UPSC Law Optional: Tips to Study Constitutional and Administrative Law

Constitutional and administrative law are important sections of law optional in the IAS mains exam.In the law optional, you will see that many questions are of a predictable and repetitive nature. This article will give you tips to study constitutional and administrative law for the Civil Service Mains Exam.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

The most important thing to do before you start your preparation is to go through the previous years’ IAS mains questions papers so that you get a fair idea of the questions asked. Constitutional and Administrative Law form Section A of Paper I in Law Optional. This has four questions out of which question 1 is compulsory. Out of constitutional and administrative law, the former is more important as questions on administrative law have been rare and are for fewer marks.

UPSC Law Optional Notes

Constitutional Law

  1. If you are from a non-law background it is advisable to go through ‘Indian Polity’ by M Laxmikanth. You must familiarise yourselves with the constitution and its different articles first.
  2. ‘Indian Constitutional Law’ by M. P. Jain is a very good book for this section. Although the book is a rather heavy one, you need not cover the entire book. Read only the UPSC-relevant portions.
  3. Fundamental rights is an important area here. It is also the most difficult as it is vast and evolving. You should read cases related to constitutional law and fundamental rights and the bare acts associated with it. PIL (Public Interest Litigation) is a very important tool here. To understand more about PILs, you can read articles in ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Indian Express’ written by senior advocates.
  4. Another important topic from which a question can be expected is the relationship between fundamental rights, duties and directive principles.
  5. Constitutional position of the President, relation with the Council of Ministers, pardon power, discretionary power, etc. The same thing with Governors.
  6. Appointments, transfers, powers, functions and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts; collegium system.
  7. Distribution of legislative powers between the centre and the states, local bodies, administrative relationship between these three, scheme of distribution of legislative powers.
  8. Legislative powers, privileges and immunities.
  9. Doctrine of pleasure is an important topic.
  10. Emergency provisions (especially articles 352 and 356), judicial review of the imposition of state emergency.
  11. Constitutional amendment is also an important topic.

Administrative Law

  1. Principles of natural justice.
  2. Separation of powers and constitutional governance.
  3. Delegated legislation and its constitutionality.
  4. Judicial review of administrative action.
  5. Ombudsman – Lokayukta, Lokpal.
  6. Recommended book for this section: Administrative Law by I. P. Massey

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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