Becoming a judge in India is a coveted goal for many aspiring legal professionals. Judges hold prestigious positions within the civil services of the country. In this article, we will explore the role and responsibilities of a judge and discuss the path to becoming a judge in India. The position of a judge carries great respect and honor, as they preside over court proceedings, carefully listen to arguments presented by defendants and prosecutors, and deliver verdicts based on relevant laws pertaining to the case at hand. Read more career blogs at college49.
Who is a Judge?
Becoming a judge is a prestigious and challenging career path that demands dedication, hard work, and education. Aspiring judges must undergo a rigorous process that evaluates their knowledge of the law, judicial reasoning, and decision-making abilities. Mayank Pratap Singh from Rajasthan holds the record as the youngest judge in India, having cracked the Rajasthan Judicial Service Exam in 2018 at the age of 21.
The journey to becoming a judge in India is challenging and competitive. Candidates are required to clear multiple exams and interviews to be eligible for a judicial position. A strong educational background and several years of experience are expected. The average salary of a judge in India ranges from INR 13 LPA to 17 LPA.
Aspiring candidates should start preparing for a judicial career right after completing Class 12. They need to pursue a bachelor’s degree to begin their journey in law. LLB is the most important course for those aiming to work as a judge in India. Integrated LLB programs are also available for students who prefer to combine their undergraduate and LLB studies. Clearing the Judicial Service Exam is also necessary to practice law and become a judge.
What does a Judge do?
A judge, often referred to as the “custodian of the constitution,” holds a position of authority in courtroom proceedings. The specific powers and responsibilities of a judge can vary across jurisdictions. Each case that comes before a judge carries significant value, emotions, and stakes.
The primary role of a judge is to make decisions that determine the outcome of a case for both the plaintiff and the accused. While certain tasks are carried out in the courtroom during trials, a significant amount of work, such as seeking opinions, conducting research, and discussing cases, takes place behind the scenes in judges’ chambers. The fundamental responsibilities of judges include:
- Supervising trials and attentively listening to the arguments of prosecutors and defendants, as well as the testimonies of witnesses.
- Ensuring that the defendant and plaintiff are informed and reminded of their legal rights throughout the proceedings.
- Making rulings on the admissibility of evidence presented during the trial.
- Providing instructions to the jury and ultimately determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
- Deciding on appropriate sentences or punishments for those found guilty, including the duration of the sentence.
- The judge’s verdict is final and carries the weight of the law. All decisions made by the judge are based on a thorough and meticulous understanding of the trial.
What Do a Judge’s Skills Have?
In addition to meeting the necessary qualifications and experience, certain skills are essential for aspiring judges. Given the sensitivity of cases and the complexities of jurisprudence, the role of a judge demands specific capabilities. Selection panels comprised of experts in the field assess candidates based on various parameters. The following skills are crucial for individuals aiming to become judges:
- Critical Reasoning Skills: Judges must possess strong critical reasoning skills to analyze legal arguments, interpret laws, and make sound judgments based on logical reasoning.
- Objective Analysis: Judges need to objectively analyze evidence, legal precedents, and arguments presented before them in order to arrive at fair and just decisions.
- Careful Listening Skills: Effective judges are attentive listeners who carefully consider the arguments and testimonies presented during court proceedings, ensuring they grasp all relevant information.
- Unbiased Decision Making: Impartiality is crucial for judges. They should be able to make unbiased decisions, setting aside personal biases and prejudices.
- Reading Comprehension: Judges are required to read and comprehend complex legal documents, case laws, and legal precedents. Strong reading comprehension skills are vital for understanding and applying legal principles.
- Empathy: While maintaining objectivity, judges need to empathize with the parties involved in a case, understanding the human impact and the consequences of their decisions.
- Writing Skills: Judges must have strong writing skills to draft clear, concise, and well-reasoned judgments that articulate the legal basis for their decisions.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Judge?
To be eligible to become a judge in India, certain criteria must be fulfilled as outlined below:
- Nationality: Candidates must be citizens of India to practice as judges in the country.
- Education: Aspiring judges need to possess an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree or an integrated LLB degree to pursue a career as a judge. They may also choose to pursue a master’s degree such as LLM (Master of Laws) for further specialization.
- Age Limit: The age limit may vary across different states. Generally, candidates must be between 21 to 35 years of age to be eligible. However, age relaxation is provided for candidates from backward classes as per government norms.
- Experience: For Lower Judicial Services, candidates are typically required to have a law degree. However, for Higher Judicial Services, candidates must have a minimum of 7 years of continuous practice as a lawyer in the court. The level of experience and expertise increases for appointments in High Court and Supreme Court.
- Language Proficiency: Judges are expected to have proficiency in the language in which the respective court operates. This is necessary to effectively communicate and understand the legal proceedings.
What is the qualification of a Judge?
To become a judge in India, there are specific qualifications and steps that need to be followed. These qualifications include:
- Graduate Degree: Aspiring judges should have a graduate degree in any discipline from a recognized university.
- Law Degree: Obtaining a law degree is crucial to becoming a judge. Students can pursue either an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree or an integrated LLB degree, such as BA LLB, BBA LLB, or B.Com LLB, from a recognized university.
- Judicial Service Exam: Candidates need to clear the judicial service exam, also known as PCS (J) (Provincial Civil Service Judicial) exam, to start working as judges in courts. The eligibility criteria for the exam may vary depending on the state in which the candidate wishes to practice.
- Experience: For higher judicial services, candidates are required to have a significant amount of experience as an advocate. Generally, more than 7 years of practice as an advocate is necessary to become a judge in higher courts. To work in the High Court, a minimum of 10 years of advocacy in lower courts or as a lawyer is required. For the Supreme Court, candidates need at least 10 years of experience as an advocate in the High Court.
What are the courses of a Judge?
Law courses are essential for students aspiring to become judges in India. The main course is LLB, but there are also integrated courses such as BA LLB, BCom LLB, BSc LLB, and BBA LLB available. These integrated programs allow students to pursue both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree simultaneously. After completing LLB, students can also opt for postgraduate courses like LLM.
Here are the details of some popular law courses in India:
- Eligibility Criteria: Completion of Class 12 and graduation in any stream with a minimum of 45% marks.
- Entrance Exams: CLAT, SET, AP LAWCET, TS LAWCET, and others.
- Top Colleges: NLSUI, NLU, MIT-WPU, NALSAR.
- Average Course Fees: INR 2.5 LPA – INR 4 LPA.
- Average Salary: INR 4 LPA – INR 6 LPA.
- BA LLB:
- Eligibility Criteria: Completion of Class 12 with a minimum of 50% marks.
- Entrance Exams: AILET, SLAT, CLAT, LSAT, JMI BA LLB, and others.
- Top Colleges: NLSUI, NLU, NALSAR.
- Average Course Fees: INR 1.5 LPA – INR 15 LPA.
- Average Salary: INR 3 LPA – INR 6 LPA.
- B.Com LLB:
- Eligibility Criteria: Completion of Class 12 with a minimum of 55% marks.
- Entrance Exams: CLAT, TS LAWCET, AP LAWCET, SET, MHT CET, and others.
- Top Colleges: NLSUI, NLU, NALSAR.
- Average Course Fees: INR 1.6 LPA – INR 2.5 LPA.
- Average Salary: INR 2 LPA – INR 3 LPA.
What is the Salary of a Judge?
The salary of a judge in India varies depending on various factors. Here are the salary ranges for different positions:
|Junior Civil Judge
|INR 27,700 to INR 47,700
|Junior Civil Judge (After 5 years of service)
|INR 33,090 to INR 45,850
|Junior Civil Judge (First career progression after 5 years or during the second career progression)
|INR 39,530 to INR 54,010
|Senior Civil Judge
|INR 39,530 to INR 54,010
|Senior Civil Judge (After 5 years of service)
|INR 43,690 to INR 56,470
|Senior Civil Judge (First career progression after 5 years)
|INR 43,690 to INR 56,470
|INR 51,550 to INR 63,070
|District Judge (Selection Grade after 5 years of Entry Grade)
|INR 57,700 to INR 70,290
|District Judge (3 years after selection grade)
|INR 70,290 to INR 76,450
How to Become a Judge in India?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a judge in India:
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree After completing 10+2, aspiring judges need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program. A degree in any discipline such as B.Com, BBA, BA, BCA, or B.Tech is sufficient.
Step 2: Enroll in a Law School Upon completing the bachelor’s degree, candidates must appear for law entrance examinations such as CLAT, AILET, ACLAT, DU LLB, and others to qualify for enrollment in the LLB course. Successful completion of LLB is mandatory to pursue a career as a judge. Alternatively, candidates can pursue a 5-year integrated LLB program (e.g., BA LLB, BBA LLB, B.Com LLB, B.Tech LLB).
Step 3: Qualify for the Judicial Services Examination To become a judge in India, candidates need to appear for the Judicial Services Examination or PCS (J) – Provincial Civil Service Judicial Examination. This exam allows law graduates to become practicing members of the subordinate judiciary, which is the initial step to becoming a judge. The examination includes two types: Lower Judicial Services and Higher Judicial Services.
For both Lower Judicial Services and Higher Judicial Services, the recruitment process consists of three rounds:
- Preliminary Examination: This is an objective-based examination with multiple-choice questions. The passing percentage is generally 60% for general candidates and 55% for reserved category candidates.
- Main Examination: The main examination is subjective-based, where candidates are required to write answers to provided questions. The minimum passing marks are typically 40% in each subjective examination and 50% overall.
- Viva Voce: The final round is the interview round, where candidates who have qualified the preliminary and main examinations appear for an interview with the recruitment panel.
1. What is the significance of judicial ethics for judges?
Judicial ethics are essential for maintaining the integrity and credibility of the judiciary. Judges are expected to adhere to ethical standards, such as impartiality, integrity, confidentiality, and avoiding conflicts of interest. Upholding these ethics ensures public trust in the judiciary and the fair administration of justice.
2. How do a judges contribute to the development of law?
Judges contribute to the development of law through their interpretations and judgments. Their decisions help in clarifying legal principles, setting precedents, and shaping the legal landscape, thereby influencing the development and evolution of the law over time.
3. What is the role of a judge in the legal system?
The role of a judge in the legal system is to preside over court proceedings, hear arguments from both the prosecution and defense, evaluate evidence, interpret and apply the law, and deliver fair and impartial judgments.
4. : How are judges appointed in India?
Judges in India are appointed through a process that involves consultation and recommendation by the Collegium, which consists of the Chief Justice of India and a group of senior judges. The President of India appoints the judges based on the recommendations made by the Collegium.
5. What qualities and skills are important for a judge?
Some important qualities and skills for a judge include knowledge of the law, critical thinking and analytical skills, impartiality and fairness, strong communication and listening skills, empathy, integrity, and the ability to make well-reasoned decisions.
6. How are judges protected from external influences or pressures?
Judges are protected from external influences or pressures through the principles of judicial independence and security of tenure. These principles ensure that judges can make decisions without fear of interference, promoting fairness and impartiality.
7. What is the tenure of a judge in India?
The tenure of judges in India varies depending on the position. Supreme Court judges can serve until the age of 65, while High Court judges can serve until the age of 62. The tenure of judges in lower courts may vary across different states.