Judge is the highest and the most respected position in the legal/ judicial system of India. Judges are impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice and they rule on questions of law, act as a referee between the litigating parties and renders decisions in legal disputes. The terms 'Judge' and 'Magistrate' are often confused and generally is believed to be the same person. But the terms have two different meanings and refer to two very different positions and power. A judge is bestowed with more powers than a magistrate. A Judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone, with a panel of judges or a jury, depending on the jurisdiction. A Judge hold more administrative power and are responsible for handling criminal cases, federal cases, constitutional cases and high priority cases. The judge is expected to hear all witnesses, view all evidences, access the arguments by the prosecutor and the defendant, and form an opinion and give a verdict. On the other hand, Magistrate who is considered as an officer of the state, is responsible for handling smaller and minor cases. They are appointed in Magistrate Courts by the Judge and has limited power in terms of authority, law enforcement and jurisdiction. Judges are always appointed or elected to their positions with political support. The duties, method of appointment, discipline and training of judges vary depending on their jurisdictions and powers. They are endowed with large duties and responsibilities to work for the betterment of the country and performs a variety of tasks inside and outside the courtroom. The credibility and legitimacy of judicial decisions depend not only on its merit and soundness in law, but also on public perception of impartiality and objectivity of the procedure adopted by the judge. This is a delicate task which judges have to internalise when they assume the role of judging. Skills and Qualities needed for a Judge A judge should possess excellent spirit and work on new techniques and strategies for serving the country and also work for the development of the country. There are certain personal skills that are important for the judges including personal honesty and sense of responsibility, impartiality, courtesy, mercy, patience, commitment and self-confidence. Judges often have the ability to work hard as they have to work at speed and under pressure. Excellent public speaking, logical reasoning, analytical, decision-making, debating skills are the other key skills required for the judges to analyze complex cases and to deliver sound legal decisions. Judges must strive for the highest standards of integrity in both their professional and personal lives. How to become a Judge In order to become a Judge one has to qualify the Judicial Service Examination conducted annually by Public Service Commission of the respective States. For appearing in this exam, one must hold a legal degree from a recognized university or institution and must have enrolled as an advocate with membership in the state bar council. The age limit for appearing however, may vary from State to State. Judicial Services Examination Judicial Service Preliminary Examination is held in two successive stages namely Judicial Service Preliminary Examination and Judicial Service Main Examination. The Preliminary Exam comprises objective type questions. The Preliminary Examination is conducted only for the purpose of short listing candidates for the Main Examination (written). The marks obtained by the candidates in the Preliminary Examination will not be counted for the purpose of determining the final merit list. The Final merit list will be prepared on the basis of total marks obtained in the Main Examination and the Viva-Voce Test. The percentage of qualifying marks in preliminary exams and the scheme and syllabus of both Preliminary and Main Examination may vary from state to state. Generally the minimum qualifying marks in the preliminary examination shall be 60% for general and 55% for reserved categories i.e. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Physically Handicapped (Blind/Low Vision) (Mobility not to be restricted)/ Orthopaedically. Only those candidates who have obtained 40% marks in each written paper and 50% marks in aggregate (except in the case of candidates belonging to reserved categories) shall be called for viva voce test. The marks obtained in the Viva-voce will be added to the marks obtained in the Main Examination (Written) and the candidates position will depend on the aggregate of both. For the details syllabus of the exams, refer PSC websites of the respective states. In most of the states, District and Sessions Judges are being recruited through competitive examination conducted by State commissions and also through promotions from those in service/ selected from amongst the practicing lawyers. Only those candidates who have qualified in the Judicial Service Examination are eligible for the post of a Judge. APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES The Constitution of India is endowed with three-tier judicial system, which involves Supreme Court of India, The High Courts in the States and Subordinate Courts. So the constitution of India requires that the appointment of Judges must be from amongst the members of the Bar at all these three levels. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court of India comprises the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and 30 other Judges and they are appointed by the President of India. Chief Justice is the highest-ranking and the senior most judge in the Supreme Court of India, and thus holds the highest judicial position in India. The President appoints the Chief Justice of Supreme Court after consultation with other judges of the Supreme Court and High courts. To be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court, a person must : • be a citizen of India • have been a Judge of a high court for at least five years or two or more such courts in succession, or • an advocate of a high court or of two or more such courts in succession for at least 10 years or • be a distinguished jurist, in the opinion of the president The judges of the Supreme Court hold office until they attain the age of 65 years. High Court Every judge in a High Court are appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the state and the Chief Justice of the High Court. For appointing the Chief justice of High Court, the President consults with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor. The number of judges in the court is decided by dividing the average institution of main cases during the last five years by the national average, or the average rate of disposal of main cases per judge per year in that High Court, whichever is higher. To be eligible to become a Judge in the High Court, a person should have held a Judicial Office in India for 10 years or has experience of 10 years practice, as an advocate in a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession. The judges of the High Court hold office until he attains the age of 62 years. District Court Each state is divided into judicial districts presided over by a District and Sessions Judge. He is known as a District Judge when he presides over a civil case, and a Sessions Judge when he presides over a criminal case. He is the highest judicial authority below a High Court judge. In addition to the district judge there may be number of Additional District Judges and Assistant District Judges depending on the workload. They are known by different names in different states. The district court has appellate jurisdiction over all subordinate courts situated in the district on both civil and criminal matters. Subordinate courts, on the civil side (in ascending order) are, Junior Civil Judge Court, Principal Junior Civil Judge Court, Senior Civil Judge Court (also called sub-court). Subordinate courts, on the criminal side (in ascending order) are, Second Class Judicial Magistrate Court, First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. The judges of district courts are appointed by the Governor after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State. The necessary qualification to become a district judge is minimum seven years of practice as an advocate or a pleader. District judges are also appointed by way of elevation of judges from courts subordinate to district courts provided they fulfill the minimum years of service. Magistrates / Munsiff Magistrates are appointed by Central or State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State. Job Profile of Judges Judges may be designated according to the level of court in judicial hierarchy as Supreme-Court Judge, High-Court Judge, District-Court Judge; Magistrate –court Magistrate, Munsiff - court Munsiff and preside over the particular court department. Most judges and magistrates work in private offices called chambers, courtrooms and law libraries. They do most of their work in their chambers, such as read legal briefs and motions, research legal issues, hold hearings with lawyers, and write judgment. The duty of the judges vary depending on their jurisdictions and powers. They may hear cases in civil, appellate, criminal or juvenile courts at the local, state or federal level. The major duties, responsibilities and function of the judge are : • They interpret and establish law and enforce rules of procedure even if there is no standard procedures • Presiding over trials or hearings to make sure they are conducted fairly • Conducts the trial impartially and in an open court • Advises counsel, litigants or court personnel regarding conduct, issues, and proceedings. • Settling disputes between opposing attorneys • Listening to attorneys presenting their cases • Listening to allegations made by plaintiffs and hears all the witnesses • The judge hears the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense and determine whether the evidence supports the charges. • Assess the evidence presented • Ruling on admissibility of evidence in court • Judges often conduct pretrial hearings to determine whether evidence presented during a pretrial hearing merits a trial • Instruct juries on applicable laws, direct juries to deduce the facts from the evidence presented • Read documents on pleadings and motions to ascertain facts and issues. • The judge decides whether the accused person is guilty or innocent on the basis of the evidence presented and in accordance with the law • In criminal cases, the judge decides whether to hold defendants in jail pending trial or to set bail and other conditions for release. • In civil cases they must decide whether a claim is valid and assesses damages, grants an injunction or orders some other form of redress to the plaintiff, unless a jury has been empanelled to make these decisions. • Judge remains above the case, providing an independent and impartial judgment of the facts and how the law applies to those facts • If the accused is convicted, then the judge pronounces the sentence. He may send the person to jail or impose a fine or both, depending on what the law prescribes • When making certain sentencing orders they should provide reasons for the sentence in the open court and make sure the offender consents to the order and agrees to comply with it and make sure whether the reasons are recorded or not. The Magistrate deals with criminal cases while the Munsif/Sub-judge deals with civil cases. These officers can become District and Sessions Judge by promotion and subject to their seniority and suitability. They can also be elevated to the office of a Judge of the High Court and the Supreme Court. Earlier District and Sessions Judges were promoted from those in service/ selected from amongst the practicing lawyers but now in most of the states they are being recruited through competitive examination conducted by State commissions. Earnings and Benefits of Judge Judges are entitled to receive salary as prescribed by the government from time to time. The salary of Judges varies according to their supremacy or to the court they work. The chief justices of Supreme Court and High court receive high salary than the other judges of these courts. Judges with limited jurisdiction (lower courts – district court, magistrate court etc), such as Magistrates/ Munsiffs generally earn the lowest salaries compared to the judges of HC and SC. The judges are also entitled to receive attractive allowances such as housing allowance, traveling allowance etc. Law Legal profession is one of the growing and lucrative professions all over the world. It is one of the most adventurous as well as exciting career. Lawyers are held in high esteem in our society, and there remains the faith that when all else fails, one can still take recourse to the legal system. In our daily life in one way or other we may come across situations where legal advice is required. In such situation we need the advice of a legal professionals who analyse and interpret law properly. Lawyers counsel clients about their legal rights and suggest course of action in a particular matter. They also advise clients and draw up legal documents, such as wills and contracts and conduct negotiations on legal matters, and may represent clients in court and tribunal proceedings. Academic excellence is not the main thing behind the success in this profession. Professional competence acquired through experience and practice with efficient lawyers is the main yardstick of success. There are various areas of specialisation in this field which one can choose from like corporation law, civil law, criminal law, international law, labour law, patent law, tax law and so on. There are number of institutions and universities conducting courses in law. The most premier among law universities in India is National Law School Of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. Admission to NLSIU is through an All India Admission Test held usually on first Sunday in May. University College Bangalore, Government College Mumbai, ILS law college and Symbiosis college, Pune and Faculty of Law of Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University etc are some of the other leading legal Institutions in India. ________________________________________ Eligibility Educational: Minimum qualification to go for a course in law (LLB) is 10+2. Course duration is of 5 years and is sponsored by the Bar Council Of India. P.G. Programmes in law (LLM) are of 2 years duration & eligibility is LLB degree. In addition to LL.B. degree, many universities and institutes also offer other diploma courses in several disciplines of law, including Administrative Law, International Law, Labour Laws, Tax Laws and Corporate Laws. In most of the institutes/universities, selection is on the basis of an entrance test. The entrance examination is objective type in nature. The questions invariably cover areas like Reasoning, General Awareness, Numerical Aptitude, Legal Aptitude and Preliminary Political Science. Teaching is not restricted to the conventional class-room methods alone, it include case studies, mock court etc. to make the study more practical and interesting. There are various branches of specialisation in law like civil law, criminal law, corporate law, property law, income tax law, marine law, public international law, family law, labour law, press law, excise law, constitutional law, administration law, sale of goods law, trade mark, copyright and patent law etc. one can choose from. Personal attributes: Success in this profession is not based on marks one obtain in the exam, but it is very much related to personal attributes. One must have good oral and written communication skills, logical reasoning, power of concentration, patience, good memory to relate and quote past cases to prove your point, ability to argue and discuss matters with a variety of people, self confidence, courage to deal with threats especially in criminal cases etc. He should have up-to-date information on any changes in law. A good library and a fair amount of reading is also important.