Judiciary Exams | Download FREE Career in Law PDF

The judiciary exam or the PCS (J)-Provincial Civil Service-Judicial Examination is the entry-level exam for law graduates to become appointed as members of the subordinate judiciary. The members are appointed by the state government under the supervision of the respective high court based on the Judiciary exam. For those with an inclination towards public service and/or the trappings of state authority, the judiciary can be a worthwhile option. Not only is it a way to remain closely connected with the law throughout your professional life, but also one that offers the satisfaction of working for the good of society.

Every High Court has under its supervision the members of the subordinate judiciary of the state(s) over which this High Court has jurisdiction. Members of the subordinate judiciary (popularly known as the judicial service or the PCS (J)-Provincial Civil Service-Judicial) occupy the offices of the presiding officers of various courts right up to the post of District Judge.

Perks of a Career in Judicial Services

There are several attractive features of these judicial services including handsome perks and privileges which include among others: rent-free accommodation, fuel allowances, subsidized electricity and water supplies, telephone allowances, and bursaries for children's education. These are significantly better than those of civil service officers. Add to this the increased remuneration structures of the 6th Pay Commission and you've got a highly rewarding job on your hands and the best part is yet to come. Unlike administrators or police officers, judicial officers almost always have postings in district headquarters so they never have to serve in remote areas. This allows them to have a reasonably enjoyable lifestyle too.

Judiciary exam avenue and Eligibility Criteria

The judicial services offer entry at two levels:

  1. Lower Judiciary Services

    • The first is for fresh graduates through an entrance exam conducted by the respective state public service commission (UP, MP, Rajasthan, etc.) or the High Court (Delhi). The syllabus for these exams can be found on the website of the commissions and includes law subjects along with English, general knowledge, and the local language of the state. Entry through this avenue assures you of time-based promotions and secured employment early on in your career
    • Qualification: The candidate must have a degree in LL.B. No experience is required and final-year candidates can also appear. The candidate should have enrolled or qualified to be enrolled as an Advocate under the Advocates’ Act 1961.
    • Age Limit: The age limit varies according to the state. it is usually between 21 to 35 years.
  2. Higher Judiciary Services

    • The second avenue through which you may join the judicial service is known as the Higher Judicial Service (HJS). This service is open for lawyers with certain prescribed minimum years of litigating practice, usually seven. Applicants have to appear for a competitive examination for entry to the HJS the syllabus for which is similar to the one described above. The advantage of this option is that if selected the applicant gets posted as an additional district judge which significantly hastens promotional prospects.

Structure of the exam

The Judicial Services exam is divided into three stages:

  1. Preliminary Examination

    The exam comprises objective-type questions. It only serves the purpose of screening candidates before they appear for mains. The marks secured by a candidate in this section are not considered for the final selection. Category-wise minimum qualifying Percentage:

  2.  Category

    Qualifying percentage



    Reserved categories


  3. Mains

    The section of the exam is subjective. It mainly comprises 3-4 papers. The marks scored in this section are considered for the final selection.

  4. Viva-Voce/Interview

    This is the final stage of the selection procedure. At this stage, candidates are assessed based on their general interest, intelligence, personality, etc.

Judicial Services Examination Syllabus

The syllabus for the judiciary exam varies from state to state. It is broadly divided into

  • Civil law
  • Criminal Law
  • Language paper

The weightage given to the language paper is around 20 percent to 35 percent. The main examination constitutes six to seven papers and almost 70 percent of the questions are of law. Judicial service is a worthwhile option for those who aim to serve the public with high social esteem. It offers a secure and safe career with a comfortable compensation package. You must consider before you take the plunge into the judicial service, that the chances of a member of the lower judiciary making his way all the way up the ladder are rather remote. Hence if you harbor dreams of becoming a Supreme Court judge someday then this may not be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want a secure and safe career and wish to be in public service, albeit with a comfortable compensation package instead of the vagaries of litigation, then the judicial services may well be the right choice for you.
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