How to Become a Judge in India: Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Pattern

One of the most respected and well-known positions in India is that of a judge or a magistrate. As our nation is democratic in nature, the judiciary holds a very important position and status here and it is a matter of pride for a person to become a judge but as we all know with a great position comes great responsibility too. Here also, smooth functioning of the judicial system depends upon the effectiveness of the judges.

The work of a judge is long and calls for a lot of hard work, but it may lead to a successful career. The Judge’s position, considered one of the most reputable professions, is above the jurisprudence system. A judge’s work is extremely responsible and highly demanding. If you’re intrigued to be a judge, this article will look at the essential components of the procedure in becoming one.

The role necessitates legal knowledge and the ability to comprehend the law from diverse perspectives. A thorough understanding of all areas of law is required.

Responsibilities of a Judge

A judge, sometimes known as the “custodian of the constitution,” is a person who has power in courtroom proceedings. A judge’s powers and responsibilities change depending on the jurisdiction. Each case brought before a court has a range of choices, beliefs, and consequences. A judge is in charge of deciding the destiny of both the plaintiff and the defendant.

While certain duties are performed in the courtroom during trials, much of the work, such as soliciting views, conducting research, and discussing cases, is done behind closed doors in chambers. The following are the basic tasks of judges:

  • Overseeing trials and listening to prosecutors’ and defendants’ claims, witness testimony, and so forth.
  • The penalties or punishments imposed on the guilty are subsequently decided by a court. They also influence the span of imprisonment.
  • The chief justice’s decision is legally binding. All of these choices are taken after a thorough examination of the case.
  • They also give instructions to the jury and decide whether or not the accused is guilty.
  • The judge also has the authority to determine the admission of evidence and to inform/remind the defendant/plaintiff of their rights.

A judge is the custodian of the constitution and has to protect the basic rights, in addition to these duties stated above, when present in the courtroom. This implies that any governmental and state conflicts will be examined by the courts while all rights and laws are protected.

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Process to become a Judge in India

Firstly, complete your Higher Secondary Education (12th Grade)

Secondly, take admission to a good law college. (If you want to know more about the best private law colleges in India, do check our article “Top 10 Private Law Colleges”)

Now, coming to the most important step.

Crack State Judicial Services Examination!

After completing a graduate degree, candidates must take the State Judicial Services Exam, which is held by state high courts or public service commissions for recruitment to subordinate judicial services, particularly Civil Judge and District Judge positions. Preliminary, Mains, and Interview are the three stages of the examination. Members of the lower judiciary are appointed by the state government, which is overseen by the high courts.

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  1. Age: The age of a candidate must be in between 21 years to 35 years.
  2. Educational Qualification:  a degree in law (LLB) is compulsory.

To begin, one must understand that every state has a state judiciary, and each conducts its own separate competitive tests for entrance to the judiciary. Delhi is in a similar situation.

Even here, judicial services are divided into two levels.

  • Lower judicial services: Fresh law graduates must apply and pass an admission test, which is typically conducted by the Public Service Commission of the respective state, but is administered by the High Court of Delhi in this case.
  • Higher judicial services: The higher judicial services examinations are available to lawyers who have already been practicing for a given amount of time and have a specific number of years of experience litigating. The minimum number of years is often seven; however, it varies by state.

The advantage will indeed still be on the side of the higher judicial services, as somebody who passes their exams will be assigned to a high position at the start of their careers, while anybody who passes the lower judicial services examinations will not be assigned to a senior position at the start of their careers.

Note: Vacancies are announced at the state level, and the frequency of exams is mostly determined by these openings. The majority of these tests are held every year or even sometimes once in two years, and when there are no openings or seats available, the exam is not held at all. In the event that the test’s procedure is challenged in court, as has happened in the past years in a handful of states, the exam might be re-conducted.


Preliminary Examination:  The first stage is the preliminary test. It consists of multiple-choice questions that are objective in nature (MCQs). For the final selection, the marks obtained in the preliminary examination are not taken into account.

Mains Examination: The mains test, which is subjective in nature, is the second stage after clearing the prelims.  There are around three to four tests, which constitutes the mains exam. Candidates’ scores are used to determine the final selection.

Viva and Personal Interview: Candidates are evaluated on general interest, personality, and intelligence, among other things, at this stage of the selection process.

Judge Exam Syllabus 2024

The syllabus for the examination is different for every state, even it is important to note that one subject might be important in one state but on the other hand in another state, it might not be so important. But it is mostly divided into three parts:

  • Civil law
  • Criminal Law
  • Language paper

The language paper accounts for around 20% to 35% of the tests, however, keep in mind that it’s important to pass the language exam as all of your other papers may also get negatively affected if you fail in the language paper.


A judicial officer’s beginning salary depends on the state, but typically ranges from INR 30,000 to INR 50,000 per month, plus various government-sanctioned perks are also there.  It’s one of the few remaining government occupations with an after-retirement benefit.

Judicial officers have power for the rest of their lives. A judge will always be a judge, and his power will continue to grow. If you want to be respected for the rest of your life, judicial service is the profession to go for.

In a speech to NALSAR students, our ex-CJI T.S. Thakur equated judges to God. He boldly proclaims that dispensing justice is a heavenly task that can only be performed by a select few. So, what are you waiting for? Only law students have this opportunity to serve our country by providing justice and punishing the perpetrators. Don’t leave it for anything!!

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