Harsh Vardhan Dhakar is a law graduate from 2018 who hails from Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. He secured AIR 62 in UPPCSJ 2018-19 and AIR 49 in MP Judiciary 2019.
Tell our readers about your law school life.
I got into my college in 2013 right after my higher secondary education. I studied law in School of Law, Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore. It was a 5 years degree course i.e., B.A.LL.B.(Hons.).
Did you have an affinity for academics in law school?
So, I’d like to answer the question in an affirmative manner. I was always keen on learning the new things during the college which eventually became a reason for showing a great deal of interest in the academics. Subjects like Constitution, Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 and Indian Penal Code, 1872 were given primacy.
When and why did you decide to go for judicial services?
To choose Judiciary as a profession was not a difficult choice for me as my father always wanted to see me as a Judicial officer. Early on, I had a different ambition in my mind but it didn’t take a lot to change the course.
Meeting some Judges on my way to graduation helped me significantly in developing an interest in the Judiciary. Also, my personal interests took a drastic shift like reading Poetry and listening to Ghazals, brought a noticeable change in me. And, the day when I realised that it’s time I took it seriously.
When did you start your preparation? Walk our readers through the stages of preparation.
Beginning of the 4th year made me serious about it. But before that, I focused on doing small things right like preparing for GK and Language Paper. I developed a habit of reading a good newspaper daily which every Law should have.
A Law student without having knowledge of current affairs is like a tap without water. Since then, I primarily thought about becoming a part of Judiciary. So, when one start preparing for Judiciary, one should always be mindful of previous year question papers.
These papers provide an outline which makes things clear. It is imperative to be selective during preparation. You don’t have to read everything and retain everything. If you choose to do so, it may turn out to be fatal to your progress. Law is something which no one can learn in a year or decade.
I’d like to reiterate, BE VERY SELECTIVE.
Which books did you refer for Prelims, Mains and Interview?
I relied mainly on Bare acts of the Law subjects. They hold a great value for the Prelims. This was the same for both UP & MP. My personal strategy for Prelims was to read all the bare acts for atleast 5 times before taking the exam as REVISION is pivotal for the success in the Prelims, Mains and Interview.
In MP Prelims, they ask 20 questions on GK, 10 on English and 10 on Computer. For GK, I referred to Lucent’s GK for the static part and Pratiyogita Darpan and The Hindu for Current Affairs. And, at times, Unacademy provided me great help.
As far as English And Computer are concerned, basic knowledge of both of them would do. These two subjects, even if not prepared separately, are innocuous.
Whereas in UP Prelims, there is one separate Exam of General Knowledge of 150 marks and therefore, is of paramount importance. For GK Paper, I referred to the same sources as mentioned above for MP Prelims.
The only change which I made here for this paper was the amount of time. I devoted about 1 hour daily for GK whereas for MP around 20 mins daily.
Note: For MP GK, I read Punekar’s GK book.
My book list is as follows-
- Lectures on Cr.P.C. by RV Kelkar( For Cr.P.C.)
- CK Takwani for CPC
- VP Sarthi and Batuk Lal for Evidence Law
- Principles of Criminal Law by OP Shrivastava for IPC, albeit the book, doesn’t contain every section but it is a remarkable piece on the subject.
- Avtar Singh on Contract Law and SRA
- JD Jain for Limitation Law
- Jhabwala for Transfer of Property Act
- VN Shukla for Constitutional Law
The abovementioned book list was the same for both MP and UP. Remaining subjects for MP Mains were prepared from bare acts itself.
Additional sources referred for UP were Book on Local Laws by TauseeF Raza( Singhal’s) and CLP’s book on Previous Years Mains Solved Papers.
Note- Remaining subjects were prepared from Bare Acts only.
The book list was the same as it was for Mains. For the interview, I suggest you go through the Mains syllabus. Also, legal developments and judgments should be given utmost importance.
Should the candidates read these books cover to cover or does selective reading work?
As pointed out earlier emphatically, find out the important topics on the basis of previous years papers and prepare them accordingly from the book. SAB KUCH PADHNE KO UMAR BACHEGI 😛
How should one prepare for multiple state exams considering the patterns are different?
It is apposite to ask this question to me when I’m talking about two states. Let me make it very clear to you that I had only one state in my mind and that was MP.
Now, the question would arise, how/why did I take the UP Judiciary exam?
As the notification came out, I started preparing for it but not before that. I always kept on preparing for MP. So, for other states, priority has to be set. Choose one and go for it.
Hope I make sense to you.
Did you take coaching? How would a candidate who cannot afford (considering the high fees) coaching prepare for these exams?
I did take coaching when I was in the final year of graduation in Indore. And yes, one can crack Judiciary without any coaching, too. The strategy mentioned above is a self-made one and it has worked in my favour.
For the last year, I have been preparing on my own. So, practically speaking, anyone who is not financially sound, can still make his way to the Judiciary.
NO COACHING is not equivalent to NO SUCCESS.
The chances of success being thin, how should candidates tackle setbacks?
Very true. The chances of success are very less but we require only ONE SEAT, isn’t it? If you won’t take it, someone else will have it.
It’s upto you. You are to stay optimistic throughout the journey. I have seen many aspirants preparing for years with the same zeal and fervour.
So, why can’t we??
I’d like to quote in this context Late Dr. Chandrapal Singh Sikarwar Ji who says in his book,
“Abhi toh bahut kaam karne hain mujhko,
Abhi toh shuruvaat hai zindagi ki abhi toh bahut lakshya paane hain mujhko.
Mushkilein aayengi jaate jaate mushkilein yeh keh jayengi,
Mushkilein ko mila mushkilon se koi mushkilon mein bhi jisne na himmat khoi.”
His optimism is still helping me immensely to fight against all the odds. Stay Positive! Success requires you to be affirmative in your actions.
How should candidates tackle with huge G.K syllabus?
GK is, truly, completely, a vast field of subject. Say, for instance, there are tables given in the Lucent’s GK in the colored form.
These tables are to be prioritised over other things. Please do an analysis of GK section of the previous papers too and you will get to know about what to read.
I can also cite one more example. Questions on national parks, rivers, Jainism and Buddhism are always asked.
How should candidates proceed with subjective questions and interview?
Subjective questions test your writing skills. Writing skills can be improved only by writing and writing.
I was told by Hon’ble ADJ( Shivpuri, Mp) Shri S.B. Sharma Ji that writing is important and more importantly, relevancy.
Write timely too. Keep a watch with you while writing. Make it a legible one too.
For Interview, it’s all about the way you carry yourself. Your demeanour is of supreme value when it comes to the interview.
Your humility, positivity and confidence are the keys to success in the interview.
Also, be brutally HONEST.
What is your success mantra?
My mantra is to remain happy throughout the process. Your happiness makes way for positivity. And, positivity can bring everything you want.
Remember, Humility is the best attire to wear.
Parting advice to our readers.
Today, you would find one or the other talking about being in a depressed state of mind or grappling with a financial problem, please try and help them.
We are about to join the most coveted job of our nation which is all about JUSTICE. The term JUSTICE is a very wide term. It cannot be limited to the COURTS of LAW.
We are to put in hard yards to help others outside the courts. We are to fulfil the goal of Justice & Equality which our founding fathers set for us.
Please, do revise your sources and keep them limited. Augmenting the number of books won’t help.
First published on September 12, 2019.