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Syllabus of Law Paper - I

Constitutional and Administrative Law:

  1. Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution.
  2. Fundamental Rights—Public interest litigation; Legal Aid; Legal services authority.
  3. Relationship between Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles, and Fundamental duties.
  4. Constitutional Position of the President and relation with the Council of Ministers.
  5. Governor and his powers.
  6. Supreme Court and the High Courts:
    (a) Appointments and transfer.
    (b) Powers, functions, and jurisdiction.
  7. Centre, States, and local bodies: 
    (a) Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States.
    (b) Local Bodies.
    (c) Administrative relationship among Union, State, and Local Bodies.
    (d) Eminent domain-State property-common property-community property.
  8. Legislative powers, privileges, and immunities.
  9. Services under the Union and the States: 
    (a) Recruitment and conditions of services; Constitutional safeguards; Administrative tribunals.
    (b) Union Public Service Commission and state public Service Commissions—Power and functions.
    (c) Election Commission—Power and functions.
  10. Emergency provisions. 
  11. Amendment of the Constitution.
  12. Principle of Natural Justice—Emerging trends and judicial approach.
  13. Delegated legislation and its constitutionality.
  14. Separation of powers and constitutional governance.
  15. Judicial review of administrative action.
  16. Ombudsman: Lokayukta, Lokpal etc.

International Law:

  1. Nature and Definition of International Law.
  2. Relationship between International Law and Municipal Law.
  3. State Recognition and State Succession.
  4. Law of the sea: Inland Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone, and High Seas.
  5. Individuals: Nationality, statelessness; Human Rights, and procedures available for their enforcement. 
  6. Territorial jurisdiction of States, Extradition, and Asylum. 
  7. Treaties: Formation, application, termination, and reservation. 
  8. United Nations: Its principal organs, powers and functions, and reform. 
  9. Peaceful settlement of disputes—different modes.
  10. Lawful recourse to force: aggression, self-defense, intervention. 
  11. Fundamental principles of international humanitarian law—International conventions and contemporary developments.
  12. Legality of the use of nuclear weapons; ban on testing of nuclear weapons; Nuclear nonproliferation treaty, CTST.
  13. International Terrorism, State-sponsored terrorism, Hijacking, International Criminal Court.
  14. New International Economic Order and Monetary Law: WTO, TRIPS, GATT, IMF, World Bank.
  15. Protection and Improvement of the Human Environment: International Efforts.

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Syllabus of Law Paper - II

Law of Crimes:

  1. General principles of Criminal liability: mens rea and actus reus, mens rea in statutory offences.
  2. Kinds of punishment and emerging trends as to abolition of capital punishment. 
  3. Preparations and criminal attempt.
  4. General exceptions.
  5. Joint and constructive liability.
  6. Abetment. 
  7. Criminal conspiracy.
  8. Offences against the State.
  9. Offences against public tranquility.
  10. Offences against human body.
  11. Offences against property.
  12. Offences against women.
  13. Defamation. 
  14. Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 
  15. Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and subsequent legislative developments.
  16. Plea bargaining.

Law of Torts

  1. Nature and definition.
  2. Liability based upon fault and strict liability; Absolute liability.
  3. Vicarious liability including State Liability.
  4. General defences.
  5. Joint tort fessors.
  6. Remedies.
  7. Negligence.
  8. Defamation.
  9. Nuisance.
  10. Conspiracy. 
  11. False imprisonment. 
  12. Malicious prosecution.
  13. Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law

  1. Nature and formation of contract/E-contract.
  2. Factors vitiating free consent.
  3. Void, voidable, illegal and unenforceable agreements.
  4. Performance and discharge of contracts.
  5. Quasi-contracts. 
  6. Consequences of breach of contract. 
  7. Contract of indemnity, guarantee and insurance.
  8. Contract of agency. 
  9. Sale of goods and hire purchase. 
  10. Formation and dissolution of partnership. 
  11. Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
  12. Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
  13. Standard form contracts.

Contemporary Legal Developments

  1. Public Interest Litigation.
  2. Intellectual property rights—Concept, types/prospects.
  3. Information Technology Law including Cyber Laws—Concept, purpose/prospects. 
  4. Competition Law—Concept, purpose/prospects. 
  5. Alternate Dispute Resolution—Concept, types/prospects. 
  6. Major statutes concerning environmental law.
  7. Right to Information Act.
  8. Trial by media. 

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Previous Year UPSC Questions

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2018 2017
2023 2022 2021 2020
2019 2018 2017



  1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
    a). "Preamble of the Indian Constitution is indicative of basic values that the political system is expected to pursue." How far do you agree with the statement? Explain with the reference to values that have been enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.
    b). "The office of the President under the Indian Constitution has been designed to be largely that of a 'figurehead'." Explain, with reference to the cases decided on the subject.
    c). "There is an obvious slant in favor of the Centre, in distribution of powers between Center and States." Do you agree with the statement? Explain.
    d). "The principles of natural justice are not cast in stone and there is always a possibility deviation from stated principles of law in view of overall demands of justice." Explain citing decided cases on the subject.
    e). Explain and elucidate the grounds of judicial review for administrative action, by quoting decided cases on the subject.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). "The Constitution of India has provided for a clear-cut distinction between civil and political rights on the one hand and economic and cultural rights on the other, with a distinct primacy given to civil and political rights." Explain.
    b). "Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies have been accorded constitutional status." Explain the ambit and structure of the authority of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies under the Indian Constitution.
    c). "The Constitution of India provides constitutional status and protection to civil servants." What protections have been secured for civil servants in India? Explain.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "Superintendence, direction and control of elections is vested in the office of the Election Commission and therefore, the appointment of Election Commissioner is of crucial importance in conducting free and fair elections." Critically examine the above statement with reference to recent judicial decisions.
    b). "'Legal-Aid' provides a basic tool for access to justice for poor and marginalized sections of society." Discuss and elucidate the Constitutional provisions and the provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
    c). "The strength of the 'eminent domain' is inversely proportional to the strength of democratic structure of any system." Do you agree with this statement? Explain.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). What do you understand by breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State? Critically examine the powers of the President in imposing President's Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution, by citing decided cases on the point.
    b). Discuss the objectives of the establishment of Lokpal and Lok Ayukta, and their powers and functions under the Lokpal and Lok Ayuktas Act, 2013. Examine the effectiveness of the said Act.
    c). If at any time, it appears to the President that a critical question of law and fact has arisen, the President can obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court. Discuss the role of the Supreme Court in this matter, by giving suitable examples.


  1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
    a). "Triumph of Positivism has reduced an individual to be an object of international law rather than a subject of international law." Comment on the status of the individual under international law in the light of the above statement.
    b). What do you mean by 'Contiguous Zone'? Explain with reference to Indian practices on the subject.
    c). Explain the impact of recognition on the powers and privileges of the States.
    d). Explain the principle of 'Jus cogens' with reference to 'Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties, 1969'.
    e). "International Criminal Court is more of a Eurocentric Organisation than an International Court." Explain the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court in light of the above statement.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). "Law must be stable, and yet it cannot stand still, as it needs to reconcile the conflicting needs of stability and change and in the fast-developing world, the stability appears to have become the casualty in international law." Differentiate between traditional International Law and new International Law in light of the above statement.
    b). "States show considerable flexibility in the procedures, whereby they give effect to the rules of the International Law, within their territory." Explain the acceptability of norms of International Law in India, citing relevant cases on the subject.
    c). How do you distinguish between 'Continental Shelf' and 'Exclusive Economic Zone'? Explain giving examples.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "Preamble of the UN Charter is representative of the aspirations of humanity in ensuring peace and security across the globe." How far have these objectives been achieved by the UN? Explain and elucidate.
    b). "Reservation in multilateral treaty excludes or modifies the legal effect of certain provisions of a treaty in its application to that State." Explain the circumstances under which reservations in treaties are permissible under International Law.
    c). Under what circumstances is recourse to 'force' or 'aggression' permissible and justifiable under International Law?
  4. Answer the following:
    a)."WTO provides a platform for agreements amongst its members which form the legal foundation of global trade." Critically evaluate the importance of WTO in the new international economic order.
    b). "Member States of the UN need to take appropriate action for protecting and improving human environment." In light of the above statement, highlight the major steps of the UN for protecting the human environment.
    c). "International Humanitarian Law is a set of rules to limit the effects of armed conflict, whereas International Human Rights Law seeks to ensure a set of rights which are essential for survival of humans as Humans." Distinguish between International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in terms of their contents and purposes.



  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each. Support your answers with relevant legal provisions and judicial pronouncements.
    a). Discuss the doctrine of 'Transferred Malice' as applied to law relating to culpable homicide under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
    b). Discuss the nature and scope of right of Private defense of property along with limitations if any, on the exercise of such rights.
    c). Illustrate the doctrine of 'constructive-criminality' with reference to law on Abetment.
    d). "He who acts through another, does the act himself."
    Discuss the tortious liability entailed in the above statement.
    e). Explain the various kinds of damages that a plaintiff can claim after a tort has been committed against him.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). A twenty year old girl 'G' was coming back home after attending college. A man 'M' held her, shut her mouth and dragged her to a nearby bush, where he slit the girl's throat thereby killing her. Thereafter he raped her. Decide what offence(s), if any, 'M' has committed in the above case. Explain the relevant statutory provisions in detail.
    b). "In Negligence, the chain of causation must remain intact."Describe the essentials of 'negligence' by referring to case-laws.
    c). Define 'Atrocity'. Also discuss the acts that amount to 'atrocity' under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Discuss the law relating to 'Assault of Criminal force' to woman with intent to 'Outrage her Modesty' and 'Sexual Harassment' and defined under Indian Penal Code, 1860. Is is there any difference between the two? Explain.
    b). Elaborate the reasons for including 'e-commerce' in Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Also discuss the consequences for not complying with the provisions of the Act by the e-commerce entities.
    c). Elucidate the essentials of 'Private Nuisance'. Also discuss the remedies available to a plainfiff in a suit for 'private nuisance'.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). "Dishonest Intention is the gist of the offence of Theft."Examine the above statement with the help of relevant illustrations. Also discuss how 'theft' is different from 'dishonest misappropriation of property.'
    b). Examine the term 'Undue-Advantage' as defined under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Also discuss the persons authorised and the procedure required to be followed while investigating cases that are registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    c). Critically analyse with the help of decided cases, the essentials to be proved by a plaintiff in a suit for damages for 'Malicious Prosecution.'


  1. Answer the following in about 150 words each. Support your answer with relevant legal provisions and judicial pronouncements.
    a). "The law of contract is not the whole law of agreements, nor is it the whole law of obligations. It is the law of those agreements which create obligations, and those obligations which have their source in agreement"– Salmond. Critically examine this Statement.
    b). "At the suit of a partner, the court may dissolve a firm on certain grounds specified in the Indian Partnership Act, 1932. The right of a partner to ask for dissolution on any of the grounds mentioned in the Act cannot be excluded by any agreement to the contrary." Explain.
    c). "The parties cannot appeal against an arbitral award as to its merits. But, this does not mean that there is no check on the Arbitrator's conduct. Awards may also be challenged." Critically examine the above statement.
    d). "In India, there are different types of Intellectual Property rights, which are protected under different laws." Explain.
    e). What kind of cases are heard by the 'National-Green Tribunal'? How is it different from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)?
  2. Answer the following:
    a). "The Constitutional courts through their judicial activism have made substantial contribution in protecting women against exploitation, using Public Interest Litigation as a tool for securing their Constitutional rights." Explain with leading case laws.
    b). "A minor's contract being void, ordinarily it should be wholly devoid of all effects. If there is no contract, there should, indeed, be no contractual obligation on either side." Explain with case laws.
    c). "A 'bearer instrument' is transferable by simple delivery. An 'instrument payable to order' can be transferred by endorsement and delivery." Explain.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "'Standard-contracts' contain a large number of terms and conditions in 'fine print' which restrict or often exclude liability under the contracts. The individuals can hardly bargain with the massive organization." Explain the modes of protection which have been evolved by the courts.
    b). Describe the constitutional roots of 'Right of Information' in India. Refer to decided case laws.
    c). "The doctrine of 'Undisclosed Principal' comes into play when the agent neither disclosed the existence of his principal nor his representative character." In such cases discuss the rights and liabilities of the Principals, the agent and the third parties.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Under what circumstances, can an intermediary be held liable for third party-content hosted by them? Explain the liability of intermediaries in the light of the relevar legal provision in IT act and other contemporary developments.
    b). 'Media trials entail the possibility of subverting administration of justice.' In the light of this statement, analyse the report of Law Commission of India on Media Trial.
    c). "Though risk and property generally go together, the two are not inseparable. Sometimes risk may be in one party and property in another." Discuss the law relating to 'passing off risk' under the Sale of Goods Act, 1930.

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