Sonal Gupta secured rank 1 in the Madhya Pradesh Judicial Services Examination 2017. 

Congrats on your success! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Thank you so much for your wishes.

My name is Sonal Gupta, I have completed my graduation from Dr. Harisingh Gour University, Sagar (a central university) in 2016. I started my preparation for judicial examination immediately after graduation.

What made you choose judiciary as a career option?

My father is an advocate. He is a great admirer of judicial officers. During my college, he constantly motivated me to become one.

Judiciary has always proved itself as a savior for individual’s rights and liberty. It (now) being the sole institution in which people repose their faith inspired me the most to join judiciary.

Most of the judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court reflected that being a judge is not just a job, it’s a living profession. I always aspire to do such sort of job by which I could contribute a bit to our country.

What was your overall strategy for prelims?

When I speak about strategy, it is only with reference to Madhya Pradesh Judicial examinations.For preliminary,

There are 12 law subjects which carry 110 marks and other 40 marks are with respect to General knowledge, Computer, and English.

For the preparation of law, my concern was to study bare acts thoroughly with conceptual understanding for that I sometimes referred reference books.

Moreover, it is really important to solve the previous years’ question papers. It helps in prioritizing the topics and definitely time management.

For general awareness, I kept myself updated by reading newspapers and referring to monthly magazines and the internet.

I devoted some time for static General knowledge including Madhya Pradesh GK. I practiced past year papers to study computer and English section and some other basic books available in the market.

Last but not least; timely revision of every subject is imperative.

What was your overall strategy for mains?

Preparation for mains must start right from the moment you decide for giving judicial examination because the time gap between preliminary and mains is approx 2 months.

Mains exam consists of 4 subjects.

  1. Civil and constitutional law
  2. Article writing, summarization, and translation
  3. Criminal law and local laws
  4. Judgment writing

For the 1st and 3rd paper, I prepared from bare acts and reference books. The preparation involved practicing past years questions as well as expected ones.

One must take care of the pattern of writing and writing itself. My observation regarding the answers was that they expect basic knowledge of law and clarity in concepts.

Before exam, I practiced writing answers to check its presentation and make sure of time management.

For judgment writing and translation, regular practice is required.

I practiced article writing in the last two months after the prelims result was declared.

The topics cover current events happening throughout that year. For article writing, I referred editorial of The Hindu newspaper and the various articles and blogs available on the internet.

sonal gupta judiciary interviewHow did you prepare for the interview?       

The purpose of the interview is to check the overall personality and confidence of the candidate.

There is a range of questions depending on the interview board. Some focus more on personal questions while other on legal knowledge and applications, or current events and even opinions.

I make sure that I prepare answers for a few basic questions and at the same time I revised the legal subjects.

I also took mock interviews which helped me to develop confidence and spontaneity.

Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts (prelims and mains)?

For prelims and mains, I focussed on bare acts.

But there are certain books which helped me framing good answers

IPC-   P.S.A. Pillai’s criminal law Book

CPC-  C.K. Takwani

CRPC-  R.V. KelKar

Indian Contract Act – Avtar Singh

Indian Evidence Act – Avtar singh

Indian Constitution-J.N. Pandey

Transfer of Property act- Avtar Singh

Bare acts are sufficient for the remaining local laws and minor acts.

What were your ‘secret sauce’ recipes, if any? 🙂

As such, there is no secret sauce recipe but what makes you achieve your goals is Self Discipline.

For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in?

I started my preparation in July 2016 after completing my college. And for me, it was never about the hours of studying, but I tried to give my best every day.

Preparation for services requires self-discipline and therefore I used to set targets for each day and tried completing them. I believe in “Break your own records daily”, so tried to do it accordingly.

At the same time, I believe relaxing oneself is necessary which one can do by devoting some time to family and friends.

What were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made, and how did you overcome them?

Initially, it was difficult to study as per a routine and sit for hours at a stretch (revision and consistency are prominent in a competitive exam).

There was confusion regarding the strategy of preparation and prioritizing important topics for that I started practicing past year’s papers to understand it. Building up a strategy takes much of your time because what suits you can be identified after several failed efforts.

Time management was also a problem which was solved after practicing answer writing.

What were the most important ‘right things/strategies’ you implemented?

Time management, consistency in revising subjects and self-discipline were the most important things.

Did you take coaching from anywhere? If yes, how did it help?

Yes, I did took classes from Law Centre (Rehman sir’s classes), Indore.

And it was quite helpful because he is the one who clarified all my conceptual doubts and taught me judgment writing and also guided me as to what are the important areas upon which I should focus on.

His constant motivation and belief in me was, in fact, a confidence booster.

How was your interview and what sort of questions were asked?

Interview was quite good; the panel consisted of 2 High Court Judges. Some questions were:

Who is the judge in the history of India who has sacrificed his career for saving democracy?

My answer as Justice H.R. Khanna, on being denied by the government the post of Chief Justice for his judgment upholding the civil liberties of citizens, I was asked to name the prominent cases decided by him.

Continuing on the same topic, they inquired me about the name of the High court, from which the HABEUS CORPUS case was appealed in Supreme Court and the other question raised was which were the other High Courts who gave the similar judgment as that of M.P. High Court at the time of emergency?

Moreover, the name of the autobiography of Justice H.R. Khanna was also asked.

Some of the questions were about the conditions for the admissibility of electronic evidence and is the information stored in it is primary or secondary evidence?

Relevancy of the evidence of injured witnesses in the Court?

Relevancy of the evidence given by a rape victim whose medical reports and other evidence are contrary to the evidence of rape victim?

Defences available to the drawer of a cheque in case of s.138 of Negotiable Instrument Act?

Another question was: What if your Dad asks you to grant the bail for an accused to whom he knew to be an innocent but you do not know about him, will you grant the bail to him?

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers.

There is nothing which a person cannot do if he/she has determined to do so. I have always believed on APJ Abdul Kalam’s quote “You become the captain of the problems, defeat the problem and succeed”.

Dream big, work hard and make it happen.  All the best for all the judicial aspirants.

 

This post was first published on: October 18, 2018

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