INTERVIEW of Vinod Joshi: Lessons from a Delhi (Rank 29) and Uttar Pradesh (Rank 2) Judiciary Exam Topper

A. Congrats on your success! Please introduce yourself to our readers. (Kindly mention your rank and year of examination as well).

Thank you ☺. I am Vinod Joshi. I hail from town/district Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.

I was Rank 2 in UPPCSJ (Uttar Pradesh Judiciary) 2016 and Rank 29 in DJS (Delhi Judiciary) 2015 (both the results were declared around the same time).

I had done my schooling from Pithoragarh only. Then I did my B.Sc in PCM from Kumaun University, Nainital, from the only college in the hometown then. After my graduation, I moved to Delhi, from where I pursued my LLB from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University.

I had never planned to pursue law, in fact, didn’t know anything about the field, till I came to Delhi (heard about CLAT only then :D). So as fate may have it, I completed my LLB in 2015. Though it should have been completed in 2014 only, the health issues I was grappling with then, made it 2015.

B. What made you choose judiciary as a career option?

Well there is no short and straight answer to that, but what I like the most about the service, is the work satisfaction, you get(which I hope I will), the peace and independence, which is very crucial in any service to do well, and the authority and confidence that comes with it.

Moreover, it’s the most you can achieve in the field of Law, being a fresh LLB graduate (so that takes care of your competitive instincts too). The additional factor was that I was inclined towards government services as having a humble financial background. I had also cleared exams to some other govt. posts, but didn’t join the same eventually.

I had no knowledge about the Judicial Services until I completed my LLB, though many of my friends and classmates were preparing for the same during college. My first competitive Exam which I appeared for after my LLB was CBI APP Exam, which I cleared. That gave me the confidence to appear for Judicial Services.

C. What’s the pattern of the UP Judiciary and Delhi Judiciary exams?

UPPCS(J) has three stages: prelims, mains and finally the interview. The preliminary exam consists of two objective papers having 150 questions each.

The first one is general knowledge while the second one is law. One mark is allotted to each question in Paper 1 and Paper 2 has two marks for each question. There was no negative marking when I appeared for UPPCS(J), however, it has been introduced in the new notification for UPPCS(J).

The mains exam in UP Judiciary comprises five papers of 200 marks each viz: Language, General Studies, Substantive Law, Procedural Law, and Local Laws & IPC.

The candidates scoring minimum cut off marks in mains exam are called for personality test conducted by UPPSC.

The interview board is headed by a UPPSC member and the other members include a sitting judge of UP High Court and legal experts(generally professors).

DJS exam has also got three stages too; prelims, mains, and interview.

The prelims exam in Delhi Judiciary has one objective question paper of 200 marks. It includes questions pertaining to Law, GK, English language & comprehension and legal aptitude.

The mains exam comprises four papers viz: General knowledge and language, Criminal Law, Civil Law 1 and Civil Law 2.

The personality test is conducted at the High Court Of Delhi by the board of Hon’ble Chief Justice along with two seniormost judges and Chief Secretary to Govt. Of Delhi.

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What was your overall strategy for DJS and UPJS prelims?

For UPPCS(J) prelims I focussed more on the Law paper, as it fetches you more marks. However, I didn’t overlook the GK paper and relied on the current affairs section.

The questions from static GK are generally tough and factual so I had to score well in the current affairs.

I had my prime focus on the bare act. Bare acts along with your basic books and solving objective questions, especially previous year papers was what I did for the law part. Successive revisional sessions are crucial to retaining what you have learned.

For GK and current affairs, I read the newspaper daily and one current affairs magazine every month (choose any, which have both news and facts, so that it helps you for pre and mains. It is better to continue with the same magazine every month).

Ghatna Chakra (Hindi only) is a good option for UPPCS(J).

For the Delhi Judicial Service Examination too I had the same strategy. I didn’t prepare additionally for the English language part.

2. What were your overall strategy for DJS and UPJS mains?

In UPPCS(J) mains, for GS paper I read and revised the NCERT books and current affairs magazine. For the language paper, I relied on newspaper reading, especially the editorial section for essay and precis writing.

Sometimes used to read articles in the Hindi newspaper, which helped in translation. The questions in the law papers are generally direct and focus mostly on legal concepts supplemented by a few application based questions, which are mostly asked from the illustrations part of the bare acts.

So the bare acts (essential ingredients of each section) along with the illustrations and of course, the revision of basic standard books, helped here too.

There’s a question in procedural law paper, where you have to either draft a plaint/written statement or write a judgement. I drafted the plaint/written statement and didn’t need any additional preparation for that as I had drafting as a subject during my final year in CLC.

The DJS mains is quite different, with respect to the law papers. The questions are framed practically with case-based approach. You have to write judgements, orders and frame charges.

I read the current SCC and DLT cases to analyse and practice judgement writing. The case material provided to us during LLB from our college were of great help.

Being a DU Law student, you have the additional benefit of writing case-based questions during semester exams. I relied mostly on judgement writing and solving a few previous papers. For GS I had the same strategy as for UPPCS(J).

2.B. What makes a good answer in the mains in Delhi Judicial Services Examination and Uttar Pradesh Judicial Services Examination?

Well, to put it simply, you should assure that you provide what you have been asked for!

Firstly, you should understand as to what they have asked. Different terms appearing in the question like explain,  discuss,  critically examine etc,  should be kept in mind while answering the question.

Secondly, the answer should be succinct yet exhaustive. The answer should be supported with relevant judgements and illustrations when required, but not unnecessarily.

3. How did you prepare for the Judicial Examination’s interview?

I didn’t prepare additionally for the interview. It’s a personality test and I believe a few days of preparation cannot alter your personality too much.

However, mock interviews might be beneficial to calm you down and boost your confidence.

In my case though, I went there without any preconceived notions and focussed on keeping myself positive and relaxed. Revised current affairs and stopped studying anything a week before the interviews.

4. Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts (prelims and mains)?

  • IPC – K D Gaur
  • Contract Law – Avatar Singh
  • Torts- R K Bangia
  • Constitution- V N Shukla
  • CrPC-  R V Kelkar.
  • CPC- C K Takwani & Mulla as referral book.
  • Evidence –  Rattan Lal and Dhiraj Lal.
  • Specific relief – Lexis Nexis and M P Tandon
  • Transfer of property act – Dr R K Sinha (CLA publications)
  • Hindu law- Dr Poonam Pradhan Saxena’s lectures on family law.
  • Muslim law- Aqil Ahmad.

For other subjects, I focussed on bare acts and case laws.  Also dukkis for revisional purposes.

4.B. Does UPJS and DJS have local laws? Which books did you refer for these? How did you prepare for these subjects?

Yes, UP does have local laws and 150 marks are allotted to it in the mains exam. For UP Zamindari abolition and land reforms Act, I referred to the book by R R Maurya and the bare act.

For others viz: consolidation of holdings act, urban buildings( regulation of letting, rent and eviction) Act, UP Municipalities act, UP Panchayat Act and UP Urban Planning and Development Act, I only read the bare acts.

5. What were your ‘secret sauce’ recipes, if any? 🙂

Haha, there is no secret as such. But I do believe in maximum output for your hard work. The exam pattern should drive your preparations. Don’t get yourself drowned in loads of books without analyzing the exam patterns.

6. For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in for the preparation of Judicial Services Examinations?

I started preparing for it in 2015 after I completed my LLB. There was no specific time I dedicated it to the preparation every day.

Some days it may be around 7 hours and 1 hour on others and 12 hours in the last week before exams. Depended upon how much I could soak in on that particular day. But my focus was on to learn a new thing/topic each day.

6.B. How many attempts did you give and what were your learnings from each attempt?

For DJS, it was my first attempt, while for UPPCSJ it was my second. I couldn’t clear my first UPPCSJ mains by 4 marks but I was happy and disappointed at the same time.

Happy because I attempted the exam despite being sick and disappointed that I didn’t take good care of my health during the exam days.

7. What were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made during your preparations for the Judiciary exams, and how did you overcome them?

The first major challenge was not knowing as how to go about the preparations. But that got away after I started reading the bare acts and the basics.

The second challenge was my health. I have a knack of getting sick during exams, which I haven’t overcome till now but I try to take extra care now.

The third was that I have always been a lazy writer. That cost me in DJS mains, as I couldn’t complete a few of my papers. But I made sure that I don’t repeat the same in UPPCSJ mains and focussed on completing the papers along with writing quality answers and not just completing for the sake of it.

8. What were the most important ‘right things/strategies’ you implemented?

The habit of reading and revising of bare acts along with cases. I am glad that I kept it simple. Didn’t overdo anything, study as much as I could retain. Daily newspaper reading was one thing which helped me throughout.

9. Did you take coaching from anywhere?

I didn’t take any coaching so cannot say as to how much it helps.

10. How was your interview during your DJS and UPPCSJ journey and what sort of questions were asked?

Both the interviews were great. The one for DJS comprised of questions ranging from law, Constitution and general awareness.

Interalia, I was asked about the status of Delhi as an IT/state along with relevant provisions, about the reasons behind the Kedarnath tragedy, it being natural or man-made; a few basic terms from Sanskrit as they saw it being a subject during my matriculation, a question pertaining to bankers book evidence act was asked regarding the requirement of certificate under Sec 65B for bank related documents.

The basic question of why a judge was there along with some situation based questions to judge your integrity and non-partisanship.

The questions in UPPCSJ interview were mostly based on knowledge of law and especially the Constitution. Was asked about the article 35A of the Constitution as it was in the news those days, about the difference between article 20 and Sec 300 CrPC.

A few questions from evidence act. Also focussed on ADR mechanisms especially in criminal law, along with landmark cases regarding settlement in IPC cases.

11. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers who are preparing for Judiciary Exams.

Well! Especially to the people preparing for any competitive exam, that patience and perseverance pays off, enjoy the phase of preparations as you will always cherish it.

You learn not only in terms of knowledge but also about different aspects of life. The struggle you put in today will take you miles, make sure you keep learning.

Preparation is just one phase, new challenges are always awaiting. Good luck.


This post was first published on: 12 Dec 2018

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