DJS Topper’s Interview: Neha Sharma’s [Rank 55] Journey of Perseverance, Consistency, and Hard Work

Neha Sharma secured rank 55 in the Delhi Judicial Services Examination 2018. 

Neha Sharma is interviewed by our intern, Shivam Sharma.

Congrats on your success! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Thank you! I am Neha Sharma. I hail from Jaipur and did my schooling from St. Angela Sophia Senior Secondary School, Jaipur.

I completed BA LLB (Hons.) from National Law University, Delhi in 2015 and have secured Rank 55 in DJS 2018.

What made you choose judiciary as a career option?

A Judge always maintains a fine balance between the two sides. The role of Judicial Institution in the protection of rights of a common man always inspired me to become a part of it.

I also come from a family of Judicial Officers and after seeing their life, the decision to become one myself became easier. The job satisfaction and dignity attached to the service are additional factors.

Neha Sharma DJS Topper Interview

What’s the pattern of the DJS exam?

The Delhi Judicial Service Exam is a very prestigious and highly competitive exam conducted by the Delhi High Court. It has three stages. The first stage consists of the Preliminary Examination of 200 marks which is an objective paper with 25% negative marking.

It is followed by the Mains Examination consisting of four papers i.e. General knowledge and language, Criminal Law, Civil Law I and Civil Law II of 200 marks each.

To qualify for viva voce, one must obtain 40% marks in each written paper and 50% marks in the aggregate in the mains examination.

The final stage is the viva-voce of 150 marks. One must secure a minimum of 45% marks in viva-voce to be eligible for being recommended for appointment to the service.

Have you appeared for other judiciary exams also?

I certainly did. Since there was a long delay before the DJS notification, I decided to appear in other states as well. I believe that relentless hard work is required to be successful in these exams. One must constantly strive to achieve the desired goal.

In which year you have qualified the exam?

I qualified for the DJS 2018 examination in 2019.

What was your overall strategy for DJS prelims?

The DJS prelims question paper has 200 Objective Type Questions of 1 mark each.

The duration of the Paper is 150 minutes in addition to the reading time of 15 minutes. To be successful at the preliminary stage which often consists of lengthy application based questions, one not only requires the knowledge of bare acts but also conceptual clarity.

Along with revising the bare acts of different subjects I ensured that I solve objective questions from different books like AK Jain, MA Rashid etc. Most importantly, I solved the previous year papers.

What was your overall strategy for DJS mains?

The DJS Mains Examination paper is an amalgamation of legal acumen, analytical skills and craftsmanship.

The answers for the Mains examination can be composed by reading a large amount of information, absorbing facts, analysing the legal principles involved and application of those principles to the case in hand.

DJS Mains paper mainly consists of application-based questions along with theoretical questions on various legal concepts.

I believe special attention needs to be given to your approach towards writing an answer. For an application based question, I followed the IRAC methodology i.e. Issue, Rule, Application and Conclusion.

Firstly, you identify the issue, secondly, you state the rule, thirdly, apply the law to the facts and lastly, you conclude your answer.

Along with following a proper format for each answer, one needs to do proper management of time so that each question gets the required time and attention.

How did you prepare for the interview?

The 150 marks viva voce is conducted by the panel of Hon’ble Judges of the Delhi High Court and Delhi government officials.

It is mainly a personality test. As Albert Einstein has said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself”, I believe you show your true self when you are under a tremendous amount of pressure in front of the board.

Before my interview, I tried to get well versed in landmark constitutional judgments, recent amendments and case laws of Hon’ble Supreme Court and Delhi High Court.

I also attended the mock interviews conducted at Rahul’s IAS to calm myself down. I believe confidence is the key.

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

Along with my notes and case material for certain topics I referred to:

  1. C.K. Takwani: Civil Procedure Code
  2. Avtar Singh: Contract Law
  3. Batuk Lal: Evidence Act
  4. R.V. Kelkar: Criminal Procedure Code
  5. K.D. Gaur: Indian Penal Code
  6. R.K. Bangia: Tort Law and Specific Relief Act
  7. J.D. Jain: Limitation Law
  8. Hindu Law and Muslim Law: Dr. Poonam Pradhan

DJS has many local laws and other laws not asked in other judiciary exams. Which books did you refer for these? How did you prepare for these subjects?

For the Delhi Rent Control Act I heavily relied on my notes along with the bare act and the book ‘Lease Licence, Rent Control & Slum Clearance (Leading Cases, Material & Q.A.)’ by A.K. Jain.

Neha Sharma DJS Topper InterviewWhat were your ‘secret sauce’ recipes, if any?

One should work smarter, not only harder. I believe each exam has a specific pattern. Analyse the previous year question papers to understand the pattern, know your weak areas and give due respect to the local laws.

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

I believe making a time table is definitely important but not entirely necessary. I used to set deadlines to complete specific subjects but I also took regular breaks to refresh.

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?

Not necessarily. One should start preparing as soon as one starts to feel passionate about it.

If one starts to prepare from college itself, she may get an edge over other candidates in terms of time but hard work required is the same.

What were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made, and how did you overcome them?

Jim Rohn has said “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

Initially, I did not give much importance to time management while writing a mains exam. I focussed on the content but not the presentation. Soon I realised where I was lacking and prompt corrective action helped me achieve my desired goal in DJS 2018.

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

You must always observe and expand. As a student of law, I kept a close eye on recent amendments and case laws. I tried to understand the object behind them.

Additionally, I expanded my horizon, included recent case laws wherever possible and tried to state the purpose of the amendments in law.

Did you take coaching from anywhere? If yes, how did it help? What are some good coaching institutes which candidates can go for?

I did. After I graduated in 2015, I joined Rahul’s IAS, a coaching institute in Delhi, from 2015-16 for further guidance.

The preparation for judicial service exam requires a particular strategy, in-depth knowledge, awareness about the latest case laws and intense answer writing practise. I believe with continuous support and guidance of my teachers, the journey became a lot easier.

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

I have appeared for DJS viva-voce twice. The viva-voce of DJS 2017 and 2018 was conducted in January 2019 and May 2019 respectively.

Both the times the board was friendly, trying to make you feel comfortable in your chair.

The interview went for 5-10 minutes each time and basic legal and personality based questions were asked. If you are a working professional, they may restrict themselves to your area of expertise.

I faced questions on the drafting of pleadings and what would a court do if verification is not attached to the plaint. They also questioned me on provisions in IPC relating to a juvenile accused and my plan of action if a juvenile accused appears in my court.

I was also asked how I would manage the court proceedings if the bar calls for a strike and constitutional provisions with respect to the rights of an accused.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers.

Never give up! It takes perseverance, self-discipline and leadership to win a battle.

This preparation phase may be difficult but it’s all worth the effort. All the Best.

Editor’s Note: Read more on Delhi Judiciary Toppers’ Interviews here.

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