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Kaanchi Singhal, AIR 223, UPSC 2021 with Law Optional

Updated: Mar 7


Law optional topper, Kaanchi Singhal
Kaanchi Singhal [AIR 223, UPSC 2021]

Brief Intro about Kaanchi Singhal, she Cleared mains in first attempt, she didn't qualified prelims twice and in third attempt when she cleared prelims, she cleared mains with 213 rank. She was earlier working in corporate sector then decided to appear for civil services examination with law optional.


Table on Content



Aditya Tiwari Sir - Tell us little about yourself.


Candidate - So, I did my graduation from ILS Law College, Pune in 2017, then I worked as a Corporate Lawyer for 7 months in Delhi, then I decided to prepare for UPSC. Sir, my inspiration was slightly different, I actually felt that I would want to be a part of the implementation of the Law because there were so many ideas that I was getting when I was working as a corporate lawyer.


Strategy for Constitutional Law

Aditya Tiwari Sir - Okay so let’s start with the Constitutional Law, which is Paper I. How did you prepare for the Constitutional Law paper?


Candidate - Sir, the basic first thing was to look at the syllabus, because in law school the syllabus is much more vast than what the optional paper requires, so I looked at all the topics that have been given properly. So, a lot of people I have heard referred to this guide book known as Dukki but I saw some topper videos, there I felt that I would want to stick to my own sources that I did in college. So, I think, the good part was that I stuck to the textbooks that were there so that my source of information was more authentic and enriched. I ensured that for every topic I have case laws, proper introduction and conclusion. For the Constitution, certain topics are not given in depth in the textbooks, so for that I referred to the internet sources. Fundamental Rights I felt that it is something which has to be done in detail, so I read the MP Jain, which has a really good amount of legal theory given in it.


Aditya Tiwari Sir - So, for every topic when you used to prepare Introduction and conclusion, how did you prepare it, did you used to write it down or remember it?


Candidate - Sir, I think everyone has a different way of doing it. Some people just cannot do it from books, and they make notes. For me, I had a different style of doing it from the textbooks itself from my college days only, so I used to mark the lines in the book very nicely and I would refer to it for revision. Sometimes, when I felt that the topic was very very vast, then I used to note down the body of it but I just did the book revision mostly.


Strategy for Administrative Law

Aditya Tiwari Sir - So, what about the Administrative Law part? Since the subject is very vast and the topics which come are very few, how did you prepare for that?


Candidate - Yes sir, I did refer to a book but that something I could have skipped, I felt during the revision that I read too deep into it which is not actually required. I referred to Dukki but later I felt that I could have skipped that, maybe should have gone for something in brief.


Strategy for International Law

Interviewer - Now what about Part B of Paper I that is International Law? How did you prepare for International Law?


Candidate - Sir, the basic book again which is SK Kapoor for some topics and for some topics I referred to HO Agarwal. Again in these topics, I made sure that I am sticking to the basics, not going into a lot of depth, since the syllabus of Law optional is pretty vast, so I made sure that I am making a wider coverage of the syllabus rather than going too deep into every topic. So, there we have to decide what topics are important.


General Feedback for Paper I

Interviewer - One more thing in regard to Paper I, there is a general feedback that you have to write more general answers than stuffing them with case laws, so do you think it the case?


Candidate - Sir, in my part, I wrote case laws. And I was trying to give as much wider coverage as possible.


Law of Crimes

Interviewer - Okay so let us come to Paper II, so what about Law of Crimes? How did you cover it?


Candidate - Sir, I did the Pillai book very nicely, that’s the simplest book and I revised it multiple times and I think Crimes is one part which you can do very easily, because if you know the ingredients and the case laws, you can score easily in the paper.


Law of Torts

Interviewer - And what about the Law of Torts?

Candidate - Sir, I did the basic book which is there for Torts, RK Bangia. I already had the highlighted portion in the book from when I used to study in my college, so I referred to that only.


Strategy for Contemporary Legal Development

Interviewer - So now what about the CLD part, I think it is very dynamic, how did you cover that?


Candidate - Sir, I went on the internet to cover the CLD part. LiveLaw is there, ipleaders is also a really good blog which covers short notes also. Wherever I could find information I referred to that source, I think the Nishith Desai Associates, the primers are there for certain topics like IPR and all. So, all these can give a basic information about the CLD part but when I was actually attempting the paper, I actually could not attempt a lot of CLD questions, I felt that I could have prepared it better, but since my Torts and Contracts and Crimes was very well prepared, I could manage it somehow.


Law of Contracts


Interviewer - And what about the Contract Paper?


Candidate - Sir, again I felt my strategy went too deep here, I think I could have changed it a little. For example, I did a few topics from Bangia but later I felt it was too deep to revise, so maybe I am not sure how to do it short, but maybe when we are reading those books, we can make short notes while reading only, so that it helps to revise quickly. But you know, we cannot even skip those topics very easily, if we see the pattern of the papers, we have to read the case laws also, so I am not sure how to do it in short but I did it from the book only.


Interviewer - So what about the acts like the Negotiable Instruments, how did you prepare for that?


Candidate - Sir, I referred to the internet sources to cover these topics. I also watched a few youtube videos to understand the basics of it.


Message to the candidates who didn't qualified for few times


Interviewer - Now, there are some questions of Non-academic nature. What is your message to the students who could not qualify as there are my candidates who have been appearing for the exam for more than two or three times now, which attempt was this for you? When did you actually start to prepare? What exact time did it take you to prepare?


Candidate - Sir, this was my third attempt. I started preparing after I left my job, because before, I spent all my five years in college properly in understanding Law because I wanted to be sure that I am first clear with and at that time I was not very sure that I am going to prepare for the Civil Services, so when I took law I was very interested in reading, so I spent all my five years in understanding the Law, and I think that was good also, that really helped me in being confident that my professional field as a Lawyer is very much well prepared and secured, so only after I started working I realized that I want to use my knowledge of Law for understanding the implementation aspect of it also. So, it took around 3 years to qualify.


Advantage of Law Optional

Interviewer - Okay, so now the second question is did you also consider other optional papers? What did you think was an advantage as a Law optional paper?


Candidate - Sir, I did not consider any other optional because I used to enjoy reading Law during my graduation and even after that, so for me, Law was a very natural choice and I could not think of anything else. I already had a good base, I knew how to write answers properly, so I did not think of doing anything else. I think the help that Law optional has is, what I have noticed, a lot of prelims questions also have some sort of Legal knowledge involved, so it can help in that. Secondly, in Paper II, I think there is a lot of overlap, you can find some overlap in ethics paper also sometimes, so overall it has a good importance.


Overlapping of papers

Interviewer - Now, what about other subjects as a law student, how can they integrate Law optional subjects along with other subjects?


Candidate - Sir, I think the Constitution in Paper II is something one can integrate. It is very helpful for prelims also. Sir, I used to just see that if there is any case law which can be used in Law optional as well as others, I would take note of it, and if there is a general understanding for GS too, then I used to put that in GS but what I knew is that in GS, we cannot write too many cases in the answers , that’s the understanding I got from previous topper videos, so I used to take note of it.


Mistakes candidates should not commit

Interviewer - Okay so, any last message you would like to give to the students, what they should or should not do, or any mistakes which they should not commit?


Candidate - I think if you are comfortable with Law and if you are specially a graduate in Law, you should consider taking Law, I don’t think there’s any reason for not taking it. I have heard many people from law background going for some other optional, I am not sure why they do that, but for me I was very comfortable, and if you enjoy reading it, please take it up. And the syllabus for law students is pretty small because during graduation we read many other subjects, it’s only the substantive part of it so I think it can be managed easily. One mistake which I think I made is for certain topics you do not need to go very deep, maybe you can consider making short notes.


Topper's Note relevant?

Interviewer - What about the toppers notes? Do you think it will help?


Candidate - Sir, I am not sure. I was never a person, even in my law school, I never referred to notes, I always used to go for authentic books, so I don’t know how about it.


Online Resources you used

Interviewer - Any online sources that you want to recommend to the students that you used to see regularly?


Candidate - Sir, I used to go for ipleaders sometimes, there are older posts which are very relevant for some topics. I also did see some BarandBench Articles, SCC OnLine blogs. Other than that LiveLaw and Nishith Desai Associates Blog, these are there. I think for International Law, the UN website itself has some links for reference.



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