Ankit Mittal graduated from Department of laws, Panjab University in 2013. After preparing for some time, he attempted Delhi Judicial Service Examination, 2017 whose result came on 2nd Feburary 2019 and he secured 22nd rank. At present he is working as ADA (Additional District Attorney) under Haryana Government. We got an opportunity to take an interview to ask the preparation strategy for the Judicial Services Examination.
How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
My Name is Ankit Mittal. I am from Panchkula district in Haryana. I did my Graduation in Law from Department of Laws, Panjab University, (3 year course). At present I am working as an ADA (Additional District Attorney) under Haryana Government. I secured 22 Rank in Delhi Judiciary Exam, 2017.
What made you choose law as a profession?
Actually, I opted for arts in my 12th. I always wanted to go for UPSC exam but honestly my performance was not satisfactorily in CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test). I did my B.A. Hons. in Public Administration from D.A.V. College, Panjab University. While I was in my final year the CSAT pattern was introduced for the first time. So I was not prepared as per the new pattern. It made my whole strategy fall apart. I was surrounded in the environment where many of my friends were in legal profession. So, out of enthusiasm coupled with an urge to gain some knowledge about legal field I pursed law. I gave an entrance test in Panjab University for three year law course and secured 4th Rank in entrance exam. It enhanced my momentum and interest to pursue law as a career.
Could you share some memories of your college days with us?
Indeed, I would love to. During my college days we had a relaxed environment. I spend my first year in adopting the course as it was new for me. Subjects like constitution, Jurisprudence generated interest in me and made me curious to pursue law as a profession. Thereafter, in second year I started participating in Co-curricular activities such as debate, moot court competition etc. I was also president of Moot Court Committee; I had also participated in many National and International moot court competitions. Involvement in these Co-Curricular activities boosted my morale with a generosity to speak before a crowd and influence them with my words and thoughts. It also helped me to be confident during Interview sessions. So, Co-curricular is also necessary to develop the personal skills of public speaking.
When did you start preparing for Judiciary?
After completing my Three year law course, I started practicing in Punjab & Haryana High Court. I practiced basically in criminal law under one of the senior lawyer Mr. Gaurav Mohunta in High Court. During that time I was also an executive member of Bar association Punjab & Haryana High Court. At the same time, I was also writing “Legal Helpline” dealing with IPC and equity & trust laws for Panjab and Kurukshetra University, and it allowed me to be in touch with academic along with my practice, with that I also started preparing for my judiciary exams. I qualified first Judiciary Pre Exam in 2014 of Delhi Judiciary. At that point of time I was engrossed with many other activities henceforth I couldn’t prepared well for 2014 Delhi Judiciary exam. Thereafter, my mother insisted me to give another shot for judiciary and further she remarked that litigation will always be an option. Thereafter I gave 3 DJS attempts (Delhi Judicial Service) 2 PJS (Punjab Judicial Service) attempts and 1 HJS attempts (Haryana Judicial Service). So it was my overall sixth mains attempt of DJS in which I secured 22 Rank. In between in 2017 I was appointed as ADA in Haryana Government and posted at Irrigation & Water Resource Department Haryana, Panchkula.
What role does a Coaching/Institute play in judicial services preparation?
Personally I think that coaching saves ones time because they tell you important areas and answer writing strategies which otherwise an individual would take a lot of time to grasp and understand. During my preparation I took guidance from my Department Professors and senior teacher and has not taken any full fledge coaching in any institute. Few teachers I would mention under whom I took Guidance were Professor Shipra Kaushal, Dr. Deipa Singh and Dr. Anil Khanna. For preparation of Delhi mains & Interview I took the help of the materials of Rahul IAS institute and also enrolled in their interview classes.
What is the pattern of Delhi Judicial Service exam?
The Delhi Judicial Service exam has three stages i.e., Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam, and Interview similar to that of other states. But one thing in DJS exam is unique is that they have fixed minimum qualifying marks for every stage other state don’t have such pattern of minimum qualifying marks fixed for every stage. In DJS Pre exam out of 200 marks 120 is mandatory, for mains 50% criteria is fixed and in interview 50% criteria is fixed out of 150 Marks. In DJS although you may secure top rank in mains but if you scored less than 50% of 150 marks in interview then you may be disqualified. In DJS pre exam the prime focus must be on General Knowledge and English. For mains the paper pattern of DJS is concept oriented, it means that if a question on criminal law is asked then it may be mixture of CrPc, IPC and Evidence in same question. It is also advised from my side that all aspirants preparing for DJS exam must read Delhi High Court Judgments.
What was your schedule during your days of preparation for exam?
As I was also practicing in High Court so I used to carry bare acts with me and read during lunch time and breaks in between the scheduled hearing of cases. After office hours I used to spend late night reading bare acts and few other books. During practice I barely had 3 to 4 hours to study. Thereafter when I left practice to prepare for my judicial service exams I made schedule. I mostly spent my time in AC Joshi library in Chandigarh which is open round the clock 365 days. So I dedicated approx. 10 hours daily for my preparation.
What were the shortcomings you found due to which you were not able to qualify in earlier attempts?
According to me when somebody prepares for this examination there is a lot of confusion in initial days from where one should study, i.e., Books or academic notes or to read judgments. We often change our sources very often. For instance, I for preparing CPC read plenty of books by authors like Takwani, DN Mathur, AK Jain, Singhals and academic notes too so it made me unable to retain. Therefore one should prefer one source and make it as their bible and start studying and if you are getting extra knowledge from somewhere then add it to our own material. I consider my biggest shortcoming was that I was not able to determine particular source. Secondly, I didn’t focus on answer writing strategy. Thirdly, I always took language for granted and never focused upon it.
What obstacles did you face during your preparation days, if any?
When you are not able to qualify in your first attempt in judiciary exam then you feel monotonous in your life. It makes you feel low. So one should not feel like that. One major problem is that majority of judicial service examinations are mostly conducted at an erratic schedule and not as per the schedule like UPSC. In UPSC there is a fixed schedule i.e., it is always conducted at fixed schedule in the month of April every year but Judicial service examination are not conducted at such fixed schedule. I gave Haryana Judicial Service examination in 2015, I was not able to qualify and the next attempt came in 2019. So waiting 4 years is also the toughest thing for an aspirant. Many a times you have to wait for a long time for your next attempt in judicial exams and it makes you feel low. So to sustain in such pressure was the major obstacle in my life. Second thing was I lost my mother before my final attempt of DJS. It was an emotionally challenging moment of my life because I believed that it should not impact my preparation in order to realize her dream.
How was your Interview for judicial services and what questions were asked?
The panel which took my interview was very cordial. First thing was they made me feel comfortable because I believe they too were aware of the intense pressure I was in at that point of time. They asked a few personal questions; they give more importance to the details which you gave them while filling Judicial Service exam form. So they started questioning from that part of details only. I had mentioned that I was the president of moot court committee during college days. They acknowledged that thing and were happy about it as well. Then they asked a few basic questions of law on mutual consent, Hindu marriage Act. In my resume I had also mentioned that I had written a few books on IPC so they asked a few questions from IPC too.
Which books would you refer for important substantive and procedural laws?
The following books I would refer
Crpc- RV kelkar
Indian evidence act- Avtar Singh
Constitution- Bare act
CPC- Takwani and concise version of mullah.
According to you what is the best timing for starting to prepare for judiciary?
In initial days of five year integrated law course students usually change their targets frequently. So one should first fix their target because judiciary and litigation both are best in their respective sphere. Evaluation must be done with pros and cons of both, thereafter one should develop interest and start preparing for it. First two year in 5 year course and one year for 3 year course student must devote in evaluating what he has to do after graduating. When a student participates in moot he thinks litigation is best and but if you are a first generation lawyer then one usually thinks that judiciary is best because it has stability. Now answer to your moot question, student must also enjoy his college life and with that he must study properly some important subjects like IPC, Crpc, Constitution, Evidence, CPC which is in the curricular course as well. It will decrease a lot of pressure on him during preparation if he opts for judiciary. If you are dedicated towards your law course and start preparing from your final year then that will be the best thing.
Apart from this any other experience would you like to share with our readers?
Be determined towards your goal though at several time things may not work according to your plan. During preparations the aspirant must have patience and find their shortcomings and should work on it, so that he may improve and qualify in further attempt. At last, Be Positive and Determinant.
Best wishes to all!
Note: If you have any question regarding preparation please send us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will request on your behalf and will forward you.
This Interview has been taken by Satyam Kumar Verma (Founder, Legalxpo).
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