Strategy for Mains

We used this excel sheet to identify our sources for every topic and estimated date for completion.  It was a useful tool to keep track of preparation.

Syllabus and source

Preparing for Law Paper II


With lot of apologies to those who kept waiting for this to appear. It’s written in a hurry, will keep improving on this rough draft. Best Wishes, Avi Prasad


The Law Paper II is extraordinary in its breadth. So unless, you are one of those sincere students who start preparing years in advance, the entire syllabus cannot be done. I used the strategy of what I call ‘royal ignore’ to few topics in both the attempts. But I must add that it’s a high-risk strategy. Let’s start by comparing paper one and two. Paper one is predictable, can be done by couple of decent books and some part of it is covered under GS. One the other hand paper 2 is extensive, it involves 30 odd Acts and many topics are very dynamic, for instance competition law, IPR etc. Now, very few people even the lawyers will read an entire book for Competition Law, which might be asked once a year. So, what to do?


Let’s start with the basic, three main components of syllabus are- Crime, Torts and Contract & Mercantile Law.


Law of Crimes


For Crime, especially IPC, I used Dukki as main book. There are two of them as DU teaches IPC in two semesters. K D Gaur and Ratanlal were the reference books to be used for some topics not covered in Dukki. My experience with the 2012 and 2013 exam is that UPSC is more keen to ask a relatively insignificant section than the famous ones like murder, rape etc. So, expect a question on misappropriation from a dead body, obscenity etc. Most of the books, unless you are using the comprehensive section wise volume, focus on the important sections. That’s why reading the sections directly from the bare act becomes most important as the section which UPSC might ask would not have been covered in sufficient detail in the book. Again, I will advise you to read the DU case material that has summary of important cases. I gave a royal ignore to prevention of corruption Act and Civil Rights Act of the Crime syllabus. For, plea-bargaining, no need to study CrPC, just read couple of articles form the net.


Law of Torts


Torts- probably the easiest part of the syllabus. I preferred Ratanlal for this in addition to Dukki and DU case material. The questions are simple, the strategy of seeing past year papers and identifying the questions which are repeatedly asked works well for this part. I will advise to do consumer protection Act from Dukki itself, in addition to reading CPA bare act. Some people prefer to use Bangia from Torts, I will advise that unless you are really short of time, don’t go for Bangia.



Contracts & Mercantile Law


In addition to Indian Contract Act, we have SGA, NI, ACA and Partnership. I used Avatar Singh and Mulla for Indian Contract Act. Mulla is a superior book but not advisable if time constraint. Dukki is to be read even if you have ample time. Past year strategy works safe for Contract Law part. However, the remaining 4 Acts are really tricky as the questions can be asked from any 2/3 of them. I chose to ignore NI Act for the reason that is it more technical in nature and may be because I was in RBI so I was overconfident that will make some story if faced with compulsion to answer. Partnership Act is very smooth to read, Dukki is decent and now that LLP is here for sometime, it’s a probable question. SGA is extension of Contract Act and not very difficult to follow either. Relying solely on Dukki in addition to bare act is a safe bet. Arbitration and Conciliation Act has not been asked much in the past but must be done as for this Act you can focus on some important sections alone like sec 34 etc. For Contract part, read case law from DU material. I will not suggest reading too many case laws for the other 4 Acts, as it will be too much effort for too few probable gains.



Contemporary Legal Developments


Please note down that if you have done the above three portion well it is NOT going to be enough for this paper. This part has been the Achilles’ heel for many a candidates and I have seen candidates in the exam hall most confused as to which question to attempt. 1, 7, 8 i.e. PIL, RTI and trial by media can be done as part of General Studies by reading few well researched articles. However, in the case of RTI, take a look at Bare Act also, as questions can be as specific as to objectives of the RTI Act as mentioned in the preamble of the Act.



For 5, if you have done the ACA well then there is not much to worry. You must also focus on the Lok Adalats system of ADR. DU case material on Indian Legal System has some excellent articles on dispute resolution mechanisms in India.


So, we are left with 4 topics- environmental laws, Competition, Cyber Law and IPR.


As I was a faculty for Cyber Law at NLU J, I ignored this for preparation. But for others, I will suggest using online material to prepare for this Act. Some important topics are cyber offences, digital signature, intermediary’s liability etc.


Competition Commission of India has provided excellent booklets on this subject on this website. You can use them for this part of the syllabus. As the questions are usually general in nature they can be answered if you have basic awareness of the legal terminology related to Competition Law.


Environmental Law in itself is a very broad subject and I kept it for royal ignore. However, one can look at the NGT and the legal framework for it. Reading all the Pollution Laws is beyond the scope for normal aspirants. MoEF has compiled a list of important Act and their brief summary on it’s website. I only referred to that.


IPR is very broad again. I did an online course of few hours to familiarize myself with the terminology. The course is offered by WIPO academy and I think its course number is 101. I used one excellent website called spicy IP to prepare for all the developments in the area of IPR.



Preparing for General Studies Paper 3 (Mains Examination)

In this post, we list out the sources for various topics in General Studies Paper 3, followed by a discussion on approach towards various topics.

Topic Broad Classification Source
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Economics Any standard book on Indian Economy, Uma Kapila etc.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Economics Sriram notes
Government Budgeting Economics Economic Survey of India
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy book on the subject
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy book on the subject, Sriram notes
Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy book on the subject, Mrunal
Land reforms in India. Agriculture Shankar IAS academy, Sriram notes
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. Economics Uma Kapila
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc. Economics Sriram notes, GKtoday
Investment models. Economics Gktoday
Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. S&T Self prepared notes on topics mentioned on Gktoday’s science and technology section on the website, Youtube videos
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. S&T Sriram notes, Youtube videos on related topics
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Environment Shankar IAS academy, Mrunal
Disaster and disaster management. DM Sriram notes, ARC
Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Security Self prepared notes, Shankar IAS academy
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Security Self prepared notes, Shankar IAS academy, IDSA book
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security Security Newspaper articles, IDSA book (read below for link) free ebook available for download
Money-laundering and its prevention. Security Sriram notes, Shankar IAS academy
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Security Sriram notes, Shankar IAS academy
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate Security Sriram notes, Shankar IAS academy, Internet website of security agencies


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Law and Behold

Let me apologize at the very outset for two things:

1. Twisting the original idiom, Lo and Behold, in a way that would put even Ogden Nash to shame (he’s turning in his grave as you read this), just to make the heading appealing.

2. Using a ‘z’ in place of an ‘s’ in apologize. I love Oxford commas, and detest American English and the American style of applying commas. But I cannot figure out how to change the US English settings on the computer I’m using. So imma be using American English, yo, just like Justin Bieber! But wait, isn’t he a Canadian?

So, this is about the law optional for UPSC. And I’m not a seasoned lawyer. I’m not, in fact, a lawyer. But still, I shall write this, since I guess I understand law somewhat. In fact, each one of us does. (I got decent marks, too – 251/500. So, you have to listen to my gratuitous advices at least once)

Law is not something alien. The basic crux has come from the way average people usually go about life – don’t take what’s not yours, be nice, don’t be violent and all that jazz. In fact, that’s what is mentioned in all religious books. And Hammurabi probably was the first dude who got it etched on stele. By the way, take this ‘average person’ thing very seriously; most laws assume that we are mango people.

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