How to Become a Judge in India?

How to become a judge in India

Eligibility Criteria to Become a Judge in India

To be a judge in India, you must meet certain conditions. These include understanding the Indian legal system well, a quality education, and several years’ experience as a lawyer. Let’s look closer at the rules for becoming a judge in India.


In India, to become a judge, candidates must meet the minimum age criteria. Generally, they should be 25 or older. If they have an LLB degree, they need to be 30 years old. Candidates with a doctoral degree must be 35 or more. There’s also an upper-age limit according to their experience in legal fields.

Applicants must show evidence of their date of birth. Proofs like birth certificates or other valid documents that show their identity and age will suffice. For senior judges, they might need experience certificates too. And in some cases, medical tests may be necessary to check their mental and physical health.


To be a judge in India, you must meet educational criteria. You must have a law degree from a university recognized by the Bar Council of India, or you must be admitted as an advocate after graduating in law from such a university. You should also know constitutional laws and legal principles.

You must not have any mental or physical disability that interferes with the performance of judicial functions. The Government of India only considers applications from:

  • Members of a State Bar Council
  • Those enrolled as an advocate with a High Court
  • Those who have practiced at the Bar for three years before applying.


To become a judge in India, certain eligibility criteria must be met. Residency is an important qualification. Just like other professions, a person needs to have lived in the state for five years before applying for a judgeship. This rule applies to all states and territories.

Additionally, property ownership is also necessary to establish permanent residency over five years. However, non-locals who have medical or family reasons can still be eligible, with evidence.

Lastly, those with government jobs outside their home state or abroad can also be considered, if appropriate documents are presented.

Application Process

Apply to be a judge in India? You must have a good knowledge of the legal system of the country. There are steps involved:

  1. Submit relevant documents.
  2. Do an exam.
  3. Attend an interview.

This article will explain the process of becoming a judge in India and what documents you need.

Register with the State Bar Council

To register with the State Bar Council in your resident state and begin applying to become a lawyer, you must first complete an application form. This is usually done while you’re still in your undergrad program. Most states provide online forms.

You may need to submit:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence
  • Details about your academic history
  • Postgraduate qualifications

You may also need to pay fees for registration or certain exams. After registration, you must get legal training from an accredited university or institute to be admitted into the Practice of Law.

Complete the Judicial Services Exam

The Judicial Services Exam is a competitive test administered by state public service commissions. It chooses suitable candidates with the right qualities and knowledge to become judicial officers.

  • Applicants must be Indian citizens and possess a graduation degree or equivalent. Age groups and gender rules differ according to the state. It is important to check the eligibility requirements before registering. Also, you may need to study Law Subjects if you don’t have a Law degree.

The exam consists of three phases: Preliminary Examination, Main Examination and Personality Test (Viva Voce or Interview). In some states, there are extra tests after the Main Exam such as English Proficiency Test or Language Test.

The Prelims paper assesses knowledge on Procedure & Practices in Indian Courts, General Knowledge, Administrative ability, Constitutional Law and Administrative Law. The Main Exam tests legal know-how, writing skills, Civil Laws, Criminal Laws, International Law, Labour laws and other subjects based on the state exam.

Each stage evaluates various cognition levels, expression and public service knowledge. Rigorous preparation and practice is essential. It involves intense study sessions with experienced faculty members/ former judges and understanding case laws.

Submit an application to the High Court

To become a judge in the High Court in India, you must go through a long application process. You must be an Indian citizen and have graduated from a university or have an equivalent qualification. Plus, you must have held a judicial office in India for 10 years and not be over 62 years old.

To start the application process, submit an official application to the High Court along with references. Then, contact The Registrar (Personnel) to find out when exams are offered. Gather certifications and awards that show your qualifications and submit them with your application. Make sure it is complete; incomplete applications won’t be accepted.

The Registrar (Personnel) will look over your documents and send out notifications with exam dates. If you belong to certain communities/minorities/groups, you may get adjusted marks during the screening process.

Once you finish all the steps, the high court may give you an interview in person or over a video call. After you pass the interview, the high court may offer you a job. However, different courts and justice departments have their own protocols.

Selection Procedure

In India, to become a judge one must be eligible to apply. Eligibility? Indian citizenship, good character, and the requisite knowledge and ability to fulfill the duties of the post. To be selected, the applicant must go through a selection procedure. This includes an application phase as well as an interview process.

This article dives into the details of the selection procedure:

Written Exam

Written exams are common in selection processes. They check a candidate’s knowledge and skills. Usually, they are multiple-choice questions. But, other types of questions may also be included.

A written exam usually has these components:

  • Administrative details: Like test location, time and duration.
  • Structure: Topics tested and type of questions (numerical/diagrammatic/written).
  • Content: Technical know-how, understanding industry policies, maths or language.
  • Instructions: How to answer each question.
  • Practise material: Booklets or dummy tests for familiarising yourself with written exams. Especially useful if you haven’t done one before or need more training.

Viva Voce

Viva voce (or oral exam) is an essential part of the selection process to become a judge in India. In some states, this takes place after screening tests. In others, it is held at a later stage. The examiner assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and analyze legal situations. They also look at their capability to provide practical solutions.

Questions may cover topics such as constitutional law basics, civil and criminal proceedings rules, Apex court judgments, and current legal issues in society. They need to demonstrate how well they understand different aspects of law. Also, explain how this will support them in carrying out their duties as a judge. The candidate’s performance is judged by their understanding of legal terminology and the logic behind the various interpretive approaches for analyzing law.


Interviewing is a key part of the selection process. It gives employers a chance to pick people with the right skills and knowledge for the job. Depending on the organization, there can be one or multiple stages. After that, a job offer, background check, referee checks, and job acceptance follow.

When interviewing, decide the types of interviews to use, based on the position. Options are behavioral interview, competency-based interview, panel interview, case study, assessment tests, and psychological assessments.

Questions must be asked the same way for everyone, so that everyone gets an equal evaluation. Questions should be open-ended and non-leading, to see if the applicant is right for the job. After interviewing each candidate, compare them against essential criteria to make a fair evaluation.

Training Process

Wanting to be a judge in India? It’s a tough, yet fulfilling goal. Must have a law degree and pass the All India Bar Exam (AIBE). Once you ace AIBE, you need to go through a training process. This includes things like legal research and court procedure.

Let’s take a peek at how to become a judge in India!

Orientation Program

Becoming a judge in India requires going through an orientation program. It gives an overview of the legal profession.

The program focuses on the Indian Constitution, Indian Penal Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Evidence Act and Transfer of Property Act. This gives participants a base knowledge of laws they will uphold. Additionally, it covers court procedure and management to give participants the skill needed for success.

Once the program is done, each participant receives more specific training. This includes lectures and seminars on topics like criminal law, family law and international law. These are conducted in many state bars and law schools across India.

Practical training is also given by courts for new judicial officers. This teaches court etiquette and different court proceedings, including civil suits. These require special attention from judges, to ensure correct decrees are issued. This is according to procedures prescribed by higher authorities.

Practical Training

In India, aspiring law judges must complete rigorous tests and specialized law courses. Succeeding in these qualifies one to be an accredited Judge of the State.

  1. First, aspirants must take a competency exam conducted by the Judiciary Academy. Passing this Tier 1 exam enables them to enter a three-month basic theoretical training program. This program helps them understand local rules, primary judicial records and courtroom protocols.
  2. Next, they get intense practical experience in Courtroom proceedings, supervised by experienced Legal Practitioners or Judges. Here, they learn principles related to cause listing, record maintenance, court behaviors and habits needed to conduct cases effectively. The duration of this phase varies but typically lasts 6 months.
  3. When they pass the final examinations administered by state judicial institutions or High Court departments, they can formally become a Judge or Magistrate after administrative confirmation from the appointing authorities.

Judicial Apprenticeship

Aspiring judges in India usually start with a judicial apprenticeship program. This includes training with an experienced judge, plus exams at regular times. It can go on for up to two years. It depends on the judge.

Once they finish the apprenticeship and pass the exams, they can apply to state courts or High Courts. There, they can become a Judge, Advocate General, or Public Prosecutor.

This is a tough process. Applicants must learn Indian law rules and terms. They must study court processes like trials and appeals. They must also know relevant case law. This will help them make decisions. These decisions can have big effects on the legal system and society.

To become a Judge or any other role in the Indian judiciary system, applicants have to complete the process and pass exams and an interview (in some cases).

Career Prospects

A judgeship is a highly desirable and esteemed licence in India. To become a judge, qualifications, experience, and other criteria are essential, as stated in various laws by judiciaries.

In this section, we’ll discuss the career opportunities of becoming an Indian judge.


In India, the salary of a judge is different based on the court they work in. Factors like responsibility, seniority, and jurisdiction decide the salary and other benefits.

  • Supreme Court Judge—monthly salary is approx. ₹250,000.
  • High Court Judge—highest rank for lawyers. They get ₹180,000-₹220,000 per month.
  • District Judge—presides over district courts. Their salary varies from state to state, generally from ₹100,000-₹200,000. Medical and transport allowance are part of the job.
  • Subordinate Judges—preside over lower courts, make ₹50,000-₹160,000 per month, based on seniority and location.

Job Opportunities

Judges in India are highly sought after. Competition for these positions is intense. Depending on the jurisdiction and type of court, there are various chances. Selection processes vary by state. This usually includes preliminary exams, written tests, interviews and psychological evaluations.

Judges in India must have legal qualification to preside over civil, criminal and administrative cases. Most vacancies are in district courts. Judges can also work in high courts or the Supreme Court of India. They may be employed at tribunals and inquiries. Special economic tribunals and commissions of inquiry involve petitions against government within a tribunal setup.

Apart from regular court appointments, there are job vacancies for arbitrators and mediators. These require inter-disciplinary qualifications and legal backgrounds. They exist in financial services industry, dispute resolutions boards and arbitration bodies.

Therefore, there are many career paths with a variety of options and great scope for growth. These range from lower courts to Supreme Court, with the best remuneration packages.

Promotion Opportunities

In India, there are two paths to join the legal profession. Those with an academic background can pursue a law degree and become a probationer or civil judge- trainee. On the other hand, lawyers in practice can become District Judges if they meet certain criteria.

Advancement opportunities exist in the judicial services. For higher court appointments, civil exams are conducted by the state government and the Union Public Service Commission at the national level. To pass the exams, experience in the judiciary is important, as well as knowledge of procedural laws, administrative laws, the IPC, Evidence Act, MCPC, and special cases. Promotion can also occur through transfers. The highest post is Judge of Chief Justice. After this tenure, they can be appointed Chairperson or Member of High Courts or Supreme Courts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What qualifications do I need to become a judge in India?
A1: To become a judge in India, you need to have a degree in law from a recognized university, as well as a minimum of seven years’ experience as a practicing lawyer. You must also be a citizen of India.

Q2: Is there an age limit for becoming a judge in India?
A2: Yes, the upper age limit for becoming a judge in India is 62 years.

Q3: What is the selection process for becoming a judge in India?
A3: The selection process for becoming a judge in India involves a written test, followed by an interview. Shortlisted candidates are then recommended by the Supreme Court collegium, and the President of India makes the final selection.

Anjali K.
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