November 25, 2020

Interview: Ayushi Upadhyay (Rank 68, Madhya Pradesh Civil Judge Examination, 2019)

Ms. Ayushi Upadhyay is an alumnus of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (Batch 2018). She secured Rank 68 in M.P. Judiciary and has been recently appointed as a Civil Judge Class-II in M.P. Judicial Services.

We managed to ask her following questions:

How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Ayushi Upadhyay, alumnus of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. I have recently been appointed as a Civil Judge Class-II in M.P. Judicial Services. But this is what I do for profession, if I really have to introduce myself, then I would take pride in writing that I am a coffee connoisseur, shayari lover to the core and also an unofficial brand ambassador for happydent ;).

How did you gravitate towards law?
I have had profound interest in law since my 6th standard. I think law is an encompassing field that touches every shade of life and every other profession. Also, it empowers you about your rights and ultimately the beauty of the fact that it is only the rule of law that would stand has always attracted me. The power that this field has and the scope that it beholds have been charmers always. Also, they are few ideals that I have in my life, they were all also law graduates and so as I a kid I was immensely fascinated by this fact too.

Are you a first-generation lawyer in your family? What were your ambitions before joining law? What led to your inclination towards law?

Yes, I am a first-generation lawyer. I always wanted to do something in the field of law itself, probably litigation was what I had in mind. In the above-mentioned question, I have already stated what lead me to pick this as my career.

How was your time at HNLU Raipur?
HNLU has been great. Though it has taught me more about practical world than law. The academics need a real improvement there but still there are few criminal law and constitutional law facilities who came prepared and delivered excellent lectures. They inculcated a lot of interest in me about those subjects and also gave a lot of insights for research.

I have always loved the library there, it has great books and it was my go to place any day. I wrote couple of research papers and did few moots and all those have really helped me in better understanding of the subject and falling in love with them over and over.

HNLU prepares you for the real world far beyond the ways that you can imagine.

What made you choose to serve the judiciary; did you not get tempted by the fancy corporate jobs? Did you opt for campus placement?
I did not for campus placements. But even before the campus placements for my batch started, I had PPO from two top law firms based in Mumbai.

Well to be honest, I wasn’t tempted by the fancy job rather I succumbed to the peer pressure of landing a job in the first place because everyone was running madly after them. But once I had the PPO I had a chance to introspect whether I really want to do this or not. The internships had been blood sucking and the long corporate hours would have had an adverse effect on my health in long run. Also, it was more about what side I want to be on and what is the satisfaction that I was driving. I never felt that I was giving back to the society while doing or about to do a corporate job and this was the most essential element for me when I would have started working so I started exploring other options.
I wanted to do litigation actually to be precise I wanted to be public prosecutor but judiciary came along the way. The examination came and I went on clearing the stages and so this happened. I decide to join it because of ‘ giving back to society’ thing and also because this really does allow you to make a difference at the grass root level.

What motivated you the most to be part of MP state judiciary?

So once when judiciary was decided, I went only for MP state judicial services because I wanted to be near my parents and to be able to stand with them through thick and thin. The realisation came with the fact that they aren’t growing any younger and there should be a child living near to them, if not with them, who could be there when they are in need of help.

When did you start preparing for the exams? When should a person ideally start preparing for the judicial services exam?

I started preparing after my graduation i.e. in month of July 2018.
There is no ideal time for starting preparation as one needs to be specific about what he/she needs to work upon. My constitutional and criminal laws were strong and so I had to focus more upon other laws only.

Having said that “sooner the better” never goes in vain and also whatever you study, study for gaining knowledge and understanding the subject, it goes long way far that you can imagine.

What is the pattern of the MP state judiciary exam?

MP state has 3 stages of examination – preliminary, mains and interview.

Preliminary is a 150 questions MCQ paper that has 12 law papers for 110 marks and GK, English and Computer knowledge for 40 marks.

Mains has 4 papers of 100 marks each – Civil laws paper, translation and essay writing, criminal laws paper and judgment writing paper.

Interview is of 50 marks based in 12 papers and common legal and general awareness.

Preliminary is only qualifying in nature whereas merit is prepared on cumulative score of mains and interview.

How did you prepare for the exam? Which books/materials did you use for preparation?

The main thing to study is bare act. Once must diligently study bare acts properly to understand it’s essentials and to retain its language.

I had referred books for evidence law, constitutional law, transfer of property act, for few sections of CPC, past papers of preliminary and mains examination and for computer awareness.

For GK and Current affairs I referred newspapers and apps like jagran josh and a couple of YouTube channels.

How did you remember the sections of the acts in your syllabus and leading case laws on varied areas of law?

Honestly you have to mug up the section number and its title, the ingredients you can understand and retain. But yes, mugging up was a task for me too because I am absolutely pathetic at it and so the only solution for it is to revise it again and again and preferably from the same source like the bare act so that it starts registering in your photographic memory.
Case laws again sometimes you have to mug up their names but then a good way to go about it is to not just understand its ratio but also to see its facts and circumstances and why and what was held. By doing this, it becomes like a story and so it is easier to recall.

How did you prepare for prelims? What was your strategy while attempting the prelims?

I never just prepared for prelims. I always prepared for mains so that there is surety that you would qualify prelims. But best way to prepare for prelims is to see past papers and analyse how the questions are being asked and then prepare that subject accordingly so that you can understand what you have to stress upon.

I am not very good with static GK and so my focus was to score good in law so that I qualify the cut off.

How did you prepare for mains? What was your strategy while attempting the mains?

As I said I started preparing for mains only from the beginning. The mains require you to understand a section thoroughly. With couple of readings of the bare act and past papers one can identify which parts are important and prepare them accordingly.

But translation was something that I started with only after my prelims was qualified. That is something that I am not proud of and I would suggest the readers to learn a word or two on a daily basis. I was in a habit of writing essays so the essay writing was not difficult for me, but again if someone doesn’t write on a frequent or occasional basis too then the person must practice writing essay from a little early.

Judgment writing can be learnt from books or coaching as per the circumstance the candidate is in. If preparing from book, start a little early.

The best strategy about mains is to write to the point, in short trying to cover every aspect and limiting to what has really been asked. Go first for the question whose answer you know the best.

Tell us about your interview. How did you prepare yourself for it and what qualities do you think helped you crack the judicial exam? What kind of questions were asked by the panel?

Interview was extremely fun. I prepared for interview on my own and went through bare acts for the same. I also apprised myself of legal and current updates going on in the country.

The qualities that helped me to crack it was honesty and confidence. I tried to answer as simply as possible the questions asked by them without trying to fake it a bit. The question to which I didn’t know the answer, I confessed that honestly before them.

They asked a lot of law questions and psychology-based questions. They were trying to put a lot of pressure so that I break and start blabbering. I maintained my calm. They asked questions from temporary injunction, right to private defence, crpc procedure, land laws etc and also personal questions by putting me in varied situations. They were basically focusing upon the basic understanding of the subjects and how practically one can apply them.

How valuable do you think coaching institutions can be for preparation for judicial exams?

For person like me who started preparing late, coaching institute had helped me a lot. I had taken classes for prelims and mains. But I must mention it here, this shouldn’t be treated as one can’t crack this exam without any coaching. I know a lot of people who have and it’s not a big task to do.

One must weigh honestly where they stand, how much help they need and whether they need it in the first place or not. Some coachings are doing crazy business and have exorbitant fees and going there is something that I won’t suggest because ultimately you have to study on your own and develop an understanding of law, no one can force it upon you.

What advice would you give to judicial aspirants? Any message you would like to be passed on to the law students reading this?
When one prepares almost 50% of the aspirants are going to be dead serious and are going to have the same knowledge and understanding like you. Then what is the fact that would help in your selection over them?

To answer this, I would like to narrate a personal incident here. Due to unfavourable circumstances on my exam day I reached the centre when paper started and was not in a position to write paper for first half an hour so my 20 marks question went unattempt in civil paper which was easy and others at that time had given a great paper. But I didn’t let this affect my rest of papers and gave my best shot in other papers as well as in the interview.

On the other hand, a lot of candidates there were crying and dejected because paper 2 and 3 were tough and so they lost hope and didn’t attempt the remaining papers and interview also properly.

Well, all of you know the result now, I got a selection but what I want to state here is the fact that one must remember, the competitive exams are not just test of your knowledge but also temperament, hope, positivity and will power. If it happens that you didn’t attempt a question as you thought you would or a paper didn’t go well, don’t lose hope. Breathe. Fight like tiger for the next paper. It’s more important to think right mindedly on the exam day because that is what makes a difference from your competitors. It is your mind that would decide on that given day whether you win or not. Keep a hold of it and remember to smile, life will keep throwing opportunities at you.

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