In UPSC CSE 2021 Law optional subject students have once again ranked top in civil services final result list. Best among them were Rank 31, and Rank 33 both of them Law graduate from prestigious Universities in India, One from NLSIU Bangalore other from Punjab University Respectively.
Law graduates, especially from NLUs and other prestigious law universities, tend to be smarter in grasping humanities subjects and nuances of UPSC civil service examination. In my limited experience, Law graduate once they become IAS officers or IRS officer tend to more productive as they learn manoeuvring of huge bureaucratic machinery more effectively, given there knowledge of Law
In civil service, any work or policy, apart from being administratively feasible or financially viable or politically acceptable, must be judicially tenable. That is where law graduates excel, their deep interest in constitutional law makes them judge a policy or decision more effectively. In my interview with law optional toppers UPSC or their answer copies, which I checked, there was a clear pattern of effective and coherent arguments.
One may argue, these candidates may be considered a great loss to the bar and probably the bench. In Fact Noted Lawyer, Fali Nariman, in a Youtube interview said that his parents wanted him to be in the civil service, and thankfully he became a lawyer instead. The contribution he has made to Indian Law and constitution is unparalleled.
But to Candidate’s defence, given the nature of law practice in India and time or connection it takes to truly succeed in law profession, is sometimes, beyond the means of a fresh graduate, who needs subsistence immediately and regularly. Joining the Civil Service is more stable and more socially recognisable. Within minutes of the civil service result announcement camera vans line up before candidate’s home.
Another important aspect for toppers is that they never did any coaching at all. They no doubt took guidance from me regarding Law optional test series and some parts of law optional UPSC syllabus but they did not attend a full coaching in that sense. Now that begs the question. Do you need it at all?
Starting Law optional Preparation
I have written, 2 year ago, an article on a definite guide to prepare for law optional syllabus here in Live law, this article still is useful and can be looked into. Effectively what i said was as follow-
I will further advise you to look at the law optional UPSC dedicated Website for a more elaborate and productive routine enabling you to prepare the subject for yourself.
Do you Need law optional classroom coaching?
As stated earlier, the Answer is NO, you don’t need it, if you are law graduate and have studied as per law optional syllabus along with your university syllabus. The maximum one may need is a mentorship or a test series.
The only thing classroom coaching does is organise things for you in a simple lucid manner with proper printed notes and test series so that you don’t have to run and go through multiple books and to be fair it saves a lot of time.
Classroom coaching sometimes also provides student discipline that the whole syllabus would be completed in definite time and candidates can focus on collecting material and studying seemingly ocean-like syllabus of GS papers. Then the next question arises: where to start?
Do you need to be a law graduate to take a law Subject?
As per UPSC any graduate can opt for any subject prescribed in notification. So legally you can, but there is a lingering doubt whether non law background students opt for law optional in practical sense. The answer is Yes, if you love articles related to law or polity section of GS paper – 2, then there is a chance that you will excel with law optional.
Taking any optional subject should be a matter of interest, as you will have to read that subject in detail and if you are uninterested in the subject, chances are you will give up in a few months.
Interest in the subject should be kept in mind for taking on a journey for UPSC, given the changing nature of questions, if you don’t have interest in the subject you won’t be able to connect it with current affairs related to that subject. So go for law if you really have an interest in it.
Current affair in Law
There is a topic by the name of ‘COntemporary legal development’ in law optional syllabus. You should distinguish between ‘contemporary’ and ‘current’, the question in upsc law paper is more from former than later.
Contemporary development would mean development in recent years, may 1 – 5 year. Current’ includes upto a year. For example – PIL may be considered a contemporary development in Indian jurisprudence, even after 4 decades of its origin. Live law or other similar websites can be visited to scout for relevant contemporary developments.
About the Author: Aditya Tiwari, teaches law optional to UPSC aspirants in Delhi at De Facto IAS. He regularly sends law updates to telegram groups. He holds a bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), Allahabad and an LLB from Delhi University.
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