How to prepare for Kerala Judicial Services Examination

This article has been written by Oishika Banerji, from Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article deals with the ways to prepare for the Kerala Judicial Services Examination. 

Introduction 

Judiciary is one of the most important branches of democracy and is designed to deal with the problems of society. In such a branch, the role of judges holds immense importance because they are vested with the responsibility to administer, interpret and apply laws and thereby to see that justice is done which as a whole requires a lot of hard work, dedication and determination towards the Judicial System. For doing so, one needs to appear for the Judicial Service Examinations that take place every year in different states across the nation. This examination is the entrance for any law graduate to serve as a Judge in the lower judiciary of our nation. One of the most difficult jobs is that of a judge for he or she becomes the person to decide what is correct and what is not following the legal statutes and procedure without being biased. A demanding professional field, judicial services see a huge number of candidates appearing for the same in order to pursue a secured professional tenure. To be a part of this competition and succeed in the same requires planning, intention, and strategies which one can have either through self-studying or by the help of any coaching institute. Knowledge from all angles of law is required to be successful in this examination. The exam is divided into three stages through which a candidate is supposed to go through before taking up the responsibility as a judge that are discussed in the latter part of the article. The Kerala Judicial Service Examination is conducted on a yearly basis by the High Court of Kerala. The notification for the exam is usually released in the month of February. The preliminary for the same is conducted in the month of March every year. The exam is conducted in the three parts, wherein each part has 5 compulsory papers. The selection of candidates depends on their combined score in written test and personal interview conducted by the board of Kerala State Higher Judicial Service. 

For any reference and general questions related to the examination refer to this link: https://hckrecruitment.nic.in/

Eligibility criteria and age limit

The selection process for the Kerala judicial services is carried out in form of two different schemes.

The lower judiciary examination is conducted for graduates who have acquired a bachelor degree in law from a recognized institute or university within the age group of 21 – 35 on the year of appearance for the examination. 
The higher judiciary examination is conducted by the High Court of Kerala for the recruitment of Civil Judges or District Judges. Candidates who have a standing of 7 years or more and within the age group of 35- 45 on the year of appearance for the examination are eligible.

In order to apply for the Kerala Judicial Service Examination, candidates must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

Candidate must be a citizen of India.
Candidate must have attained the age of 35 years and shall not have completed 45 years of age.
Candidates must have been practising advocacy having a standing of not less than 7 years.

Pattern of the examination 

The Kerala State Higher Judicial Service Examination will have three parts, Part I, Part II and Part III with five papers in each part. The exam is conducted every year. The duration of the written test for each paper is of three hours. The maximum marks for each paper are 100, and a minimum of 40 marks is required to qualify each paper. Candidates applying for the exam will have the option to choose any of the parts and will have to apply for all the five papers included in that part.

Preliminary Examination 

The preliminary examination consists of an objective paper. The preliminary examination is for two hours and contains 100 multiple choice questions altogether. Each question carries a weightage of 4 marks each and a negative of 1 for each wrong answer. The examination is conducted only for shortlisting the candidates for the next round and the marks scored here are not considered to determine the final merit of the selected candidates. The cut-off marks are 40% for general candidates and 35% for candidates from SC/ST category. The final list of shortlisted candidates for the written main examination is then declared by the HC of Kerala. 

Mains Examination 

The mains examination for 900 marks consists of a total of 5 papers. The paper-1 carries 100 marks and the subsequent 4 papers carry 200 marks each. The duration of each paper will be for three hours. The cut-off marks for candidates belonging to general category is 40% for each paper and an average of 45% in all the five papers. Candidates belonging to SC/ST category must attain 35% and 40% respectively. 

Personal Interview 

In this, the candidates have to appear in personalized interviews. The selection of candidates depends on their combined score in written test and personal interview conducted by the board of Kerala State Higher Judicial Service. 

(Fraction of half or more shall be considered as full marks and anything less than that shall be ignored)

The Kerala State Higher Service Exam result will be declared on the official website of the High Court of Kerala Recruitment. Candidates will have to visit the official website, enter their login credentials and view their result. Candidates must download the scorecard and take a printout of it for future reference.

Syllabus 
Syllabus for Preliminary Examination 

Part A

Code of Civil Procedure
Indian Contract Act 
Negotiable Instruments Act 
Transfer of Property Act 
Specific Relief Act 
Kerala Building (Lease and Rent Control) Act

Part B

Code of Criminal Procedure 
Indian Penal Code 
Indian Evidence Act

Part C

Constitution of India 
Legal G.K

Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

Analogy, Series Completion, Verification of the truth of the Statement, Situation Reaction Test, Direction Sense Test, Classification, Data Sufficiency, Alpha- Numeric Sequence, Puzzle, Puzzle Test, Blood Relations, Coding-Decoding, Assertion and Reasoning, Arithmetical Reasoning, Operations of Mathematics, Venn Diagrams, Word Sequence, Missing Characters, Sequential Output training, Directions, Test on Alphabets, Eligibility Test.

Non-Verbal Reasoning

Dot Situation, Identical figure groupings, Forming figures and analysis, Construction of Squares and Triangles, Series, Analytical Reasoning, Paper Folding, Cubes and Dice, Water Images, Mirror Images, Figure Matrix, Completion Incomplete Pattern, Spotting embedded figures, Paper Cutting, Classification, Rules Detection.

Mental Ability

Number Series, Directions, Alphabet Series, Coding-Decoding, Blood Relations, Statements & Conclusions, Syllogism, Mirror Images, Cubes and Dice, Embedded Figures, Statements & Arguments, Arithmetical Reasoning, Clocks & Calendars, Analogy, Decision Making, Number Ranking, Non-Verbal Series, Data Interpretation.

Syllabus for Main Examination 

Paper-I

English Grammar, General Essays, Translation of Malayalam Depositional, Documents to English and vice-versa, Precise writing.

Paper-II

Part A

Indian Contract Act, Transfer of Property Act,  Limitation Act, Specific Relief Act, Easements Act, Kerala Building (Lease and Rent Control) Act, Hindu Succession Act, Indian Succession Act – Parts Y VI &X, Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act.

Part B

Kerala Court Fees and Suits Valuation Act, Stamp Act Kerala, Kerala State Legal Services Authorities Act, The Kerala Panchayat Raj Act -Ch. X, XI, XXIA & XXIII, Kerala Municipality Act -Ch. IX, X, XXIV & XXV, Negotiable Instruments Act (except Ch. XVII), Registration Act.

Paper-III

Part A

Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, Abkari Act, Negotiable Instruments Act -Ch. XVII, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

Part B

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, Kerala Police Act, Probation of Offenders Act, Forest Act, N.D.P.S. Act (provisions relating to bail and trial by Magistrates).

Paper IV

Part A

Code of Civil Procedure, Civil Rules of Practice, Kerala Civil Courts Act, Order in Interlocutory Application/ Framing of issues/Judgment writing (Civil).

Part B

Code of Criminal Procedure, Criminal Rules of Practice, The framing of charges/ Order in Criminal Miscellaneous Petitions.

Application process

Eligible candidates are required to apply online through the official recruitment portal of the Kerala High Court. The link of the Kerala Judicial Service application form will open at the time of the registration process. Candidates should have a valid and active mobile number and email ID to receive the exam updates.

In the first step, candidates need to fill the basic information in the online application form and proceed to the next step. Towards the end of this step, candidates will be asked to generate a key number, which they must keep safely with them for future reference.
After the completion of the first step, candidates will be assigned an application number, which will be sent through SMS/e-Mail.
In the next step, candidates need to pay the application fee through net banking or Debit/Credit Cards. Candidates must then proceed further and upload their photograph and signature in the profile section.
After cross-checking all the information, candidates need to click the submit button and download the application form. Candidates must also take a printout of the application form for future references.

Important Dates 

The High Court of Kerala has released the notification for Kerala Judicial Service Examination 2020. Candidates who want to apply for the judicial examination can apply for it through the official site of the High Court of Kerala at hckrecruitment.nic.in. The application process started on July 2, 2020 and would end on July 22, 2020.

Link to refer: https://hckrecruitment.nic.in/

Books to refer

Although this is not the exhaustive list of books, it is one oneself to understand as to which books to follow and which books are comfortable for whom. Nevertheless, this list can be referred to as a suggestion:

Kerala Judicial Services (Preliminary) Examination – The Complete Preparation by Showick Thorpe

Perks of being in judicial service 

Indian Judiciary is said to be vacant in search of appropriate judges. Law graduates nowadays are mostly inclined to corporate jobs to have a  secured professional and financial life in the future. Not many take the courage to join the Indian Judiciary which is desperately in requirement of responsible and diligent judges. Judicial service examination is one such mode of screening individuals before they hold the responsibility as a judge.

A career in the judiciary is a good option for law graduates. 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.
They enjoy zero political interference in their work coupled with time-bound promotions and fixed tenure.
If selected, the applicant gets posted as an additional district judge which significantly hastens promotion prospects.

Preparation Guide

Have a copy of the entire syllabus for quick reference whenever needed.
One must dedicate time every day for preparation.
Procedural laws must be studied in depth.
Start grouping the topic on one’s convenience. 
Never forget to revise previous year question papers.
One must develop the skill of reading and writing.
Start to learn 5 new words in English and Malayalam.
Prepare your own questions from bare acts and learn.
Always develop the habit of reading Malayalam and English newspapers.
Learn the art of attending an interview and answering questions.

Golden rules to crack judicial service examination

Although different levels of the examination require a different kind of strategy as have been mentioned previously, the entire examination requires a lot of dedication and effort. In order to put them in a track of reaching the destination, every individual has to have a strategy otherwise the efforts dedicated go in vain. Every candidate has their individual way of dealing with the exam but some of the strategies that are basic and common to all candidates appearing for the examination are provided below:

Self-interest and willingness

Upon the decision of taking the long way to be successful one must never forget this theory. Success is always 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. After being inspired with the aim to deliver justice, the only go is to work hard until the exam is cracked. Working hard does not mean spending time, it means spending time wisely and achieving the best result or in simple terms, working smart.

Familiarity with Bare Acts

One can never pass the prelims without being thorough with the bare acts of the related subjects. The statutory provisions and the procedural laws are to be learnt from the bare acts. Important section numbers are usually asked from CrPC, IPC, Evidence Act and the Indian Contract Act. Law is a vast subject, and one cannot deny the same. The Kerala judicial service examination requires an extensive hold on all the bare acts that are included in the syllabus and those beyond it are always acknowledged. This also counts as important for all the levels of the examination starting from the prelims to that of the interview round. 

Stay updated

The GK part is always easy to score marks and builds all over merit. Nowadays there are many paid law journals and websites that provide day to day updates on the field of law. Recent amendments and landmark judgments are asked even during the interview of candidates to ensure that they stay updated. The habit of reading newspapers also enhances the general knowledge of a candidate.

Topic-wise preparation

As the structure and the syllabus of the examination are concerned, there are several topics that are inclusive in the examination. Preparation should take place individually, topic-wise,  to be firm in all topics covered by the exam. Preparation should take place according to the distribution of marks as well. It is wholly upon the candidate to decide on what topics he or she is good in. Although a candidate should be equally good in all the concerned topics but being good in some topics help in securing marks in certain levels of the examination. As English and other regional languages are included in the exam, preparation of the same can be done by reading newspapers on a daily basis to learn new words and rectify grammatical errors. Newspapers also help in broadening the general knowledge level in an individual. Judicial service is one such examination that requires skills in general knowledge for the profession calls for the same. Hence an awareness about general knowledge is always helpful and advantageous.

Preparing short notes

There is no other activity like writing that increases the efficiency of a person. Even though it won’t seem to be worth writing in today’s cyberspace, judicial service aspirants must find time to prepare notes on their own and on their convenience and must go through the same whenever there is time. No books, interviews, courses, advice can help you to prepare a strategy for the examination that suits you. The prelims of this examination checks in objective knowledge on these subjects whereas the finals test how much depth the candidate has gone through while studying for the examination. The final round that is the personality test is a screening by the interviewer to infer how aware the individual is when it comes to the application of the subjects. The major mistake which people often make is to get influenced by someone else’s plan which leads to loopholes in the practice and preparation of his or her own. Such mistakes should be avoided at all costs. 

Art of Time Management

Every state follows a different syllabus and pattern in their examination process. Thus an aspirant must always find time to find previous year question papers and try to solve the same in the said time. Similarly one must practise writing judgments and draft plaints, written statements etc. so that the time is not wasted during the examination. 

Guidance

Along with preparation, there is also a need for motivation and seeking guidance as to whether the preparation that is being carried out is on the correct track or not. Therefore guidance from a judicial officer or a successful candidate who has appeared for the exam can be helpful. Their strategies may not be adopted by the others but their strategies can act as a precedent for framing and modifying new strategies.

These are some of the strategies that can be adopted by any candidate appearing for Kerala Judicial services. These strategies can create a path to crack the examination and hold an honourable post in the Indian Judiciary.

Things to avoid 

Aspirants must never be overconfident about their skills, abilities and the examination.
Use time wisely and never spend too much time on cyberspace.
Never feel shy to approach anyone and clear the doubts.
Never procrastinate lengthy topics and essays.
Never collect materials that are lengthy and ambiguous, remember to be smart while selecting guides and reference materials.

ALL THE BEST!

References

https://www.timesnownews.com/education/article/kerala-judicial-service-examination-2020-notification-released-on-hckrecruitment-nic-in-apply-before-july/616643
https://hckrecruitment.nic.in/
https://blog.ipleaders.in/all-about-the-kerala-judicial-services-examination/ #:~ :te x t =Becoming%20a%20Judge%20in%20the%20State%20of%20Kerala,-The%20selection%20process&text=The%20higher%20judiciary%20examination%20is,for%20the%20examination%20are%20eligible.

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