A. Congrats on your success in the Rajasthan Judicial Services Examination! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Siddhant Saxena, and I am from Jaipur, Rajasthan. I have secured Rank 5 in RJS 2018.
I completed my undergraduate studies [B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)] from Chanakya National Law University, Patna in the year 2017 and currently, I am pursuing LL.M. in Torts and Crime from Dept. of Law, University of Rajasthan.
Fortunately, immediately after my graduation, I got the opportunity to appear in judicial services examination in 2018. I was preparing for judicial services for the past three to four years which helped me in succeeding in the exam in my first attempt.
B. What made you choose judiciary as a career option?
I was always inclined towards joining judicial services. I belong to a family of Judicial officers. I am basically a third generation judge in my family now.
My father is a District and Sessions Judge in Rajasthan (1993 Batch RJS) and my late grandfather retired as the Judge of Rajasthan High Court (1959 Batch RJS).
They became my inspiration and they always supported me during the exam and studies and motivated me to achieve my goal. So it was more like continuing the legacy of my family and I am happy that I could live up to their expectations.
C. What’s the pattern of the RJS exam?
Like most judicial service exams, RJS exam comprises three levels, objective type Preliminary Examination, Written Mains Examination, and Interview.
The preliminary exam of RJS is a hundred marks paper without any negative marking. Out of which seventy per cent weightage is given to law subjects and remaining comprises Hindi and English grammar.
Mains consists of four papers; Law paper I and Law paper II (each three-hour duration) and English and Hindi essay papers (each two-hour duration).
Earlier it used to be more of a bare act based examination but this year there was a drastic change in the pattern of RJS. Most of the questions were application based and analytical in nature.
1. What was your overall strategy for the Rajasthan Judiciary’s prelims exam?
For the preparation of the prelims exam, my concern was to study bare acts thoroughly with conceptual understanding and for that, I sometimes referred to reference books for certain important topics along with relevant case laws.
It is really important to solve the previous years’ question papers. It helps in prioritizing the topics and definitely time management. I referred to Singhal Publication’s book for Preliminary Examinations.
The other portion of 30 questions in prelims consists of Hindi and English Grammar. For that, I referred NCERT books for Hindi Grammar and RS Aggarwal for English Grammar. Language portion is very scoring so one must not take this lightly.
In a nutshell, timely revision of every subject is imperative.
2. What was your overall strategy for RJS mains?
Since the syllabus of RJS used to be very wide and extensive, I adopted a selective study approach for mains exam. I had the habit of reading reference books during my college days and that helped me a lot in solving application based questions in the examination this year.
For the law portion, I tried to gain command over the language of the statutory provision along with the conceptual clarity and thorough knowledge of relevant cases.
For article writing, I prepared articles on certain legal and social issues including current issues like the right to privacy, triple talaq, GST and demonetization etc. Similarly, I prepared essays on various topics related to Rajasthan.
One thing which I did was that I emphasized more on writing fact-based essays where I presented my general knowledge and factual information about that particular topic. I presume that this gave me an edge over other candidates. Topics of essays are quite predictable and one can easily prepare those limited topics without wasting much time in language paper.
For judgment writing, I took proper guidance from my father as it requires skills along with the knowledge of relevant provisions.
I got certified copies of a few original judgments of Magistrates and Session courts. I practised judgment writing regularly and used to write one criminal and one civil judgment every week. Apart from this, questions relating to framing of charge, plaint drafting, written statement are also asked in the exam.
3. How did you prepare for the RJS’ interview?
Interview in RJS covers 35 marks. The interview, I believe is more of like presenting what you are. It does not require any separate set of preparation. I brushed my basic concepts of law and other recent legal developments. I appeared for a few mock interviews as well. That helped me a lot.
There is no particular strategy for the interview as anything and everything can be asked. So just be yourself, stay calm and look confident. Be humble and polite in the interview. Do not be overconfident. Accept your mistake then and there. Simply say NO if you’re not sure about any question.
4. Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts (prelims and mains)?
For RJS, I did not refer to reference books specifically but I can share the names of a few books I referred to during my college days:
Constitution: JN Pandey
Contracts/Partnership/Specific Relief: RK Bangia
Torts: RK Bangia
Transfer of Property Act: RK Sinha
Hindu law: RK Aggarwal
Muslim Law: Aqil Ahmed
IPC: SN Mishra and KD Gaur
CPC: CK Takwani
CrPC: RV Kelkar and Takwani
Evidence: Batuk Lal
Previous year papers: Singhal Publication and Global Publication.
You do not have to read the whole book right from the beginning. Just identify the important topics asked regularly in judicial service exams and read them thoroughly from books for better conceptual understanding.
4.B. RJS 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?
Local law questions are generally asked from bare acts only. But now that the syllabus of RJS has changed and all the local laws and minor laws barring a few have been deleted, this question has lost its relevance.
5. What were your ‘secret sauce’ recipes, if any? 🙂
There was no secret sauce recipe as such because there exists no shortcut to succeed in any such prestigious examination. Hard work, self-motivation and an unwavering attitude was the key to my success.
6. For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in?
As I stated earlier, I started preparing for judicial service examination from the third year of my college. After completion of my LLB, I dedicated my entire time to the preparation of RJS.
I never kept count of the number of hours I studied. I used to make short-term schedules on per day basis and try to achieve that goal every day.
7. What were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made, and how did you overcome them?
Because I had English as the medium both in school and college, my Hindi was not that good. So I had to start afresh. I took two months coaching for Hindi just to quickly get in touch with basic Hindi grammar and essay writing.
Language played an instrumental role in my success. I focused equally on law papers and language paper because both carry equal weightage of marks.
And when the result came I scored more marks in Hindi than English. This was seriously an achievement for me. You have to work harder to make your weakness your strength.
8. What were the most important ‘right things/strategies’ you implemented in preparing for the Judicial Services Examinations?
First and foremost I had this clearly instilled in my mind right from the beginning that I have to join judiciary. This prevented me from deviating from my goal.
Secondly, starting my preparation from my college days gave me an added advantage over other candidates. I cleared my basics relating to core subjects early in time which helped me later in my exams.
Thirdly, I always relied on self-prepared notes and material. I suggest to you as well to not go for the sub-standard notes available in the market.
Don’t try to make things complicated for you.
9. Did you take coaching from anywhere? If yes, how did it help? What are some good coaching institutes which candidates can go for?
My core subjects were already prepared when I passed out. But since there were lots of minor and local laws so I joined a coaching institute in Jaipur.
Personally speaking, coaching has not much role to play in such exams. It is all about self-study. A general guidance is what is required and that can be through your teachers, seniors, friends or family.
10. How was your interview and what sort of questions were asked?
My interview lasted for around 12-15 minutes. The interviewing panel had two senior High Court Judges, and a Law professor. The first 2-3 questions were general just to break the ice followed by 5-7 law based questions.
From law, I was asked the following:
1. Difference between Order 7 rule 10 and rule 11 CPC?
2. Why judges wear black coat? Where is it provided?
3. What is Revision under CPC and CrPC?
4. What is Cyber Law? What are the various laws for its protection?
5. Views on Right to Privacy? Any recent case law?
6. What is Golden rule of interpretation?
7. What would you do to reduce the backlog of cases in Indian judicial system?
11. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers.
I personally believe that Judicial Services Examination is not a piece of cake. This exam requires great hard work and commitment with proper planning, guidance and determination.
The competition is getting tougher day by day, so half-hearted attempts can never work. You have to do away with all kinds of distractions, keep working hard, analyse your mistakes and weaknesses and learn from them. Sooner than later, the success will be yours.
Read more interviews of Judiciary Exam toppers!