In India, most states have their own State Judicial Services. Each of these State Judicial Services conducts their own recruitment. So here’s how does one join State Judiciary.
To become a member of the State Judiciary, there are usually two methods:
- Start a litigation practice and hope to get elevated to the bench someday. This is the slightly better-known method.
- Participate in the competitive process hosted by each state for its judicial services.
Apart from the opportunity to serve your fellow man and see justice being delivered, there are several additional attractive features of working in the judicial services including handsome perks and privileges. For example, rent-free accommodation, fuel allowances, subsidized electricity and water supplies, telephone allowances and bursaries for children’s education. Typically, the quality and quantity of these perks and allowances are comparable to or better than those of civil service officers.
In addition, thanks to the 6th Pay Commission the remuneration structures for most State Judicial Services allow its officers to have a good quality of life right from the beginning. And in addition to all this, the best benefit is perhaps one that is not so evident at first glance – unlike administrators or police officers, judicial officers almost always have postings in district headquarters so they never have to serve in remote areas. This puts to rest concerns regarding their children’s education and availability of facilities.
In each state, there are 2 entry levels to the judicial services:
First – Lower Judicial Services
This is meant for fresh graduates through an entrance exam conducted by the respective state public service commissions (UP, MP, Rajasthan etc.) or the High Court (Delhi). The syllabus for these exams usually includes law subjects and English, general knowledge and the local language of the state. Entry through this avenue assures you of time-based promotions and a secured employment early on in your career.
Second – Higher Judicial Service (HJS)
This service is open to practicing lawyers with a certain prescribed minimum number of years of litigating practice, usually 7 (may vary for different states). Applicants have to appear for a competitive examination for entry to the HJS the syllabus for which is similar to the one described above. The advantage with this option is that if selected the applicant gets posted as an additional district judge which significantly hastens promotional prospects.
The Lower Judicial Services have a fixed quota (which varies with each High Court) for elevation to the High Court. Hence, the prospects of HJS members are better since they can expect to get promoted to senior posts at a younger age. However, preparing for and clearing the HJS examination is more challenging and the number of seats is far lesser.
To sum up, each person must take a serious look at their career trajectory and options before taking the plunge into the Judicial Services. Opt for this if you want a secure and safe career and wish to be in public service, albeit with a comfortable compensation package-instead of the vagaries of litigation, then the judicial services may well be the right choice for you.