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Benefits of Law Optional

Common with GS

The subject covers substantial syllabus of UPSC exam as a whole.  Law syllabus has a considerable part which overlaps with General Studies syllabus (Pre and Mains both), specially polity and constitution.

  • For example, if you take Law as an optional subject, Law optional paper I covers Constitutional Law & Administrative law in first section and International law in second section. Whereas the general studies paper II covers Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, International Relations. In other words, Governance means Administrative Law, Polity & social justice are part of Constitutional Law and International Relations are part of International Law. It means that substantial part of General Studies paper II is covered in optional paper I of Law. 
  • Further, in General Studies paper III, some of the topics are, Cyber Security, Money Laundering, Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates, Land Reforms in India, Bio-technology and issues related to intellectual property rights, Conservation of Environment etc. These topics again from integral part of Law Optional Paper II, Contemporary legal developments section which covers, Cyber laws, Statutes concerning Environment, Intellectual property rights etc.

Stats – Success Rate

  • Law has an excellent success rate in the Civil Service Examination.
  • Consistently aspirants with Law secured top ranks in Civil Service Examination.
  • Repeatedly over the years there has been an increase in the number of students taking Law.
  • And the success ratio has soared even higher, from being placed 9th in 2012 (17%) to 2nd in 2013 (24%) and in 2014 it was placed 6th (17%) behind only five literature papers and Medical science.
  • Amongst the subjects opted by 100 or more candidates, the highest percentage of successful candidates had opted for Law(24.3 percent) followed by Economics (20.2 percent) and Medical Science (16.4 percent).
  • It is a scoring subject.

As an Optional

  • UPSC doesn’t expect you to be experts in law. You don’t need to be a law graduate to opt for the law optional in the IAS mains.
  • It is interesting and you can learn a lot about law by reading newspapers and following cases in news.
  • The two papers are application-based and so you don’t have to do a lot of mugging up.
  • It is very interesting and practically relevant subject, covering major topics such as Constitution of India, International Law in Paper 1 and Indian Penal Code, Law of Torts, Law of Contract and other small Acts such as Sales of Goods Act, Environmental Law, Intellectual property Law in Paper 2.
  • The Paper 1 syllabus is concise and requires comparatively lesser efforts than that of Paper 2. In Paper 2, besides focusing on Major Acts, one need to cover small laws thoroughly, as in last 5-6 years the UPSC has been specifically asking question on smaller Acts.
  • It is one of the three optional papers (other being Engineering and Medical science) where the difficulty level is not of Honours degree level but of bachelors’ degree level.
  • What goes in Laws favour is that at its base, it is nothing but common sense and so it is pretty easy to understand and apply.
  • No legal theory or concept is difficult and mysterious that it cannot be understood from the standard textbooks.
  • The questions are predictable and have been repeated too with questions on tough portions of the law like procedural laws, taxation laws and FEMA being nil.
  • The subjects that most students in Law School find lengthy and difficult does not form a part of the UPSC syllabus like procedural laws (Cr.Pc, Evidence or C.P.C).
  • If one is preparing for UPSC, he/she must have some understanding of the fundamentals of law, like what is right, what is wrong, and also Constitutional law, Commercial laws, etc.
  • Topics like governance issues, RTI, a relationship between organs of state, etc. have significance for the GS papers as well.
  • The syllabus is limited and can be covered in a relatively short time. It takes 2-3 months to finish the syllabus. It takes less time in comparison to a few other optional.
  • There is easy availability of material and also the syllabus is easy to understand for self-studies.
  • Many social and economic issues should be viewed from the legal angle as well and law students find this easy. So, studying law helps in general studies, essay paper, ethics paper and also in the final interview.

After Selection

  • Law as an optional subject is very useful not only with respect to UPSC preparation but even after selection as Civil servant, one need to have grasp of various legal aspects for carrying out day to day work.
  • The first and foremost advantage is the work nature of a civil servant, which is to act in the capacity of an efficient administrator and also to maintain law and order and so there is a requirement of having a good understanding of the law. So, the knowledge of Law immensely helps in one’s understanding of the exact nature of the job.

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