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Interview with Anurag Verma, Civil Judge in Bihar, on Acing Judiciary Exams

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Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers (Name, Rank, previous job experience, etc.,)

Hi everyone! I am Anurag Verma. I did my undergraduate studies from Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar. While I was pursuing LL.M in Business Law from NLSIU, Bangalore, I got selected in the 30th Bihar Judicial Services Examination as a Civil Judge/Judicial Magistrate. I secured 105th Rank, clearing it in my 1st attempt.

Q. Where did you get the idea to pursue judicial services? Please tell us about your preparation journey for Judicial Exams.

I have always nurtured the urge of doing something for society from a very young age. I hail from a family of government servants. For me, becoming a judge not only meant a matter of pride and prestige but also meant getting an opportunity to work for those at the grass-root level, who look up to the system as a harbinger of hope and justice.

Preparation for judicial services examinations requires a focused mind with a planned framework. I made each day’s schedule to cover the whole syllabus in a limited time.

I studied for 10-12 hours every day, in which I gave 2-3 hours for reading general knowledge, recent judgments, and newspaper. There is no fixed strategy for clearing the exam, what one requires is patience and determination, your hard work will pay off.

Q. Did you take any coaching to clear the judiciary?

I didn’t take any coaching for judiciary. But for Law Optional in UPSC, I took coaching from Ambition Law Institute, New Delhi, and took 2 weeks’ crash course at the time of Mains from Amit Law Institute, Lucknow.

Civil Judge

Q. You are a Civil Judge in Bihar. Was this your first preference?

I was born and brought up in UP so Bihar was not my 1st preference but since it was the home state of my parents so it was in my Top 3 preferences.

Q. How many other states have you attempted before Bihar?

Before Bihar, I had attempted UP PCS(J) Examination in 2018 in which I reached till the Mains stage.

Q. What motivated you to take Civil Judge as a career path?

Pursuing law and becoming a Judge was actually destined. Initially after completing my LL.B, I chose to give the UPSC Civil Services examination. I cleared UPSC Prelims 3 times in a row. But after that, I did introspection about what actually interests me.

Being a very dignified and respected profession, Judicial Services has always attracted me but somewhere I was caught in a dilemma between Civil Services and Judicial Services. Finally, after my 3rd attempt at UPSC, I decided to choose Judicial Services as my dream job and started preparing for it with full determination and commitment.

Q. There are three stages to this exam. What was your approach? Did you prepare in stages or your focus was always Mains oriented from the beginning?

A 3 stage examination requires strategic preparation with a holistic approach. My advice to the aspirants is to start preparing with the Mains syllabus at the beginning and focus more on major Acts like CrPC, CPC, IPC, Evidence Act, Constitution, Personal Laws, Mercantile Laws, etc. This would definitely reduce your workload and last moment’s anxiety.

Prelims preparation takes 2-3 months. It happens only if before prelims examination one is well versed with the Mains syllabus. It is advisable to prepare concise self-notes of each subject that will help you in a quick revision for the Mains examination.

Q. Many aspirants don’t know how to handle interview questions, and nervousness, anxiety, and under-confidence are common before the interview. What is your suggestion for them?

In Bihar, there is a minimum qualifying mark for the interview. So for aspirants of Bihar Judicial Services, interview is never to be taken lightly. One should give a reasonable number of mock interviews if one is feeling under-confident.

The interview is basically an assessment of a candidate’s suitability for the position of a judge. The Interview Board assesses your confidence, ability, and commitment to the position. The interview is a mix of legal and personal questions. One should have clarity of concepts of all the law subjects, your background, home town, academics, work experience, recent legal developments, etc.

Questions asked to me were mostly from substantive laws like the Constitution and the IPC, with a few questions asked from procedural laws like the CrPC, and the CPC.

In situations where you don’t know the answer to a particular question asked, politely accept your lack of knowledge/understanding regarding that question, and don’t beat around the bush.

Q It is a truth that many aspirants don’t know what to expect when they join the service. We want to know what your day as a Civil judge is like. Can you share your day-to-day schedule with us?

Well, court timings for most of the year are around 10 AM to 4:30 PM with a half-hour lunch in between. In Bihar when one joins service, there is a 1 year Probation period in which one undergoes 6 months of training in the Judicial Academy and 6 months of on-job training in the district. After 1 year of training, judicial officers are made Judicial Magistrate 2nd Class for a further period of 6 months. Then they start holding independent courts as Presiding Officers (PO). Approximately after 1.5 years from the date of joining, one is made JM 1st Class in Bihar after which major judicial work starts.

Court hour is basically divided into 2 halves. Noting deposition of witnesses usually happens in one half and Bail applications, motions on petitions by advocates, and hearing arguments in another half. In the evening, usually 1-2 hours are spent on studying records listed on the next date and preparation of judgments, etc.

Q. Sir, the reader will surely want to know what kind of cases you hear on a day-to-today basis as a Civil Judge.

The type of cases depends on the current posting of a judicial officer. On the Criminal side, there are basically 2 types of cases – complaint cases and police cases i.e. cases instituted on FIR (commonly called GR cases). On Civil Side, initially, officers are made Additional Munsif or Munsif (as the case may be).

Q. You were once a law student. And now you are a judge. How did you adapt the qualities of a judge? Is there some training involved?

There is a gradual process by which a law student is transformed into a judicial officer and it takes time. In all states today, there is an institutionalized training program in which State Judicial Academies play a crucial role. There are numerous refresher courses and seminars, and special guest lectures in which leading legal luminaries of the country impart valuable knowledge and tips for efficient court management.

Q. Please share some tips for our young minds who want to be part of the Judiciary.

For aspirants of judicial services, I would advise them to be confident and focused to clear the examination with flying colors. Candidates must go through every subject given in the BJS syllabus thoroughly as each and every subject is equally important. This exam requires great hard work and commitment with proper planning and determination.

Do away from all kinds of distractions, keep working hard, analyze your mistakes and weaknesses, and learn from them. Success is bound to follow.

Q. Lastly, three qualities you think are necessary for any aspirant to become a successful judicial officer.

1) Hard work, 2) Good command over each and every part of the syllabus, and 3) Perseverance i.e ability to study for an extended period of time each day for at least 6 months – 1year.

Read more interviews of Civil Judges/Judicial Magistrates here.

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