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Posted in: Competitive Exams
By Alex Andrews George
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The Importance of Acts and Judgments in the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE)

It is quite understandable that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) who conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) to recruit candidates into prestigious services like IAS, IPS, IFS etc expects candidates to have good knowledge about the three organs of the state – Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary.

However, the latest trends in the UPSC CSE points out that just a superficial awareness of the structure and functions of the three pillars of democracy is not enough to succeed in the IAS Exam.

Instead, the Commission expects the IAS aspirants to realise how the institutions like Legislature and Judiciary are transforming the lives of ordinary Indians. Nowadays, a substantial proportion of questions asked in the UPSC CSE is from topics like Important Acts enacted by the Indian Parliament and Landmark Judgments of the Supreme Court of India.

Questions on Important Acts in the UPSC CSE Prelims, Mains, and Interview

In CSE 2019 (Prelims), 11 questions asked by UPSC were directly related to specific laws.

UPSC not only asked about recent acts but also about those acts enacted years before. Further, the questions were not just about acts. The law-specific questions included bills, rules, and even regulations.

Notably, the sources from which UPSC asks questions in the Civil Services Examination (CSE) has undergone a paradigm shift in recent years. The traditional method of preparation is not sufficient now to answer most of the present-day questions.

This is when this book “Important Acts that transformed India” becomes quite relevant. Prepared by closely observing the recent patterns shifts in UPSC question paper, the book covers 100 important acts relevant for the exam. Also, related bills, rules, and regulations are discussed.

The book “Important Acts that transformed India” is written to complement and supplement the core text-books on Indian Polity. However, the scope of the book extends much more than the domain of Indian Polity or Governance.

The book can be used as a quick-reference guide to learn about the relevant laws in all subjects in the UPSC CSE Syllabus - like Society, Polity, Economy, Environment, Technology, Security etc - spread across the four General Studies Papers (GS1, GS2, GS3, and GS4).

As an all-in-one ready reckoner, this book will help to fill the gaps in your preparation and boost your marks in the UPSC Civil Services Prelims (objective), Mains (written), and Interview (personality-test).

UPSC CSE Prelims:

A lot of questions are asked in UPSC CSE Prelims from acts, bills, rules, regulations etc. To understand better, go through the question given below:

Question UPSC CSE 2019) Consider the following statements

  1. As per the recent amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927, forest dwellers have the right to fell the bamboos grown on forest areas.
    2. As per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, bamboo is a minor forest produce.
    3. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 allows ownership of minor forest produce to forest dwellers.

Which of the statements given above is/ are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

UPSC CSE Mains:

In the UPSC Civil Services Main Exam (written), this book will help you fetch valuable marks – in all four papers of General Studies (I, II, III, and IV).

In UPSC CSE 2019, Questions worth about 65 marks were asked from this topic. Previous year trends of GS Paper 1-IV show that 5-6 direct questions can reasonably be expected ever year from Acts and Bills. To get an idea, please go through the question given below:

There is a view that the Official Secrets Act is an obstacle to the implementation of the Right to Information Act. Do you agree with this view? Discuss. (UPSC CSE 19, General Studies IV)

While questions like this can be directly answered from this book, the indirect application of the book is also very significant to score crucial marks. You can quote the provisions of many Acts discussed in this book when you write answers of polity, governance, society, environment, and ethics questions to provide a real-value addition to your answer.

UPSC CSE Interview:

Awareness about important laws and major provisions will help you a lot in the UPSC CSE Interview.

Candidates are very often asked to express their opinion about the Acts and Bills. For example, you can be asked to state your viewpoint on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Awareness about the significant provisions will help you stand out and score vital marks.

Questions on Important Judgments in the UPSC CSE Prelims, Mains, and Interview

Indian Constitution and Polity is one subject that is directly connected to Civil Service and Public Administration, hence a high-priority area for all aspiring civil servants.

From the broad area of Indian Polity, in recent years, many questions are asked about Indian judiciary and the landmark judgments. This trend is not surprising, thanks to the central role played by the Supreme Court as the custodian of the Indian Constitution.

The concise book “Important Judgments that transformed India” published by McGraw Hill covers 30 landmark judgments of the Supreme Court of India in detail. The book also presents a lot of mindmaps and tables – which compares about 90 important court cases.

A fair knowledge about the important judgments of the constitutional courts can help you fetch valuable marks in the UPSC Civil Services Prelims (objective), Mains (written), and Interview (personality-test).

UPSC CSE Prelims:

Questions are asked about the basic concepts associated with Indian Constitution, Constitutional Amendments, Judicial Review, Landmark Judgments etc.

To understand better, go through the question given below:

Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE - 2019)

  1. The 44th Amendment to the Constitution of India introduced an Article placing the election of the Prime Minister beyond judicial review.
  2. The Supreme Court of India struck down the 99th Amendment to the Constitution of India as being violative of the independence of the judiciary.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  • 1 only
  • 2 only
  • Both 1 and 2
  • Neither 1 nor 2

UPSC CSE Mains:

In the UPSC Civil Services Main Exam (written) this book may turn really handy for you – directly and indirectly.

Almost every year, you can expect 1-2 direct questions - either about landmark cases or recent cases of the Supreme Court.

To get an idea, please go through the question given below:

Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy. (UPSC CSE 17)

While the above question can be directly answered from this book, the indirect application of the book is also very significant to fetch valuable marks.

You can quote many of the landmark cases discussed in this book when you write answers of polity/constitution-related questions to provide a real-value addition to your answer.

UPSC CSE Interview:

Awareness about important judgments will help you a lot in the UPSC CSE Interview.

Candidates are very often asked to express their opinion about the recent judgments passed by the Supreme Court (for example, your viewpoint on Sabarimala Verdict).

Also, for other questions, when your viewpoint about a controversial topic is asked, it is always a good technique to supplement your answer with the Supreme Court judgments on the same topic. By bringing additional insights from the higher courts into your answer, you can impress the interview board.

Books to prepare questions from Legislature and Judiciary


The author, Alex Andrews George, is a renowned mentor and Civil Services Exam trainer. He is the founder and director of the popular UPSC test-prep website clearias.com, used by more than 1 million aspirants every month. He loves to create content which makes learning an enjoyable experience. His vision is to make quality education affordable, available, and accessible to all.

18 September 2020