Pritu Raj secured rank 57 in the Delhi Judicial Services Examination 2018.
Pritu Raj is interviewed by our intern, Shivam Sharma.
Congrats on your success! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, my name is Pritu Raj and I am from Patna, Bihar. I completed my BA LLB in the year 2011 from Chanakya National Law University, Patna and I am currently employed as a Civil Judge in Bihar.
Prior to this, I have worked at Kolkata as an Administrative Officer(Legal) in National Insurance Company Limited from 2014-2018.
What made you choose judiciary as a career option?
I chose judiciary as a career option because of my family background. My grandfather is a retired District and Sessions Judge from Bihar Judiciary and he has been my role model ever since my childhood and one of the reasons behind me choosing law as a career option. Further, upon getting into law school, I found myself engrossed in moot courts.
In order to be the best at it, one has to able to read judgments and interpret them correctly – something which got me into the habit of reading judgments.
The fascinating part about reading judgements is that it opens your mind to the possibility that law can be used as a tool to affect the lives of people in an empowering manner.
Reading such judgements and marvelling at the manner in which black lettered law becomes a tool of upliftment, coupled with my family background, made me choose judiciary as a career option.
What’s the pattern of the DJS exam?
Delhi Judicial Examination is an examination conducted in three phases – the prelims, mains examination followed by an interview (viva voce).
The preliminary examination is an MCQ based test. Successful candidates in the preliminary test appear in the mains examination which comprises of four papers – General Knowledge and Language, Civil Law – I, Civil Law – II and Criminal Law.
Candidates who qualify the mains examination are made to appear in an interview – comprising of 150 marks – with candidates to score at least 50% in the interview in order to get selected.
Have you appeared for other judiciary exams also?
I have actually been a bit of a wanderer when it comes to giving Judicial Examinations. I have appeared in the interview for UP Judiciary, Rajasthan Judiciary, Jharkhand Judiciary apart from Bihar and Delhi Judiciary.
In which year you have qualified the exam?
I have qualified Delhi Judiciary 2018. The result was declared in 2019.
What was your overall strategy for DJS prelims?
The prelims for Delhi Judiciary is a tad different when it comes to other states because of the conceptual nature of questions asked in the examination.
My strategy for the same was two-fold – firstly a complete mastery over the bare acts of major laws. This helps one take care of the knowledge-based questions. Secondly, for the conceptual questions, I went through reference books on the subject.
It’s been my belief that the preparation for mains should be complete before the prelims take place. Following this mantra makes it easier to tackle the conceptual questions int he prelims and gives you an added advantage of just having to revise for the mains in the intervening period between prelims and mains examination.
What was your overall strategy for DJS mains?
I personally think DJS mains is the most challenging part of the entire DJS examination merely because of the quality of questions asked therein. It is not a cram based test and needs you to be really though with your concepts.
I approached the examination with a two-pronged strategy – firstly, I went through the previous years question papers which helped me get a fair idea of the standard of questions expected in the examination.
The second step involves making a list of the important topics in each subject and doing a thorough reading in respect of such topics from reference books and the leading case laws.
Further, the previous one-year subscription of Delhi Law times is a very important tool because it’s very that a recent interpretation decision by Hon’ble Delhi High Court would find itself as a question in the paper for mains examination.
How did you prepare for the interview?
Interviews and DJS is no exception, are an exercise to gauge your personality, and they are not a test of your knowledge. That has already been done in the mains examination. And it’s totally fine if you don’t answer some of the questions.
With this in mind, I focussed on being calm in the interview room so that I could respond to the questions with a clear and confident mind.
Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts (prelims and mains)?
I didn’t have a fixed book list to aid my preparation for the DJS examination. However, I did refer to some books:
- General Knowledge/Current Affairs: Pratiyogita Darpan Yearly issue, GKtoday.in monthly compendiums.
- CPC: Reference Book by Justice C. K. Takwani.
- Evidence Act: case laws/ reference book by Batuk Lal.
- CrPC: case laws/Reference Book by R. V. Kelkar.
- IPC: Case Laws/Reference Book by Ratanlal & Dhirajlal.
- For other minor acts, I referred to the guide by Ashok Jain which is a very good revising material and helps you brush up your concepts.
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?
DJS has the Rent Delhi Control Act as the local law which one needs to prepare for the mains.
The procedure which I followed was to create a list of important topics in this act – which included grounds of eviction, standard rent among other topics – and refer to the important judgements passed by Hon’ble Delhi Court in respect of the same.
The key is to do smart study and focus more on areas which are most likely to be asked in the paper. As for the other parts of the Act, a reading from any reference book available in the market would suffice.
What were your ‘secret sauce’ recipes, if any? 🙂
I didn’t have any particular secret sauce as such for this examination. However, one thing which I did make sure was that my concepts for each subject were clear as that is the one thing on which the success in this examination depends.
The best for the same would be to read the leading case laws and preparing a summary of the procedure followed in that case law to arrive at the conclusion contained in the ratio-decidendi.
For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in?
I have been preparing for Delhi Judiciary for a long time – ever since I passed out of college. Even after cracking earlier exams, it was always my aim to get into Delhi Judiciary. Therefore I have been preparing for this exam for a really long time.
As far as the hours I put in, the number has been going down steadily ever since I passed out. During my total preparation mode days, I followed a daily routine of fourteen hours every day.
However, ever since I got in the job the number has been something between 6-7 on weekdays and ten hours on weekends.
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?
It’s always a good habit to start early. however, I am of the view that starting too early is as bad as starting too late because if you start too early there’s a possibility of peaking at the wrong time and then you subsequently can’t keep up that level of preparation as you did in your earlier days.
So yes, starting in the last year of college for judicial exams would be a good idea. In the previous years of college, the focus should be on developing your legal acumen and sharpening your legal skills and language – for these are the best allies of a judge.
What were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made, and how did you overcome them?
Some of the challenges in my days of preparation was that of qualifying prelims. I realised I did not have the desired mastery over bare acts which hampered my chances of cracking prelims because a fair chunk of questions asked in judicial examinations across the country contains knowledge-based questions.
So mastering the bare act was one of the first things I did follow by the incessant practice of MCQ test papers.
A combination of these helped me overcome my earlier shortcomings. An added benefit of this was that it helped me be more confident in mains because the time spent scouring for a particular section in the bare act provided in the mains could be put to better use.
What were the most important ‘right things/strategies’ you implemented?
I think it’s very important that people who are preparing should know the direction in which their preparation is heading.
To achieve this end, it’s imperative to give mock tests and equally important to continue to appear in examinations, for there is no substitute for an examination like environment.
These steps help one gauge where he/she stands in respect to the competition and to take corrective measures accordingly.
Did you take coaching from anywhere? If yes, how did it help? What are some good coaching institutes which candidates can go for?
I took coaching at Rahul’s IAS, under the guidance of Rahul Sir and my time there elevated my preparation to an altogether new level. The clarity with which topics, subjects and concepts are taught, in conjunction with the latest case law, is unparalleled in my opinion.
Furthermore, the class-notes from my time there always served as the go-to material for revision and preparation. The after-completion support which given by the institution is a thing of beauty.
How was your interview and what sort of questions were asked?
My interview on the first day i.e 13th May 2019 and I was one of the last five candidates to be interviewed in a panel comprised of 5 persons.
My interview comprised of questions related to my experience of working as a Civil Judge in Bihar. The entire set of questions were experience based and the interview board was very cordial and made me feel right at ease.
The entire process was more of a dialogue than an interrogation and the entire process was over even before I realised it was.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers.
The only thing I want to tell anyone who is preparing for judicial exams is that the entire thing is a process and cracking the exam requires you to be at a particular level in terms of your preparation and working hard is the only way to achieve it.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, don’t ever doubt yourself. Keep a goal in mind and work single-handedly until you achieve it.