Judiciary Judiciary Exams

Why is it a good time to join the judiciary

We are making great progress on learning the nuances of the Judiciary as a career. Today, let me tell you about why there is a great opportunity for judiciary aspirants right now and why it is going to get better in the coming years. 

There is a tsunami of vacancies coming in the next few years

India does not have enough judges –  we need 50,066 more Judges to clear the backlog of 3.7 crores cases that are pending. How did we arrive at this number?

The 120th Law Commission report stated that India needs 50 judges per 1 million population to adequately meet the litigation demands of this country. This is also important to climb the Ease of Doing Business index rankings issues by the World Bank, which is an economic priority of the government. 

With a population of approximately 1.3 billion, we require 69,000 judges to meet the requirement. We currently only have 18,934.

69000 -18934 = 50066

Every year, the Supreme Court increases the ‘sanctioned strength’ keeping the target of 50 judges per million. In the last ten years, the sanctioned strength has increased by 39 percent, adding a whopping 6,885 seats to be filled. 

As of today, 5,589 seats lie vacant (about 22 percent) as per the current ‘sanctioned strength’ of High Court and lower court judges. If the sanctioned strength of the courts increase at the same rate as they have for the last 10 years, India should have a sanctioned strength of 28,814 by the end of the year. 

Therefore, we will need 9,880 additional judges by end-2023 to meet the future sanctioned strength. This number will go up all the way to 50,066 to meet the requirement for judges as per the 120th Law Commission report.  

In short, more judges are being hired, with a massive unprecedented increase in vacancies on the cards.

From the CJI’s address at the 11th Joint Conference of Chief Justices of various High Courts and Chief Ministers of States:

At the same time, many judges have also been quitting the judiciary to go into private practice and even join top law firms, given that one can earn a lot more in the private sector, so more vacancies keep arising.

Government is actively working on making the judiciary more rewarding as a career option, to attract and retain talent. 

There is a huge crisis in terms of hiring and retaining talented lawyers in the judiciary, and that is hurting the country.

The government has realised that it is important to improve the monetary compensation to the judiciary in order to fill up the seats with high-quality candidates and then retain them.

In February 2020, the Second National Judicial Service Commission issued a revised pay structure for all judicial officers, with the following proposed salary increments:

The new pay structure increases pay for judicial officers by almost 3 times! Apart from salary, judges are entitled to plenty of perks – government residence, government security, various allowances, conveyance, etc. Here is a link to that information.

These recommendations are to be implemented soon. Here is an update from a July, 2022 article on Outlook:

In short, remuneration and benefits are going to be extremely lucrative if you decide to be a judge in these times. Can there be a better time to prepare for the Judiciary exam?

While the number of people writing this exam is high, serious competition is low.

Talented lawyers have many more attractive avenues, including law firms, international opportunities, teaching law, and even litigation.

When Abhyuday (COO, LawSikho) and I were writing the law entrance exam, we were two of around 30,000 candidates. There were roughly 200 seats in the top 3-4 colleges in the general quota. 

That’s less than 1 percent, just like the judiciary exam. But here is what my mentor said: sure, tens of thousands of people will write the exam, but how many do you think will spend even 6 months seriously preparing?

Most of them just filled in the form as it was a ‘good option’, some people are taking it because they can’t say no to parents, some are trying their luck, others had to try because their cousin tried it too. 

Some people start seriously and then get distracted. They may not even show up at the exam centre. At the end of the day, my mentor said, there may be a thousand people who really really want it, and will be preparing hard. Your competition is only with them, he said.

There are not too many people who seriously prepare for the judiciary exam, finish the syllabus and come actually prepared to win. But there are many people who write the exam only half prepared. You can imagine what happens to them. Those people are not really in the running.

And when you think like that, the competition does not seem so extreme.

Once, when I posted about how many people write judiciary exams and how few people ever make it, this is what a retired district and sessions judge said about it:

Exactly the same as what my mentor had said before I wrote the law entrance in 2006.

Lot of people register for such competitive exams, but the number of people who actually prepare properly are miniscule. 

The reality is that state judiciaries just can’t find enough people who are serious enough to meet the cut off. Hundreds of seats are wasted every year, though all these coaching centres are admitting thousands of aspirants, whose parents are paying INR 2 lakh per person for admission!

Yet they can’t clear the cut off. This is one reason we decided to enter this market. What were the other reasons?

First, it is a privilege to train the future judges of our country. Second, we know there is so much to be done. The state of affairs in judiciary coaching is awful. Third, technological innovation is slowly finding its way into the justice delivery system as well, making it more exciting as a career option  

Fourth, there are significant opportunities for judges post retirement, such as appointment to tribunals, private arbitrations, etc. A lot of judges start earning a lot of money after they retire, as arbitrators, since the Indian Judiciary prefers retired judges to be appointed as arbitrators.

And here is how much arbitrators earn:

It is not that you have to retire after a certain age. A lot of young judges take early voluntary retirement. If you have been a judge already, that opens up a lot of career opportunities for you.

It is the same for retired district judges too. They can serve as arbitrators or provide legal opinions for a lot of money. This is your moment of opportunity. This is the best career move right now from any angle. You just have to prepare hard to clear this exam.

I don’t want you to miss out on the chance to explore a career in the judiciary. Start today on your path to success. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *