Ashutosh Pandey qualified in law from Banaras Hindu University in the 2005 Batch. He has been a practicing lawyer in all the six courts of Delhi since then. He started preparing for the judicial services in 2010 and finally cracked the Tripura Judicial Services in 2015, securing the single Additional District Judge vacancy in higher judiciary. In this interview he talks to us about:
- His background and the impact on his values and beliefs today
- His preparation for the Tripura Judicial Services
- The syllabus and books referred to in order to crack the exam
- His personal views on the values and inspirations that can lead to success in order to crack such an exam
How would you introduce yourself, given that most of our readers are aspirants of law and services, law students and professionals?
I am a native of Buxar, Bihar who has graduated from BHU Law School with a BA LLB in Geography (Hons.). In 2015, I cracked the Tripura Judicial Services exam where there was a single vacancy. I come from a remote area and coming from a background without any legal professionals in the family taught me that the only companion is hard work. I am an individual who believes strongly in the values of sincerity towards preparation and the fight to succeed amidst stiff competition while rectifying one’s weakness alongside.
What was your life like after graduation and how did you begin focussed preparation in order to achieve your goal?
I came to Delhi in 2005 and I practiced at the Delhi Bar Association for 7 years as an advocate in all six district courts, tribunals and also had the opportunity to represent in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court. Initially, I was simultaneously preparing for the Higher Judiciary along with the practice. I had observed a lot of my classmates who had successfully cracked the exams in order to secure the Magistrate position and were posted all over India. I was confident in my abilities in being selected as an ADJ.
The chances of selection though are minute, because students from all over India appear for the exam and in huge numbers. Moreover, only 25% of all ADJ position holders are recruited directly from the Bar with 7 years’ experience despite the massive number of applicants while the rest 75% get selected through Departmental exam or promotions. The chances of selection also depend on the different marking criteria along with different syllabus which varies across states.
Along with your hard work and capability, which individual would you like to accord credit to in your attaining your goal? For what reason did this person have such a massive impact on you?
I would like to acknowledge my friends and batchmates of 2005 from BHU along with Akhilesh Kumar who also cracked the Rajasthan Higher Judiciary as an ADJ in 2015. The two of us were practising and simultaneously preparing for Judicial Services exams for various states. The two of us share the ideology that hard work coupled with meticulous planning and cooperation are a formula for success in the Higher Judiciary services.
My father had faith and confidence in me as well and supported my journey to become a judge of Tripura Higher Judicial Services.
Did you undertake coaching or mock tests, or refer to any study material during your preparation?
In my journey, self-study, text books, bare acts and the foundation and understanding of basics developed during my time in law school helped me to attain my goal and I personally believe that one cannot negotiate, or rather that there is no substitute for hard work.
In today’s day, in my view, there are multiple commercial coaching centres and they are beyond the reach of the pocket of a normal student. I referred to no mock tests and undertook no coaching from any centre but for the purposed of cracking the interview, I took advice from my friends who had appeared for Judicial Services exams.
I was in the process of serious preparations for the Judiciary since 2009 and was successful in cracking the exam and being selected on 2nd February, 2015 into the Tripura Higher Judicial services.
I don’t believe in luck or dependence upon any individual or blaming someone else for my own results. What I do believe in immensely is hard work along with 3 important D’s- dedication, devotion and determination and unwavering focus upon the goal one has set out.
My motto for life is my belief that if someone does hard work, it won’t go in vain, it shall always reap results and lead to success.
How many hours did you devote towards the Judicial Services in terms of your preparation on a daily basis?
In order to clear the Higher Judicial Services one requires deep knowledge and practise of advocacy alongside helps one to learn the law more. Apart from that, I used to spend around 5 hours daily on my preparation and study.
What would be the syllabus and the major acts which should be read by an aspirant of the Judicial exams?
The syllabus for Higher Judicial Services varies across different states. Moreover, it is lengthy and so a candidate has to prepare according to the syllabus of the concerned state.
In procedural laws, one needs to be well versed with Criminal Procedure Code, Civil Procedure Code, Evidence Act and in substantive laws, Transfer of Property Act, Indian Penal Code, Negotiable Instruments Act, Family Laws, SC/ST Act, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 and the Prevention of Corruption Act. One must also keep referring to Supreme Court and High Court judgements and other State laws must also be referred and compared. While writing answers, one must also keep in mind to write them in line with landmark judgements and with comparative study of one act from another.
One must also remember CSE law on a regular basis and in case, one doesn’t remember the same, the fact or principle held in the Judgements should be remembered.
What are the books you would recommend in order to prepare for the Higher Judicial Services?
The books I can recommend are all Bare Acts, all the college text books in general, S.N.Mishra for Indian Penal Code, J.N. Pandey for Constitutional Law, Takwani for Civil Procedure Code, Kelkar for Criminal Procedure Code and TPA as well as Evidence from Mulla and Mulla in particular.