This is Error
This is Success

Judge / Magistrate

Who is a Judge/Magistrate?

  • A Judge is an important public official who has the authority to hear and preside over legal cases that are brought to a court of law. In cases where a jury is involved, a judge may preside over the selection of jurors and instruct the jury about applicable laws.

  • The Judge may also rule on motions made before a trial begins, or during a trial. Judges do almost all of their work in courtrooms or offices. A judge’s job is a demanding one, as he/she must give his/her full attention to court proceedings.

  • A Magistrate is a judicial official, but has limited power, compared to a Judge. A Magistrate can hear different kinds of cases, less complex in nature, such as petty offences (traffic offences, for example).

What does a Judge do?

A judge applies the law to cases in a court. He/she oversees court proceedings and also resolves certain types of disputes. A judge can determine whether a person is guilty or innocent, and impose a sentence/penalty if the person is guilty.

A judge may award relief (such as compensation or damages) in particular civil cases, A judge can also act as an arbitrator in negotiations between two opposing parties. Specific types of judges take decisions on matters pertaining to their designated position. For example, appellate court judges review decisions of lower courts.

What does a Magistrate do?

A magistrate, being a minor judicial officer or a state civil officer, takes care of minor cases in a particular area, such as a town, district, etc. Magistrates are assigned duties by district judges within the district appointed to them.

What are the skills required?

Apart from the basic criteria of having a law degree, called LLB, a Judge must possess certain key qualities and skills to be successful. Firstly, to receive a graduate degree in law, there are two options that one can pursue:

  1. After the 12th grade (10+2) in any stream, one must complete graduation in any stream from a recognized university. Then one has to do a three-year LLB programme.

  2. The second option is to attempt the CLAT (Common Law Admission Test). This has to be done after attaining at least 50% marks in the 12th-grade exams from a recognized board. This is an entrance exam to pursue a five-year integrated course. One can gain admission into the top law colleges in the country if one scores well on the CLAT.

After one becomes a lawyer, one is eligible to practise law. To become a Judge, one has to write exams, depending on the type of judge one aspires to be (civil court judges, high court judges, etc). The following are the skills, apart from academic qualifications, and being elected to the position, that a Judge must have:

  • Excellent reading comprehension and writing skills

  • Decision-making skills

  • Great listening skills

  • Critical thinking ability and reasoning skills in the application of the rules of law

Apart from possessing a law degree, as mentioned in the previous section, a Magistrate must have the following qualities/skills:

  • A sense of discipline, confidence, responsibility and commitment

  • A willingness to work hard; stamina, alertness and honesty are a must

  • Good communication skills

Top colleges offering courses on Law

  • National Law School of India University, Bengaluru

  • West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

  • Symbiosis Law School, Pune

  • ILS Law College, Pune

  • Law Faculty, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

  • Law Faculty, University of Delhi, New Delhi

  • Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University, New Law College, Pune

Career scope

One can become a Judicial Officer, starting as a Civil sub-Judge or Magistrate, right after one's law graduation is completed. One will have to give the Judicial Services Exam conducted by State governments of the state in question, through public service commissions or high courts. To start off, one could be an advocate or collector as well, and work one's way up to get promoted to a higher level of the judiciary.

As a senior lawyer or a magistrate, one can gain enough experience. From becoming a Civil Judge, you could gain experience and then apply for the role of a High Court Judge. The scope for rising in the field of law is promising but is a challenge as there is a lot of competition.

How much does a Judge make?

  • District/Civil Judge (entry-level): 28,000 INR per month

  • Junior Civil Judge: 45,000 INR per month

  • Senior Judge: 80,000 INR per month

  • Chief Justices of High Courts: 2.50 lakh INR per month

Note: The pay scales of judges and magistrates is determined on the basis of those set by the Government of India.

What are the books/study material available?

  • LLB Entrance Examination, Arihant Publishers

  • Universal Guide to CLAT and LLB

  • Study Material Book Notes, District Judge, Court Exam books

  • Universal Guide to Judicial Service Exam

Major recruiters

The Government of India - Central and State are responsible for the recruitment of Judges and Magistrates, whereas private law firms, and corporations hire lawyers and advocates.

Interesting facts

The first woman judge of India was Ms Anna Chandy from Kerala. She was also the first woman to be appointed as a High Court Judge.