“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”— Herman Melville
Ms. Ankita Agrawal has got selected as Civil Judge in the Chhattisgarh Judicial Services Examination 2019-20 and she got Rank 1. She is an alumnus of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. UFLS congratulates her and presents her interview.
How did you gravitate towards law?
I was not particularly interested in law. I wanted to prepare for UPSC, and my counselor said that taking law would be helpful in its preparation. After that, I appeared for CLAT and got admission to HNLU. After studying some of the law subjects in my 1st year, I eventually developed an interest in law.
Did you focus only on academics in college life?
I hate to say this, but mostly Yes. I participated in a few moot court competitions, though. It was only in the 4th year that I realized college is much more than that. So my advice to everyone would be that you devote a few hours of the day towards academics but enjoy your college days as well. Participate in different activities. You get this chance only once in your life.
What made you choose to serve the judiciary; did you not get tempted by the fancy corporate jobs?
The corporate jobs never really fascinated me. But they have their benefits like any other vocation, of the excellent pay scale and city life. And as all my internships were centered around court work, I opted to go for the judiciary. It gave me the job satisfaction I aspired for.
When should a person ideally start preparing for the judicial services exam?
As it goes for any competitive exam, the earlier you start, the better. But before starting it, it would be wise to have studied at least a few law subjects. So I would not recommend that you start preparing for it as soon as you get admission to a law college. In my opinion, one can start the preparation from 2nd or 3rd year. But this in no way means that people who start a bit late have any fewer chances of getting selected. It totally depends on your quality of preparation.
How many hours did you devote towards the judicial services in terms of your preparation on a daily basis?
I never calculated the number of hours in my preparation throughout. There were days when I did not study at all, and then there were times I only got up to eat and bathe. I think it differs from person to person.
What was your study pattern, the mode of study (online, offline, etc.)?
Till my college, I studied on my own. After my college, I went to Indore for preparation. I joined coaching there and gave many mock tests. The mode of my study was majorly offline. As I was preparing for M.P then, my primary focus was on bare acts, recent and landmark judgments, solving previous year papers, and the objectives given in different books and GK. For mains, I referred commentaries on various subjects and practiced writing a lot.
Any specific strategy for dealing with the various case laws?
Many websites provide you with recent and essential judgments. I mostly referred LiveLaw and some channels on YouTube. Other than that, I also referred yearly magazine of Judgment and law Today. For landmark judgments, I went through the case laws mentioned in commentaries of different subjects. I also studied the case laws which were asked in previous year papers of other states.
How to clear judiciary in one attempt?
I think everyone starts preparing for judiciary with the hope of getting selected in one attempt. But there is no exclusive mantra for getting selected in one attempt. You just have to give your best and have faith. Not everyone will be lucky enough to make it in their first attempt. Therefore, it’s vital not to get demotivated if you don’t get selected in your first attempt. Like any competitive exam, Judiciary can demand some of your time, patience, and energy. The key is not to give up and keep working hard. Eventually, this will give you the results.
What if somebody has decided at the end of her college to sit for judiciary & he/she has to clear in one go? What your take?
I would not say that it would be impossible to clear the judiciary in such a case. But Judiciary does demand at least a few months of preparation. Even if you decide to appear for this exam at the end of college, I would suggest giving yourself some time to prepare for it before expecting any results. In any case, smart work can certainly help you to achieve it even if you start late.
Do you think that judges also have a social life and can be active on social media like supposing a person who loves to post travel stories and also had a dream for the judiciary in one go? He clears in one go but is confused so what could be your point of view if you had been in that person’s place?
Judges are totally free to share their stories on social media. There are no restrictions as such. However, they are expected not to post anything that can reveal their stand in a particular case, especially those pending in court. They are also expected to maintain some decency which is per judicial behavior. When it comes to their social life, they are generally expected to have limited conversations with the general public to remain unbiased if a case relating to them comes up in their court.
What would be your tips to those aspirants who are preparing for this exam?
Firstly, understand the competition and then evaluate where you stand. This can be done by regular tests. If possible, maintain a timetable and try to stick to it. For Preliminary Exam, it’s important to focus on the bare acts. For Mains Exam, practice writing a lot. Judiciary is different from other exams when it comes to memorizing the subjects. Not only one has to focus on clearing their concepts but also on retaining and remembering things they study. It’s also important that you brush up on what you have learned the previous day. Repetition is the key to success in many cases. Take breaks in between by dividing your topics into smaller parts. And lastly, the most important thing is to stay positive and not let a failure or two demotivate you.