UPSC Law Optional Syllabus- Syllabus Paper-I and Paper-II

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Civil Services Exam for recruitment to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). The IAS exam has three stages, namely, Prelims, Mains, and interview. The UPSC Civil Services Mains exam has nine papers, out of which two papers are for optional subjects. Law is one of the scoring optional subjects. You should have detailed information and understanding of the UPSC Law optional syllabus before you select Law as your optional subject. Read on to know the detailed law optional syllabus for UPSC

UPSC Law Optional Syllabus 

The optional subject in UPSC Mains Exam has a total weightage of 500 marks. The duration of the Optional subject Paper I and Paper II is of 3 hours each and the weightage of each paper is 250 marks. The law optional syllabus for UPSC is as given under: 

Law Optional Syllabus for UPSC Paper-I 

It can be divided into two broad categories: 

  • Constitutional and Administrative Law 
  • International Law 
Constitutional and Administrative Law:International Law:
1. Constitutional Position of the President; Relation of President with the Council of Ministers. 1. Treaties: Formation, application, termination, and reservation.
2. Legislative powers, privileges; immunities.2. Individuals: Nationality, statelessness; Human Rights and procedures available for their enforcement. 
3. Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution. 3. Peaceful settlement of disputes—different modes.
4. Fundamental Rights—Public interest litigation(PIL); Legal Aid; Legal services authority.4. Legality of the use of nuclear weapons; ban on the testing of nuclear weapons; Nuclear non-proliferation treaty, CTST. 
5. Supreme Court and the High Courts: 5. Law of the sea: Contiguous Zone, Inland Waters,  Continental Shelf, Territorial Sea,  Exclusive Economic Zone, and High Seas. 
(a) Appointments and transfers.6.  State Recognition and State Succession.
(b) Powers, functions, and jurisdiction. 7. Principal organs, powers, functions, and reform of the United Nations.
6. Administrative tribunals. 8. Relationship between international law and municipal law.
7. Services under the Union and the States:9. Fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.
(a) Election Commission—Power and functions. 10. Territorial jurisdiction of States, Extradition, and Asylum.
(b) Powers and functions of the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) and State Public Service Commissions11. Protection and Improvement of the Human Environment: International Efforts.
(c) Recruitment and conditions of services; Constitutional safeguards; 12.  Nature and Definition of International Law. 
8. Governor and his powers. 13. International conventions and contemporary developments.
 9. Amendment of the Constitution. 14. Lawful recourse to force, aggression, self-defense, intervention. 
(a) Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States. (b) Local Bodies.15. New International Economic Order and Monetary Law:  IMF, World Bank, TRIPS, GATT, WTO.
(d) Eminent Domain-State property-common property-community property. 
(c) Administrative relationship among Union, State, and Local Bodies.

10. Delegated legislation and its constitutionality. 
11. Separation of powers and constitutional governance. 
12. Principle of Natural Justice—Emerging trends and judicial approach. 
13. Ombudsman: Loka Yukta, Lokpal etc. 
14. Emergency provisions. 
15. Centre, States, and local bodies:
16. Judicial review of administrative action.


Law optional syllabus for UPSC Paper-II 

It has four broad categories: 

  • Law of Crimes 
  • Law of Torts 
  • Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law 
  • Contemporary Legal Developments 
Law of CrimesLaw of TortsLaw of Contracts & Mercantile LawContemporary Legal Developments

1. Criminal conspiracy. 

1. General defenses.
1. Standard form contracts.1. Information Technology Law including Cyber Laws—Concept, purpose/prospects.

2. Abetment.
2. Joint tortfeasors.
2. Void, voidable, illegal, and unenforceable agreements.
2. Intellectual property rights—Concept, types/prospects.
3. Joint and constructive liability.3. Vicarious liability including State Liability.3. Factors vitiating free consent.3. Public Interest Litigation.
4. General exceptions.  4. Nature and definition.4. Formation and dissolution of the partnership.4. Competition Law—Concept, purpose/prospects.
5. Preparations and criminal attempts. 5. Liability based upon fault and strict liability; Absolute liability.5. Nature and formation of contract/E-contract.5. Alternate Dispute Resolution—Concept, types/prospects.
6. Offences against public tranquillity. 6. Remedies.6. Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.6. Trial by media. 
7. Offences against the State. 
7. Nuisance.
7. Contract of indemnity, guarantee, and insurance.7. Right to Information Act.
8. Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and subsequent legislative developments.8. Defamation.8. Contract of the agency.8. Major statutes concerning environmental law.
9. Offences against women. 9. Negligence.9. Sale of goods and hire purchase.
10. Mensrea and actus reus, 
10. Consumer Protection Act, 1986
10. Performance and discharge of contracts.
11. Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 11. False imprisonment.11. Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
12. Kinds of punishment and emerging trends as to abolition of capital punishment.12. Malicious prosecution.12. Consequences of breach of contract.
13. General principles of criminal liability.13. Conspiracy.13. Quasi-contracts. 
14. Offences against the property. 
15. Defamation.
16. Mensrea in statutory offenses.

Law optional syllabus has many overlapping topics that students also prepare for other subjects of the Mains exam. Your preparation for UPSC Law optional syllabus can benefit you in other subjects such as General Studies, Indian Polity, and Constitution. It can also help you in preparation for the interview. One thing that you should keep in mind is that you have to write to the point answers and use specific terminologies to score maximum marks in Law optional subjects.  It is not necessary to have a graduate degree in Law to select it as an optional subject in the UPSC Mains Exam. The level of questions in the Law optional syllabus is application-based and interesting. Therefore, selecting Law as an optional subject can be beneficial for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How many papers are there in UPSC Mains optional subject? 

There are two papers in the UPSC Mains optional subject.

What is the weightage of the UPSC Law optional syllabus

The weightage of the UPSC Law optional syllabus is a total of 500 marks with two Papers of 250 marks each.

What are the main topics of the Paper-I of Law optional syllabus?

Constitutional and Administrative Law; International Law.

What is the duration of the optional subject exam?

The duration of the Law optional exam is 3 hours each for Paper-I and Paper-II.

What are some of the topics covered in the Law Optional syllabus?

The Law optional syllabus covers International Law, Constitution and Administrative Law, Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law, Law of Crimes, Law of Torts, and Contemporary Legal Developments. 


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