age Criteria

  • 22-35 years. 4 attempts are allowed.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category, no cap on attempts.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category, no cap on attempts.

Other Criteria

Applicants must have the domicile of Uttar Pradesh to get the reservation and the relaxation.

Must be an Advocate registered under the provisions of the Advocate Act 1961 or a Barrister of Northern Ireland or England or a Member Faculty of Advocates in Scotland and is permitted to practice in the Court or Courts subordinate thereto.

Local language

They must possess a thorough knowledge of Hindi in Devnagri script.

Punjab

Age Criteria

  • 21- 37 years. 6 attempts allowed for the general category.
  • Upto 42 years for Candidates of SC & ST categories. 9 for other categories.
  • Upto 45 years for all States/ Central Government employees.
  • Upto 47 years for Physically Handicapped Persons who have domicile of Punjab.

Other Criteria

  • Candidates can be a Citizen of India or A citizen of Nepal or A subject of Bhutan.

Local Language

Punjabi upto Matric or its equivalent level.

Madhya Pradesh

Age Criteria

  • 21-35 years. 6 attempts allowed.
  • Candidates of the reserved category will be offered the valid age relaxation in their upper age.

Other Criteria

  • They must have a domicile of Madhya Pradesh to get the benefits of the reservation.

Local Language

Translation of Hindi to English and English to Hindi in one of the compulsory exams.

Goa

Age Criteria

  • 22-35 years. There is no official notification regarding the number of attempts.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.
  • Candidates with the permanent domicile of Goa and those who belong to reserved category will be offered relaxation for Judicial Service Exam in the upper age limit.

Local language

Candidates will have knowledge of Konkani and Marathi language and they should be able to read both these languages and should translate them into English and vice versa.

                             Click Above

Chhattisgarh

Age Criteria

  • 18-35 years. No limits on attempts stated as such.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.

Local language

English and Hindi will be used for prelims and mains.

West Bengal

Age Criteria

  • 21- 32 years. 3 attempts allowed for general.
  • Upto 37 years for the candidates of the SC and ST category. 5 attempts allowed.
  • Uptoo 35 for Candidates of the OBC category. 5 attempts allowed.

Local language

There is a translation from English to Bengali in the English exam. And a compulsory language paper.

Mizoram

Age Criteria

  • Upto 35 years. No attempt limit given as such.
  • Upto 40 years for Candidates of SC & ST category.

Local Language

  • Knowledge of Mizo language of at least Middle School standard (spoken, reading and writing skills).

Nagaland

Age Criteria

  • Upto 35 years. No limit on attempts is stated as such.
  • Upto 38 years for Candidates of SC & ST category.

Local language

English is the sole language used in these exams.

Sikkim

Age Criteria

  • Upto 35 years. No limit on attempts is stated as such.

Other Criteria

  • Candidates must have adequate knowledge of Computer applications which is tested at the time of viva.

Language

  • Candidates must be able to communicate in Nepali, or any other language of the State.

Delhi

Age Criteria

  • Below 32 years of age. No limits on the number of attempts.

Other Criteria

  • Candidates qualified to be admitted as Advocates under Advocates Act, 1961 or currently practising as Advocates in India.

Local language

You are given passages to be translated from English to Hindi and vice versa.

Haryana

Age Criteria

  • 22-35 years. No attempt limit is stated as such.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.

Other Criteria

  • The candidate must have completed LLB from a Government & BCI approved University in India or must be an Advocate enrolled under the provisions of the Advocate Act, 1961 entitled to practice in the High Court or Courts subordinate thereto.

Local language

Compulsory paper of Hindi for 100 marks.

Manipur

Age Criteria:

  • Upto 35 years. No limit on attempts is stated.
  • 40 years for the candidates of SC and ST category.
  • 38 years for the Candidates of the OBC category.

Local Language

Knowledge of Manipuri is necessary as it is the official state language.

How can LawSikho help in your preparation for Judiciary Exams?

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This is a course which is designed for you and can be customised according to your needs and aspirations. Our experts have cleared judicial examinations and left to help other aspirants because their calling was teaching and mentoring.

We have a brilliant team who is working towards your success.

For local languages, except for Hindi, you do not really need any training. In case of Hindi, we are providing thorough training for those who need it. Especially those who studied in English medium schools should get the Hindi training if they are writing the exam in any of the Hindi belt states.

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