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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

2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2022 2021 2020 2019 2018



  1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
    a). 'Absolute equality may itself be a cause of inequality.' In the light of this statement, discuss substantive equality.
    b). "To preserve basic freedoms and dignity of individuals, a Constitution should be permeated with Constitutionalism.' Discuss.
    c). Explain the legal position in case of repugnancy between Union and State laws with the help of decided case laws. Which law shall prevail in case of repugnancy?
    d). What are the tests laid down by the Supreme Court in a recent decision for quantifying and providing quota for Other Backward Classes in local body elections?
    e). Elucidate 'Wednesbury's Principles of Ureasonableness'. Do these principles provide in any way, scope for 'merits review' of administrative decisions?
  2. Answer the following:
    a). "Amending power does not extend to damaging or destroying the basic structure or framework of our Constitution." Discuss.
    b). Discuss the application of fundamental rights to parliamentary privilege cases.
    c). Do you think that all the 'Directive Principles of State Policy' are equally fundamental for the governance of the country? Describe with the help of decided case laws.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Can the constitutional head of the State be truly described as the nerve-centre of the federal system? Explain in the light of powers and duties of the Governor.
    b). What are the grounds to declare a delegated legislation as substantive ultravires? Refer case laws.
    c). Briefly discuss the impact of Proclamation of Emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). In the Parliamentary system, though there is no separation between the legislature and the executive in terms of personnel, there is separation of functions between the two. Explain in the light of relevant judicial decisions.
    b). Are administrative tribunals competent to examine the constitutional validity of primary legislations? Discuss in the light of case law.
    c). Explain the significance of 'Audi Alteram Partem'. What are the cases or circumstances in which the aforesaid principle of natural justice can be exucluded?


  1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
    a). Keeping in view the growth of International Law in the contemporary era, do you think the classical definition of International Law has become redundant?
    b). Distinguish between 'De-facto' and 'De-jure' Recognition.
    c). What are Territorial Asylum and Extraterritorial Asylum? Explain.
    d). What are the variousRights of States over 'territorial-waters'?
    e). Distinguish between Arbitration and Judicial settlement as methods of peaceful settlement of disputes in International Law.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). Critically examine various theories relating to the relationship between International Law and Municipal Law.
    b). Elaborate various theories of State succession.
    c). Discuss various modes of acquisition and loss of Nationality.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). Describe the various powers and functions of the General Assembly.
    b). Explain the maxim "Pacta Tertiis Nec Nocent Nec Prosunt" with relevant case laws.
    c). Does the Right to Self-Defence under International Law include Right to take Pre-emptive Action?
  4. Answer the following:
    a). When is an aircraft considered to be 'in flight' for the purposes of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft? Delineate the obligations the said convention imposes on the State parties.
    b). What is the most favoured means of decision-making at World Trade Organisation? Under what circumstances can decisions be taken by majority votes? Which decisions require super majority votes? Is there a need to reform the decision-making process? Discuss.
    c). Explain the core principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL)



  1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
    a). “The existence of mens rea along with commission of actus reus makes the act an offence.” Explain.
    b). What are the remedies available under the Law of Tort other than damages? Discuss by citing suitable illustrations.
    c). Analyze the effectiveness of Sections 326-A and 326-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. What additional suggestions have been made by the Supreme Court of India in Laxmi vs. Union of India Case in 2015?
    d). How far has Section 7-A of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 been effective to control untouchability in India?
    e). The Right of Private Defence is based on the cardinal principle that it is the primary duty of man to help himself, but this right is not absolute. Explain.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). The 'State Liability' under the Law of Tort has undergone metamorphosis. Explain with the help of case laws.
    b). “The provisions of Section 149 of the IPC, 1860 relate to the question of offence while Section 34 is a question of evidence.” Give reasons for the statement.
    c). How is the rule of 'absolute liability' different from 'strict liability'? Cite the relevant judgements.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). What do you understand by an unlawful assembly? Discuss the circumstances when a lawful assembly becomes unlawful. Support your answer with suitable illustrations.
    b). “The ‘Right of Reputation’ is acknowledged as an inherent personal right of every person.” Discuss the statement in the light of Law of Defamation in India.
    c). “The consent of victim negates the offence of rape.” How far will it be true in case it is obtained by the offender on the false promise of marriage? 15
  4. Answer the following:
    a). Summarize the law relating to 'attempt to suicide' in India. How far the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 added new dimensions to the law of attempt to suicide in India?
    b). Outline the legal framework for the protection of online consumers provided under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.
    c). “Tortious liability arises from breach of duty primarily fixed by the law. This duty is towards persons generally and its breach is redressible by an action for unliquidated damages.” Comment.


  1. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
    a). “All the contracts are agreements, but all the agreements are not contracts.” Elucidate the statement.
    b). Discuss the quasi-criminal nature of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
    c). Discuss the implications of the High Level Committee (known as T. S. R. Subramanian Committee) Report, 2014 for review of environment-related laws in India.
    d). Elaborate the conditions and warranties provided under the sale of Goods Act, 1930.
    e). “The quotation from a work which has already been lawfully made available to the public does not constitute infringement of copyright.” Comment.
  2. Answer the following:
    a). “The liability of a surety is coextensive with principal debtor, unless it is otherwise provided by the contract.” Elucidate the statement by narrating the circumstances under which a surety is discharged from his liability.
    b). What do you mean by ‘abuse of dominance' and 'abusive conduct prohibited under the Competition Act, 2002?
    c). Dwell on the concept of emergency arbitration in providing expeditious relief in India.
  3. Answer the following:
    a). State the circumstances of supervening impossibility and frustration of contract in the light of the decided cases.
    b). “The Information Technology Act, 2000 aimed at e-commerce development, but failed to satisfy growth-building traders and consumer confidence.” Comment.
    c). “An agreement without consideration is void.” Is there any exception to it? Discuss by giving suitable illustrations.
  4. Answer the following:
    a). What are the essentials of an agency? How is an agency created and terminated under the Indian Contract Act, 1872?
    b). “Time is an essence of the contract.” What are the remedies available to the aggrieved party in case of non-fulfilment of obligation within the stipulated time?
    c). Discuss the ambit and scope of Section 3(d) of the Patent Act, 1970 in the context of the Novartis Case, 2013.

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