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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

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2021 2020 2019 2018



  1. Answer the following:
    a). "The Fundamental Rights may be said to constitutionalise social values of existing society." Explain and illustrate.
    b). “Public Interest Litigation in India is judge-led and even to some extent judge-induced." Explain with the help of relevant case law.
    c). “Right to Education is the base for Fundamental Rights and Human Rights." Discuss the efforts made by the Government with regard to the Right to Education of children.
    d). Explain the relationship between the President and the Council of K Ministers. Is the President bound to accept the advice of the Council of par Ministers? Discuss.
    e). Delegation of 'Legislative Powers' has neither been permitted nor prohibited under the Indian Constitution. Discuss the constitutionality of delegated legislation with the help of decided cases.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). "Pluralism is the keystone of Indian culture and religious tolerance is the bedrock of Indian Secularism. It is based on the belief that all religions are equally good and efficacious pathways to perfection of God-realisation. Thus, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of religion which is not absolute." Critically examine the above statement with the help of constitutional provisions and relevant case laws.
    b). Discuss the procedure for the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts and transfer of judges of the High Courts in the light of the decisions of the Supreme Court of India. Also refer to the constitutional provisions.
    c). Discuss the purpose, function and use of Articles 256 and 257 of the Constitution of India. Should these provisions be restructured? What are the consequences of the State's defiance of the directives issued under these Articles by the Union?
  3. Answer the following:
    a). "Free and fair election is the 'basic structure of our Constitution and it is the 'heartbeat' of democracy." But widespread corruption and increasing criminalisation in the election process have made our democracy weak. Discuss the various efforts undertaken by the Election Commission to ensure free and fair election.
    b). "Article 356 of the Constitution contains provisions relating to the justification of imposition of President's Rule' in the State.” Explain the consequences of proclamation of Emergency in a State.
    c). Explain the various principles of natural justice with the help of relevant decided cases.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). "The provisions of the Directive Principles of State Policy are not enforceable by any court, but they are fundamental in the governance of the country." Critically examine the role of the Government to fulfil the desired objectives enshrined in Part IV of the Constitution.
    b). Examine the role of State Legal Services Authority in promoting legal literacy and right of women and children in the State.
    c). What is meant by the Doctrine of Separation of Powers? Is strict adherence of the doctrine possible under a parliamentary form of government? Discuss with the help of relevant case laws.


  1. Answer the following:
    a). Discuss the various efforts made towards the codification of International Law during the 20th century.
    b). Explain different theories on the relationship between International law and Municipal law.
    c). Explain the principle of 'Double Criminality' and the 'Rule of Speciality’ under the international law of extradition.
    d). Define 'Double Nationality' and 'Statelessness'. Evaluate the efforts taken to eliminate or reduce them.
    e). What is 'Intervention' and on what grounds do the States justify intervention? Explain.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Distinguish whether 'Recognition of States' is an act of policy or of law. Also distinguish between Constitutive and Declaratory theories on the recognition of States.
    b). What do you understand by 'State Succession'? Discuss various theories of State succession and explain the rights and obligations arising out of State succession.
    c). Explain the main features of the Law of the Sea. What is the difference between the jurisdiction over the 'Territorial Sea' and 'Exclusive Economic Zone'?
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Discuss the powers of the Security Council for the maintenance of world peace and security. Has the Veto Power' proved a hindrance in discharge of its duties by the Security Council? Explain.
    b). Discuss the United Nations Declaration on the establishment of a New International Economic Order along with the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States.
    c). "Humanity is in peril in the present world due to terrorism." Suggest ways to protect it in the context of human rights.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Is it a legal duty of States under international law to settle their disputes by peaceful means? Can failure of peaceful means entitle States to use force to settle their disputes? Discuss.
    b). Is the threat or the use of 'Nuclear Weapons’ in any circumstances permitted under International Law? Answer the question in the light of the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
    c). Discuss the role of the United Nations in protection and improvement of human environment.



  1. Answer the following:
    a). What amounts to 'Legal Insanity' that would entitle an accused for exemption from Criminal Liability?
    b). Discuss 'Grave and Sudden Provocation as a defence to charge of murder under IPC, 1860?
    c). Explain the concept of Plea-bargaining under the Cr.P.C. 1973. In what cases Plea-bargaining is not available?
    d). Discuss the ambit & scope of 'consumer' as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
    e). What constitutes 'Malicious Prosecution'? How is it different from 'False Imprisonment'?
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Has Attempt' been defined anywhere in the IPC, 1860? What are the various tests for determining whether an act amounts to preparation or attempt to commit an offence? Explain with the help of relevant case laws.
    b). Differentiate between the following:
    (i) "Kidnapping' and 'Abduction
    (ii) "Riot' and 'Affray'
    (iii)'Criminal Breach of Trust' and 'Dishonest Misappropriation of property'.
    c). What are the various kinds of damages' that a plaintiff can avail as a remedy under the law of Torts? Under what circumstances can "prospective damages" be awarded?
  3. Answer the following:
    a). From 'Mathura' to 'Nirbhaya and beyond, discuss the development of Rape laws in India 20
    b). Explain the liability of Joint Tortfeasors for a wrongful Act. How is it different from the liability of 'Independent Tortfeasors'?
    c). In an action for 'Negligence'. What does the plaintiff need to establish in order to allix the civil liability of the defendant? What does it take for the maxim 'res ipsa loquitor' to apply?
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Discuss the evolution and development of rules relating to 'No-fault liability in India with help to decided cases’.
    b). What are the defences available to an accused in a civil suit for 'defamation'? Explain.
    c). Recently there have been changes in Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Enumerate.


  1. Answer the following:
    a). Minor's contract is 'void ab initio'. Comment.
    b). Discuss the constitutionality of Right to Information Act, 2019 in the light of recent judgment by the Supreme Court of India.
    c). In legal phraseology "every person who acts for another is not an agent". Comment.
    d). India's 40 years old 'Air Act', 1981, languishes in the present circumstances of Air pollution emergency in Delhi – National Capital Region. Comment on the effectiveness of law in the light of judicial and administrative mechanism.
    e). With the globalisation of trade, brand names, trade names and trademarks have attained an immense value and therefore it requires an effective trademark law'. Discuss.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). What are the various modes in which a contract may be discharged? Explain in the light of decided cases.
    b). Dwell on the legality and constitutionality of Section 66A, Information Technology Act, 2000.
    c). Write short notes on the following:
    (i) Caveat Emptor
    (ii) Uberrima fides
    (iii) Nemo dat quod non habet
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Section & of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 denotes a provision which limits judicial intervention in the process of arbitration? Elucidate the statement with support of case law development on the point.
    b). No customer in a thousand ever read the conditions. If he had stopped to do so, he would have missed the boat'. Critically examine the contractuality of a standard form of contract in view of the above statement.
    c). Discuss the symbiotic relationship between Media Trial and Fair Trial with reference to judicial approach.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Discuss the concept and classification of 'Quasi contracts under Indian Contract Act, 1872.
    b). Limited Liability Partnership is an alternative corporate form that gives the benefit of limited Hability of a company and flexibility of a partnership". In the light of the above discuss the chief characteristics of Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2003.
    c). How does any factor vitiating free consent affect a contract? Explain.

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