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upsc law optional books

Recommended Books  For UPSC Law Optional

Buying Books For studying law optional upsc is challenging, as there is no one book or book list which cover all the subject precisely as per upsc syllabus of law optional. There are multiple book and source which student need to refer too. In this article i am giving topic wise which book to refer for what. Read law optional upsc strategy before buying any book.

Often books are bulky and are written for academic purpose not of this examination. So Keep it Simple and read only topic that is recommended from the Book list. At the end of each subject there is summary for all the books list for upsc law optional Mentioned in a particular subject.

Paper - I

Constitutional Law

Administrative Law

International Law

Paper - II

Law of Crime

Laws of Tort

Law of Contract

Contemporary Legal Development

Paper I

Subject :- Constitutional Law (Topic and Books/Source) 

  1. Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution. 

    Books/Sources :-  M.P jain Only Related Pages, Online Article/Editorials


  2. Fundamental Rights—Public interest litigation; Legal Aid; Legal services authority. 

    Books/Sources :- DD Basu, Shorter introduction. Enrich its content with latest judgements


  3. Relationship between Fundamental rights, Directive principles and Fundamental duties. 

    Books/Sources : Corner State of a nation, Granville Austin


  4. Constitutional Position of the President and relation with the Council of Ministers. 

    Books/Sources : DD basu, Shorter Version, (JN Pandey and MP jain too Bulky)


  5. Governor and his powers. 

  6. Supreme Court and the High Courts: 
    (a)  Appointments and transfer.
    (b)  Powers, functions and jurisdiction. 

  7. Centre, States and local bodies:
    Distribution of Legislative Powers between the union and the states
    Administrative relationship among Union, State and Local Bodies.

    Books/Sources : M.P Jain(Topic 5-7), Only read what have been asked in last papers. See topic Wise Question


  8. Eminent domain-State property-common property-community property.

    Books/Sources : Read and Improvise upon this Article


  9. Legislative powers, privileges and immunities. 

  10. Services under the Union and the States: 

  11. Recruitment and conditions of services; Constitutional safeguards; Administrative tribunals. 

  12. Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commissions—Power and functions. 

  13. Election Commission—Power and functions.

    Books/Sources : M.P Jain or JN Pandey (Topic 9-13)


  14. Emergency provisions. Amendment of the Constitution.

    Books/Sources : DD Basu's Book - Shorter Introduction to constitution

Subject :- Administrative Law (Topic and Books/Source)

  1. Principle of Natural Justice—Emerging trends and judicial approach.

  2. Delegated legislation and its constitutionality. 

  3. Separation of powers and constitutional governance. 

  4. Judicial review of administrative action

    Books/Sources : Administrative Law by Sathe (for topic 1-4)


  5. Ombudsman: Lokayukta, Lokpal etc. 

    Books/Sources :Use Bare Acts Prepare Notes Based On previous Year Papers


Subject :- International Law (Topic and Book/Source)

  1. Nature and Definition of International Law. 

    Books/Sources :-  Kapoor, Only Because it have Lucid language


  2. Relationship between International Law and Municipal Law. 

  3. State Recognition and State Succession. 

  4. Law of the sea: Inland Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and High Seas. 

  5. Individuals: Nationality, statelessness; Human Rights and procedures available for their enforcement. 

  6. Territorial jurisdiction of States, Extradition and Asylum. 

  7. Treaties : Formation, application, termination and reservation. 

    Books/Sources :- Stark's International Law, This Book Comprehensively covers Topic 2 to 6


  8. United Nations : Its principal organs, powers and functions and reform. 

    Books/Sources :- Best way to look UN website itself and FAQ on each of principal Organ of UNO


  9. Peaceful settlement of disputes—different modes. 

    Books/Sources :- There a UN Handbook on same subject. Read first chapter, first subpart of each method of peaceful settlement method. Make a note from it.


  10. Lawful recourse to force : aggressions, self-defence, intervention. 

  11. Fundamental principles of international humanitarian law—International conventions and contemporary developments. 

    Books/Sources :- Stark International law (For 10 and 11 topic)


  12. Legality of the use of nuclear weapons; ban on testing of nuclear weapons; Nuclear non- proliferation treaty, CTST. 

    Books/Sources :- No Definitive Book Source, Nuclear Non Proliferation pdf
     could Be referred and Improved further from Google.

    For legality of the use of Nuclear weapon just refer this opinion of ICJ


  13. International Terrorism, State sponsored terrorism, Hijacking, International Criminal Court. 

    Books/Sources :- Questions are direct so, this pdf for International terrorism and state sponsored terrorism should suffice for ICC refer to Faq on ICC website only read its jurisdiction and structure chapter leave history and other stuff.


  14. New International Economic Order and Monetary Law : WTO, TRIPS, GATT, IMF, World Bank. 

    Books/Sources :- Stark's International law covers it. You may need to improvise upon it from google.


  15. Protection and Improvement of the Human Environment : International Efforts. 

    Books/Sources :- Best Source
    Stockholm Conference Document. However you may read it from stark's International as well, it is more precise.


Paper II

Subject: - Law of Crimes(Topic and Book/Resource)

  1. ​General principles of Criminal liability : mens rea and actus reus, mens rea in statutory offences. 

  2. Kinds of punishment and emerging trends as to abolition of capital punishment. 

  3. Preparations and criminal attempt.

  4. General exceptions.

  5. Joint and constructive liability. 

  6. Abetment. 

  7. Criminal conspiracy. 

  8. Offences against the State. 

  9. Offences against public tranquility. 

  10. Offences against human body. 

  11. Offences against property. 

    Books/Sources :-  For topic 1 - 11 Best Book id KD gaur. Just see what subtopic need to studied as this book is very comprehensively written. See law of Crime syllabus analysis to understand Requirement.


  12. Offences against women. 

    Books/Sources :- Rape and Other crime against women can be read from KD gaur only, However for Other crime take the the help of Ratan lal's Book on Crime.


  13. Defamation. 

    Books/Sources: - KD gaur, But Read this topic along with tort's topic of defamation and make a competitive analysis.


  14. Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. 

  15. Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and subsequent legislative developments.
    Books/Sources - Both topic 14 & 15, can be read from would be good source. Focus on recent amendments and read articles there.


  16. Plea bargaining. 

    Books/Sources - It is a recent topic of criminal jurisprudence in india. UPSC ask very specific questions in it. So read bare act of IPC will Suffice. Read this pdf on plea bargaining


Subject: - Law of Torts (Books/Sources)



  1. Nature and definition. 

  2. Liability based upon fault and strict liability; Absolute liability. 

  3. Vicarious liability including State Liability. 

  4. General defenses. 

  5. Joint tort lessors. 

  6. Remedies. 

  7. Negligence. 

  8. Defamation. 

  9. Nuisance. 

  10. Conspiracy. 

  11. False imprisonment. 

  12. Malicious prosecution.

  13. Consumer Protection Act 

Books and Sources : Topic 1-12 can be read from any standard text book. All have these topics. I would suggest Bangia's Law of Tort, a very popular book and Already you might Have that. Just give preference Topic as per Tort Syllabus Analysis

For Topic 13, Consumer Protection Act,  Read the latest bare act and mostly question is from doctor's deficiency of service. Reading this Medical Negligence document would suffice that.

Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law

  1. Nature and formation of contract/E-contract.

  2. Factors vitiating free consent.

  3. Void, voidable, illegal and unenforceable agreements. Performance and discharge of

  4. contracts.

  5. Quasi-contracts.

  6. Consequences of breach of contract.

    Books/Sources : - Standard Topic and Any standard Test books like Avtar Singh's Law of Contact. For Quick Revision DU's Dukey and ICAI
    Contract law Notes


  7. Contract of indemnity, guarantee and insurance.

    Books/Sources - Very Large Topic only Study Over all meaning of these contract. Read ICAI Guarantee and indemnity Notes That should suffice. For Insurance, only read Essential of Insurance Contract for any google site


  8. Contract of agency.

    Books/Sources - Topic 8 can be studied by using Contract of Agency pdf. No need to study anything extra.


  9. Sale of goods and hire purchase.

    Books/Sources - Topic 9, Sales of good act is most important, Read it from

    Formation on Contact of Sale

    Condition and Warranty

    Transfer of Ownership and Transfer of goods

    Right of Unpaid Seller

    For rest this Hire and Purchase pdf. For hire Purchase Simple one page notes mentioning its essential feature will suffice.

  10. Formation and dissolution of partnership.

    Books/Sources - Even though syllabus mention only two topic of partnership there have been question from all topic of partnership. This 3 pdf on Law of partnership would be sufficient. Make it more precise in your notes.

    Meaning of partnership

    Relation between partner

    Dissolution of Partnership


  11. Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

    Books/Sources - Very short syllabus just study topic in this ICAI's negotiable instrument pdf


  12. Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

    Books/Sources - Just read a general article on the topic overall meaning and nature of the act. Use LIVE LAW artilces.


  13. Standard form contracts. 

    Books/Sources - Very very Short Topic. Read this Article on Standard form contract , no need to study anything else.

Contemporary Legal Developments (Books and Sources) ​

1. Public Interest Litigation. 

Books/Sources - Very general topic Better club the source and books with Paper 1, topic 1 and 2. May these two article may help. Namely , PIL and Environmental Law and PIL and Judicial Activism

2. Intellectual property rights—Concept, types/prospects. 

Books/Sources - IPR law are Huge so Take any book and read only meanign, Registration and Refusal grounds for all of them. See law optional previous year Topic WIse IPR Question. To have an Idea


3. Information Technology Law including Cyber Laws—Concept, purpose/prospects. 

Books/Sources - A general overview of law would suffice. Don't go into nitty gritty of each section along with case laws. Just Power and function of controller, And Basic Definition from Bare Act will be Enough.


4. Competition Law—Concept, purpose/prospects. 

Books/Sources - CCI website have multiple pdf related to competition advocacy. This pdf is most suitable for Competition law UPSC syllabus. Read only chapter 3 to 7.


5. Alternate Dispute Resolution—Concept, types/prospects. 

Books/Sources - ADR should be read with section 89 of CPC. A general view of each method of ADR needs to be studies.


6. Major statutes concerning environmental law. 

Books/Sources - The Question ins this topic are majorly related to environmental principle and very rarely they ask acts in detail. Bare act reading would suffice of all environmental acts. These article Would solve 70 percent of previous year papers in this topic


7. Right to Information Act. 

Books/Sources - Right to information for UPSC is an important topic. The pdf to study. it covers both legal and philosophical aspect.


7. Trial by media.

Books/Sources - Very abstract topic but this pdf from shodhganga  covers effect of Trial by media and its effect on society and its legal aspect like relation with contempt of court

Now the Question is how to make use of books and resources referred above. Here is a 7 step process of preparing UPSC law Optional, Explained by Aditya Tiwari Sir. Hope it Helps.


Constitutional Law
Admin Law Books
International Law
Law of Crimes
Law of Tort
Mercantile Law
Contemporary Legal Developments
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