State Judicial Services Exam – Become A Member of The Subordinate Judiciary

State Judicial Services Exam or as we call it, PCS (J)-Provincial Civil Service-Judicial Exam are termed to be the Entry-Level tests for Law Graduates to become a member of the Subordinate Judiciary.

These exams are conducted by a State Judicial Department to hire for subordinate judicial services.

The exams focus on Indian Legal and Constitutional governance and history, current developments of National and International interest, and analytical aptitude and skills of the candidate.

An estimate of 50,000 to 60,000 aspirants apply for Judicial Services Examination each year but merely 15% – 20% approx.  clear it.

Judiciary services without a doubt is a worthwhile option for many applicants who want to build a career in Public Service or the workings of the State Authority.

Here are the various job roles that an applicant can take after appearing and clearing the Judicial Services Exam.



*District and Sessions Judge


*Public Prosecutor

*Attorney General


*Advocate General


*Oath Commissioner

Note: Qualified applicants of Law Service Commission/State Public Service Commission are also eligible for appointment as Magistrate and Sub Magistrate.

Eligibility Criteria

The Judicial Services has two entry levels:

Type of Services Education Qualification Experience Age (May differ from State to State) Eligibility
Lower Judiciary Services Must hold an LL.B Degree from a recognised institution and must have enrolled as an Advocate under the Advocates Act 1961 with membership in the state bar council. No experience needed.


Final year applicants can also give the exam.

Between 21 to 35 years. Must be a citizen of India.
Higher Judiciary Services Must hold an LL.B Degree from a recognised institution. Must have a min of seven years of litigating practice. Between 21 to 35 years. Must be a citizen of India.


Exam Structure


Factors Preliminary Examination Mains Examination Viva-Voce/Personal Interview
Exam Type Comprises of objective type questions, and acts as a screening test for the Mains Exam. The Mains is a subjective type examination, which comprises of three to four papers. Candidates are evaluated based on general knowledge, personality and aptitude among other determinants.
Qualifying Marks For General & SC/ST Categories The min qualifying marks vary from State to State. The min qualifying marks vary from State to State. This round carries a max of 50 marks out of which the candidate needs to score at least 20 marks to get selected.
Evaluation Criteria Marks aren’t calculated for preparing the final merit list. The marks secured by applicants are counted for the final selection The final step of selection to become a Judge.


The Range of Work For a Judge

The Judicial System consists of five hierarchies mainly Supreme Court, High Court, District Court, Magistrate court, and Munsiff Court.

Judges are assigned to the level of Court according to the qualification required for that particular Court Department. Many Judges and Magistrates operate in chambers (private offices), Courtrooms and/or law libraries.

The work involves reading legal briefs and proposals, researching legal issues, holding hearings with lawyers, and lastly composing the judgment.

The responsibility of the Judges differs depending on their jurisdictions and laws. The key responsibilities and role of the Judge are as follows:

    • Establish laws and implement rules of procedure
    • Preside over trials or hearings to conduct them justly
    • Advise litigants, attorney, or court personnel concerning the issues, conduct, and proceedings of a case
    • Settle disputes between defending attorneys
    • Listen to attorney-at-law performing their cases, allegations made by plaintiffs and hear all the witnesses
    • Read documents on motions and pleadings to ascertain facts and arguments.
    • Discover the evidence presented by the defence and the prosecution to determine if the evidence confirms the charges
    • Evaluate the evidence to decide whether the accused individual is innocent or guilty in accordance with the law
  • In the case of civil trials, Judges decide whether a petition is legitimate and estimates the damage, and grants an order of compensation to the plaintiff unless a jury has been empanelled to give the decision.
  • In the case of criminal trials, the Judge determines whether to hold offenders in prison pending trial or set bail and other requirements for release
  • In case the accused is convicted, then the Judge declares the sentence. The Judge may impose a fine, send the person to jail or both, depending on what the constitution prescribes

The Munsif/Sub-Judge deals with Civil Cases while the Magistrate deals with Criminal Cases.

These Officers can be promoted to District and Sessions Judge based on their seniority and skills. They can further be promoted to the Office of a Judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court.

Previously, District and Sessions Judges were promoted from those currently in service, but now in most of the states, they are being selected through competitive exams conducted by State Commissions.

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