OPTIONAL: LAW PAPER
PAPER – I
Constitutional and Administrative Law
- Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution.
- Fundamental rights – Public interest litigation; Legal Aid; Legal services authority.
- The relationship between fundamental rights, directive principles and fundamental duties.
- The constitutional position of the President and relation with the Council of Ministers.
- Governor and his powers.
- Supreme Court and High Courts:
(a) Appointments and transfer.
(b) Powers, functions, and jurisdiction..
- Centre, States and local bodies:
(a) Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States.
(b) Local bodies.
(c) The administrative relationship among Union, State and Local Bodies.
(d) Eminent domain – State property – common property – community property.
- Legislative powers, privileges and immunities.
- Services under the Union and the States:
(a) Recruitment and conditions of services; Constitutional safeguards; Administrative tribunals.
(b) Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commissions – Power and functions
(c) Election Commission – Power and functions.
- Emergency provisions.
- Amendment of the Constitution.
- Principles of natural justice – Emerging trends and judicial approach.
- Delegated legislation and its constitutionality.
- Separation of powers and constitutional governance.
- Judicial review of administrative action.
- Ombudsman: Lokayukta, Lokpal etc.
- Nature and definition of international law.
- Relationship between international law and municipal law.
- State recognition and state succession.
- Law of the sea: Inland waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone, high seas.
- Individuals: Nationality, statelessness; Human rights and procedures available for their enforcement.
- Territorial jurisdiction of States, extradition and asylum.
- Treaties: Formation, application, termination and reservation.
- United Nations: Its principal organs, powers, functions and reform.
- Peaceful settlement of disputes – different modes.
- Lawful recourse to force: aggression, self-defence, intervention.
11.Fundamental principles of international humanitarian law – International conventions and contemporary developments.
- Legality of the use of nuclear weapons; ban on testing of nuclear weapons; Nuclear – non proliferation treaty, CTBT.
- International terrorism, state sponsored terrorism, hijacking, international criminal court.
- New international economic order and monetary law: WTO, TRIPS, GATT, IMF, World Bank.
- Protection and improvement of the human environment: International efforts.
Paper – II
Law of Crimes
- General principles of criminal liability: Mens rea and actus reus, mens rea in statutory offences.
- Offences against women.
- Kinds of punishment and emerging trends as to abolition of capital punishment.
- Preparation and criminal attempt.
- General exceptions.
- Joint and constructive liability.
- Criminal conspiracy.
- Offences against the State.
- Offences against public tranquility.
- Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
- Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 and subsequent legislative developments.
- Offences against human body.
- Offences against property.
- Plea bargaining.
Law of Torts
- Nature and definition.
- Liability based upon fault and strict liability; Absolute liability.
- Vicarious liability including State liability.
- General defences.
- Joint tort feasors.
- False imprisonment.
- Malicious prosecution.
- Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law
- Nature and formation of contract/Econtract.
- Factors vitiating free consent.
- Void, voidable, illegal and unenforceable agreements.
- Performance and discharge of contracts.
- Quasi- Contracts.
- Consequences of breach of contract.
- Contract of indemnity, guarantee and insurance.
- Contract of agency.
- Sale of goods and hire purchase.
- Formation and dissolution of partnership.
- Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
- Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
- Standard form contracts.
Contemporary Legal Developments
- Public Interest Litigation.
- Intellectual property rights – Concept, types/prospects.
- Information Technology Law including Cyber Laws – Concept, purpose/prospects.
- Competition Law- Concept, purpose/prospects.
- Alternate Dispute Resolution – Concept, types/prospects.
- Major statutes concerning environmental law.
- Right to Information Act.
- Trial by media.
Dukki refers to guide book.
Constitutional and Admin Law
- Topic Nos. 1 to 3 (Distinctive features, Fundamental Rights and their relationship with DPSPs etc).- MP Jain
- Topic Nos. 4 to 11- Constitutional Law Dukki(supplemented with MP Jain, DD Basu and Laxmikant wherever I needed more details)
- Topic Nos. 12 to 15- Admin Law Dukki (can be supplemented with IP Massey wherever needed)
- Topic No. 16 (ombudsman)- made short notes using the internet
- In addition, I was following Gautam Bhatia’s blog https://indconlawphil.wordpress.com/
- Topic No. 1 Nature and Definition of IL- Shaw
- Topic No. 2 Relationship between international law and municipal law- International Law Dukki, SK Kapoor
- Topic No. 3 State Recognition etc.- SK Kapoor
- Topic No. 4 Law of the Seas- Shaw
- Topic Nos. 5 to 7- SK Kapoor
- Topic No. 8 United Nations- the internet
- Topic Nos. 9,10- SK Kapoor
- Topic No. 11 onwards will require you to read from multiple sources. The best way to go about them is to use the internet generously, make your own notes. Make sure to not leave any topic out.
- https://ruwanthikagunaratne.wordpress.com/. You should definitely refer to it for case summaries and the like.
Law of Crimes
- Make sure to focus on the illustrations for important sections such as murder, theft etc given in the bare Act.
- Prevention of Corruption Act- the internet
- Protection of Civil Rights Act- the internet, and also make sure to cover the Atrocities Act and the recent amendments made to it
- Plea Bargaining- Read the sections from CrPC, and referred to an article on it online
Law of Torts
- Law of Torts by Bangiawill help you to sufficiently cover the syllabus. However, revising it will be a problem so make extremely short notes for quick revision.
- Consumer Protection Act- Do cover the recent developments regarding the new consumer protection Act.
Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law
- Contract Law i.e. Topic Nos. 1 to 7- For this, read the relevant sections from the bare Act. Supplement with the Contract Law Dukki. Refer to Avtar Singh for the topics the dukki does not cover properly.
- Contract of Agency, Sale of Goods Act-
- Formation and Dissolution of Partnership- Bare Act along with judgments such as the KD Kamath and Haldiram Bhujiwala cases
- Negotiable Instruments Act- Booklet available in Rajinder Nagar market, along with the recent developments regarding the Dashrath Rupsingh Rathod case
- Arbitration and Conciliation- I referred to my college notes, and primers on the new Act.
- Standard form contracts- Contract law dukki
- Contemporary Legal Developments- The wire, livelaw, spicyIP, any new reports of the Law Commission. This is one topic for which you really cannot know what to study. Keep an eye on any recent legal developments you read about in the newspapers, or anything legal which is being talked about by op-ed writers.
- PIL- MP Jain, articles from the internet
- IPR- primer by Nishith Desai Associates on the IPR regime in India. It is sufficiently detailed and covers the topic well.
- Cyber Laws- received help from a friend who is into technology law. You could read a primer on the Act.
- Competition Law- read the PDF files available on the website of the Competition Commission of India on abuse of dominant position, anti-competitive practices etc.
- ADR- for this, I read section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code and related jurisprudence (it is a short topic).
- Right to Information Act- went through the bare Act and a few articles online
- Trial by Media- 200th report of the Law Commission of India (to be read selectively)
- For preparing a subject (and especially in CSE, considering the vastness of syllabus), I think it is, first, important to understand the kind of questions that are asked in the paper. Once that ORIENTATION is built, the preparation can be geared in that direction.
- For that, I would recommend that a book containing the previous years’ papers be bought, preferably the one that categorizes the questions under the head of topics in the syllabus. You should try to read the questions repeatedly and try to internalize them. This would hardly take ten minutes per sitting but would be one of the best investments you make. At the same time, should know what you are looking for in these questions and try to develop the following things:
- Relative importance of different topics so that you can prioritize them and allocate time accordingly. For example, in my opinion, one should not spend as much time on article 23-24 as much they do on Article 14 or 32.
- The nature of questions that are asked from each topic. One can see that the kind of questions asked under Article 14 are more often than not of the same type i.e. theoretical or you can say, mostly on the test of arbitrariness. There are very few questions which are based on particular situations or facts (such as on special courts or on the case regarding air hostesses). So, while studying or revising, you can choose lay extra emphasis on these aspects.
- At times, the questions are also repeated in the optional papers in which case you will stand to gain, having thought over a question before the exam.
- Having built an orientation, the second thing is to build your CONTENT. It is better to categorize your books into primary and secondary. There should be one book that is your primary source and the others that should merely be used to add to the content and language. It is also fine if you’re referring to only one book and have read it thoroughly. In the booklist given above, point one can be the primary book for each subject. Few tips on content development:
- Focus on conceptual understanding of topics more, rather than rote learning of cases. While the second can be taken care of through examples, the first is non-negotiable. When you have a good command over your concepts, you can make up examples on the spot and they are also rewarded comparably, if not equally.
- Remember to think about the rationale and significance of a topic. For eg, in reading Article 12, you should know the significance of an entity being declared a state (i.e. what consequences ensue) and the rationale behind the tests of instrumentality of state and as to why it underwent a change from Rajasthan SEB to Ajay Hasia (in light of changing role of state). It often happens that we tend to neglect/or take for granted the rationale part of a concept or its introductory para while reading, which for the purposes of UPSC is also of importance.
- Role of Current Affairs – Current Affairs plays an extremely important part throughout this exam and increasingly, the Law optional papers are becoming dynamic in nature. My take on the role of current affairs in the paper is:
- Paper 1 does feature 2-3 questions directly from current affairs, which can be predicted. For instance, in 2015, there was a question on international nuclear law when Marshal Islands filed a case against India. Similarly, in 2016, there was a 20 marks question on Paris treaty. Therefore, all such news that come on the first page of the newspaper and pertain to the syllabus of constitutional and international law can be selected and made notes on. E.g. Topics like consular access, extradition, refugee law, interstate water disputes, etc.
- Paper 2 has a component of contemporary legal developments and UPSC more or less sticks to them while asking on current affairs.
- Now that you have read through the entire thing and internalized it, the herculean task is to MEMORIZE it. The way in which one should do that is anybody’s ballgame. But the way I did it was by making notes, continuous revision and most importantly, discussion with a peer group. It is easier said than done and you, like me, might not remember a lot of the cases on the day of the exam, but then it is fine because most others would also float in the same boat.
Previous Year Question Papers:
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