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This article is written by Harshit Bhimrajka, from NLU, Patiala, and it discusses the Odisha judicial service examinations.

Introduction

The Odisha judicial service examination is conducted every year by the Odisha High Court – Cuttack for recruitment to Civil Judge Cadre posts. The notification is published on the High Court’s official website at www.orissahighcourt.nic.in and/or the website of the Odisha public service commission (If the exam is conducted by the OPSC) at Odisha Public Service Commission.

Overall plan of Odisha Judicial Service OJS Civil Judge exam

Direct recruitment to the Cadre of Civil Judges will be through the Odisha Judicial Service Exam consisting of three parts; viz- preliminary written examination, main written examination and viva-voce interview in the manner provided in the rules and in accordance with the syllabus as specified below:

OPSC Civil Judge preliminary exam syllabus

The preliminary exam will be of one paper carrying 100 marks with duration of one and half hours with objective type questions of multiple choice (I.e. 100 questions of one mark each with negative marks of twenty-five percent of the marks allotted to a question for every wrong answer) on the following subjects and the OMR answer sheets will be scrutinized by computer.

Preliminary written examination

(a) Constitution of India;

(b) Code of Civil Procedure;

(c) Code of Criminal Procedure;

(d) Evidence Act;

(e) Indian Penal Code;

(f) Limitation Act;

(g) Transfer of Property Act;

(h) Contract Act;

(i) Law of Succession (Indian Succession Act and Hindu Succession Act); and

(j) Specific Relief Act.

N.B. – The Commission shall call the eligible candidates for main written examination who have secured not less than 35 (thirty-five) per-centum of marks in case of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates and 40 (forty) per-centum of marks in case of others in the preliminary written examination.

The main written examination shall be on the following two compulsory papers and three optional papers. Each of the compulsory subjects shall carry 150 marks with a duration of 2.5 (two and half) hours and each of the optional subjects shall carry 150 marks with a duration of three hours.

Odisha Judicial Service Civil Judge: main written exam

Compulsory Papers

PAPER -1 for 150 marks

General English

(a) Translation and retranslation of ten lines each.

(b) A short essay of about 150 words.

(c) Precis writing consisting of 300 words.

(d) 1 (one) passage of about 500 words with 5 questions.

N.B. – For “Translation and retranslation of ten lines each”, there will be two passages, that is, one in English to be translated into Odia and another in Odia to be retranslated into English.

PAPER – 2 for 150 marks

Procedural laws

(a) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

(b) The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

(c) The Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Optional Papers

A candidate may choose any three subjects among the following:

(i) Law of Crime & Law of Torts — 150 Marks

(ii) Personal Law – 150 marks

(a) Hindu Law

(b) Mohammedan Law

(iii) Law of Property – 150 marks

(a) Transfer of property Act, 1882

(b) Specific Relief Act, 1963

(c) Indian Limitation Act, 1963

(iv) Law of Contract – 150 marks

(a) Indian Contract Act, 1872

(b) Sales of Goods Act, 1930

(c) Partnership Act, 1932

(d) Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881

(v) Jurisprudence and Constitution of India – 150 marks

NOTE

(a) A candidate shall answer the papers in English unless otherwise directed.

(b) The standard of papers shall be that of LL.B. course and in respect of compulsory Paper-I, it shall be that of a degree course.

(c) The Commission shall call the candidates for interview who have secured not less than 45 (forty five) per-centum of marks in aggregate and a minimum of 33 (thirty three) per- centum of marks in each paper in the main written examination.

Important

(a) The candidates are required to select any three Optional Subjects from the drop down box of the online application form submitted for the preliminary written examination, failing which his/her application will be rejected. No correspondence on that score will be entertained.

(b) The optional subjects for the main written examination, mentioned by the candidate in the online application form, will be treated as final. No request for change of optional subject(s) will be entertained.

(c) The candidates shall be allowed to appear at the main written examination with the optional subjects as mentioned in the online application form.

Viva-voce interview

Interview shall carry 100 (one hundred) marks. Questions to be asked in the interview may not ordinarily be outside the syllabus prescribed for the main written examination. In the interview, questions covering broad national and international issues and matters of common interest in the field of arts and science may also be asked.

Provided that the names of the candidates shall not be included in the merit list unless such candidates secure a minimum of 40% (forty per-centum) of marks in the interview.

Eligibility and age limit:  Odisha judicial service OJS Civil Judge recruitment

(i) A candidate must not be below 23 (twenty-three) years of age and not above 35 (thirty-five) years of age on the date mentioned in the official notification. Age relaxation shall be as per government rules prescribed for the purpose.

(ii) The maximum age limit shall be relaxed by five years in case of candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, SEBC and women candidates (Refer to the official advertisement of the year for details).

(iii) The maximum age limit in respect of departmental candidates is not more than 39 (thirty-nine) years.

Note: A candidate who comes under more than one category mentioned above shall be eligible for only one upper age relaxation benefit, which shall be considered most beneficial to him/her. The date of birth entered in the high school certificate or equivalent Certificate issued by the concerned board/council will be accepted by the Commission.

Educational qualification and experience for Odisha judicial service OJS Civil Judge

(i) A candidate must be a graduate in Law of a University or Institution recognized by the Government.

(ii) A Superintendent or a Ministerial Officer in the High Court or any Civil or Criminal Court subordinate to the High Court or an Assistant Law Officer or Translator of the Law Department of Government, shall also be eligible for appearing at the competitive examination for recruitment to the posts of Civil Judges in Odisha Judicial Service, if he/she is a graduate in Law of a University recognized by the State Government, has approved service in the High Court or in any Civil or Criminal Court subordinate to the High Court or in the Law department of not less than seven years by the last date fixed for submission of online applications for the said competitive examination, has been recommended by the respective appointing authority; and is not more than 39 (thirty nine years) of age on the date mentioned in the official notification.

Other eligibility conditions for OPSC Odisha judicial service exam

(i) A candidate must be a citizen of India;

(ii) He/she must be of good character and of sound health and free from any organic defect and physical infirmity;

(iii) He/she must be able to speak, read and write Odia fluently and must have passed an examination in Odia language equivalent to that of Middle English School standard (i.e. Class/Standard-VII) within the last date;

(iv) A person who has more than one spouse living will not be eligible for appointment unless the state government has exempted his/her case from operation of this limitation for any good and sufficient reason; and

(v) Government servants, whether permanent or temporary or on probation against a vacancy in permanent/temporary posts in any department of government, are eligible to appear at the examination, provided they possess the requisite qualification and are within the prescribed age limit. However, they are required to submit undertakings to the effect that they have informed in writing to their Head of office/department that they have applied for the examination.

Interview

There are some questions asked by the students after they cleared the OJS:

What was your overall strategy for OJS?

I had primarily focused on building firm foundations of my fundamentals of core legal subjects and emerging law dynamics throughout my law school career under the able guidance of my Professors at my alma mater— “University Law College, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar”. Being regular to each classroom lecture and consistent academic excellence didn’t just help me graduate as a Gold Medalist in law but also helped me in understanding law to the core. It’s been a long journey of all I have acquired in my 5 Years Integrated B.A.LL.B. (Hons.), first year of LL.M. (Business Laws) and eleven months of advocacy in the Orissa High Court. To be precise, my passion for law made me achieve a lot of accolades, experiences and recognition, which gave me the winning-edge. My achievements and experiences in moot courts, trial advocacy, legal drafting, judgement writing, legislative drafting, debate, devil’s advocate, turncoat debate, extempore, elocution, essay writing, paper presentation and many more helped me shape my swords for the Judiciary Exam too as it helped me know the practical application of the laws contained in the texts.

How did you prepare for prelims and mains?

I didn’t have any specific preparation for prelims and mains, to be honest. I did my graduation with utmost dedication and sincerity. Starting from attending every lecture, preparing notes on certain grey areas of the curriculum not available in the textbooks, reading as many judgments as possible, referring to the international and national journals of law, and participating in every type of competitions related to law sharpened my intellect. I had chalked out the pattern of the questions coming for the OJS Examinations in the final year of my graduation by analyzing all the previous years’ questions since 1975. 

So, I was comfortable with the pattern, how to write and what not to write; and I feel, at this phase, half of one’s preparation is done. I overlooked all the bare acts for the Preliminary Written Examination within 2-3 days. Since I was accustomed to the pattern of the examination and the roadmap to excel at the available time-frame, I didn’t have to struggle at the first level. After the results of the Prelims were declared, I started some serious preparation of 45 days by going through the textbooks, class notes, recent developments in law, and bare acts. I devoted 13-15 hours per day having weekly deadlines to meet. I had opted for the optional subjects namely, Law of Property, Law of Contracts & Personal Law. I devoted the maximum chunk of my preparation towards the Procedural Laws. I also practised the translation and retranslation for the General English paper from the previous years’ questions. The drafting work at the Chamber helped me in this aspect to a great extent. This is how I prepared.

How did you prepare for the interview?

I believe that the interview is not just about performance, but how well one reflects one’s true personality and how suitable one is for the post. I watched innumerable videos on positive human traits to boost my confidence. I focused on recent as well as remarkable landmark judgments of the Supreme Court, recent developments in law, amendments, basic connotations of legal terms from the entire OJS Mains Syllabus, geographical, historical and social significance of the State of Odisha, along with the hierarchy, constitution and powers of the Indian Judiciary. Also focussed on my diploma courses, international, national publications and most debatable law topics and issues of national and international concern. The best take away for the interviews shall be—“Just be yourself!”.

Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts of prelims and mains?

The books and materials I preferred for my preparations are enlisted herein below:

For Prelims—Only Bare Acts and Previous Years’ Questions. 

For Mains:

  • C.P.C.—C. K. Takwani
  • Cr.P.C.—R. V. Kelkar and S. N. Mishra
  • Evidence—Ratanlal & Dhirajlal
  • Transfer of Property—Dr. R. K. Sinha
  • Specific Relief—Dr. R. K. Bangia
  • Limitation—J. D. Jain
  • Contract—Dr. R. K. Bangia, Avtar Singh
  • Partnership—Dr. R. K. Bangia
  • Negotiable Instrument—Dr. R. K. Bangia
  • Sale of Goods—Dr. R. K. Bangia
  • Mercantile Law—N. D. Kapoor
  • Hindu Law—R. K. Agarwala, Dr. Basanta K. Sharma
  • Mohammedan Law—Prof. P. C. Jain & P. K. Gupta, Aqil Ahmad

OJS has many local laws and other laws are not asked in other Judiciary exams. Which books did you refer to? How do you prepare for these subjects?

This is a wrong notion. The OJS examination syllabus doesn’t have any local laws except the state law amendments in core law papers like the Procedural Law, Law of Property, etc., which the OJS aspirants ought to know and can be easily accessed from the bare acts even.

For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in?

I completed my graduation in 5 Years Integrated B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) in August 2018. The notification for the posts of Civil Judges by the Odisha Judicial Service Examination, 2018 and got out in October 2018. I successfully applied for the same adhering to the fulfilment of the eligibility criteria. Meanwhile, I was preoccupied with my LL.M. curriculum as well as drafting works at the Chamber of a Senior Advocate, Orissa High Court. I revised all the bare acts in 2-3 days before the preliminary examinations scheduled to be held on January 13th, 2019. After qualifying the Odisha Judicial Services Preliminary Examinations, 2018 in January, 2019, I devoted almost 13-15 hours per day to level up the competition and fulfil my ambition.

Do you think if one is aiming for Judiciary exams he/she should start preparing from the college itself? If yes, then what would be the strategy for the same?

Undoubtedly, yes! This is the only secret behind my success. I would focus on this more than anything as building firm foundations from Day 1 at the law school can give one the winning edge not just for the judiciary examinations, but for any aspect of a law career. What can be better than utilizing complete 5 or 3 years building on the groundwork day by day? Nothing else can serve better in the preparations. The classroom lectures for me have paved the way to understanding law in the most effective way.

How was your interview and what type of questions were asked?

My interview was interesting, brainstorming and wonderful. I faced 20 minutes of rapid-fire grilling of about 40 legal questions drawn towards my illustrative curriculum vitae and my academic credentials mentioned in the bio-data form for the Interview Board. They started with a few ice-breaking questions to test my overall personality and nervousness level. The Interview Board had three interviewers. The Chairperson of the Board congratulated me by saying, “I must say, first, you’ve a lot of accolades to your credit. Congratulations! Well Done!” Thereafter, he asked me questions basing upon my diploma courses and expert certifications, namely, ‘Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace’, ‘Sexual Violence against Children: Prevent, Protect and ‘, ‘Judicial Ethics and Accountability’ and ‘Environmental Law’. 

I was asked on the changes in Indian Criminal Law after the Nirbhaya Rape Case, admissibility of a child witness, admissibility of deaf and dumb witness, cognizance taking, issuance of processes, production of documents to prove electronic evidence, limitation in criminal cases, detailed procedure for execution of the decree, juvenile justice and changes in the JJ Act, the difference between the permanent injunction and perpetual injunction (to trick me, as both are the same), the role of the Supreme Court in striking laws, gender bias, judicial review, granting of bail in serious offences, the difference between lease and license, a complete discussion on the Sabarimala Judgement and many more. I was also asked situational questions relating to some of the above-mentioned areas.

References

  1. https://lawmint.com/judicial-services/odisha-judicial-service-examination-syllabus-overview/
  2. https://lawcorner.in/an-interview-with-reeti-tripathi/
  3. https://www.jagranjosh.com/articles/opsc-judicial-services-exam-date-eligibility-syllabus-exam-pattern-passing-marks-result-1575896353-1 

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