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Law Optional Books and Syllabus for UPSC Exam

The Civil Services Examination (CSE), also known as UPSC exam, is an examination process in India that is supervised by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit Civil Services of the Government of India. Law Optional Books For IAS Civil Services Mains Exam Optional Subject consists of 2 papers. Each paper is of 250 marks, making a total of 500 marks. A good preparation strategy will help each and every aspirant to reach their success from the subjects like this. And also they can use the books written under the topic of syllabus to sharpen their knowledge. They need to gather enough information about the topics to write more descriptive and clear answers along with suitable examples.


In the UPSC exam, law is a very popular subject among aspirants. Aspirants with a background in law, finance, international trade, administration and management along with the subject related understandings can earn a higher mark.

Books for Law optional IAS Exam

Buying Books for studying law optional UPSC is challenging since no single book or book list covers the entire subject by the UPSC curriculum optional. There are several books and sources to be referred to by students. Optional legislation Paper- I shall comprise constitutional, administrative, and international law legislation. Law Paper-II covers the Law of Contracts, the Law of Torts, Contemporary Legal Developments, and the Law of Crimes.

Books for optional paper 1

Paper 1 of the Law optional has conceptual parts and less technical. This paper consists of two separate segments Constitutional Laws, Administrative Law, and International Law. To tackle Paper I of Law optional, an aspirant should need some essential books for reference for each subject. They are as follows:

List of Best Law Optional Books for IAS

  • Introduction to the Constitution of India – D.D Basu
  • An Introduction to Public International Law – S. K. Verma
  • The Constitution of India (Bare Act) – PM Bakshi
  • International Law- S. K Kapoor
  • Our Constitution – Subhash C. Kashyap
  • International Law – Malcolm N Shaw
  • Constitution of India- VN Shukla
  • Starke’s international law– J. G Starke
  • Administrative Law – I.P. Massey
  • Administrative Law–Satyaranjan Purushottam Sathe

Books for optional paper 2

Law optional Paper-II ideals with hardcore laws and more technical. It consists of two segments as Paper I. Law optional Books for IAS to refer for paper 2 are :

List of Best Law Optional Books for IAS

  • Criminal Law – P. S. Atchuthen Pillai.
  • Indian Penal Code- KD Gaur
  • Law of Tort – Autochthon Pillai
  • Law of Torts With Consumer Protection Act–Dr. R.K. Bangia
  • Indian Contract Act Specific Relief Act- Pollock & Mulla
  • PIL- MP Jain, articles from the internet
  • Principles of Mercantile Law- Avtar Singh
  • IPR- Primer by Nishith Desai Associates on the IPR regime in India
  • Mercantile Law – R.K. Bangia
  • Trial by Media- 200th report of the Law Commission of India


1. Constitutional and Administrative Law

Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution, Fundamental rights – Public interest litigation; Legal Aid; Legal services authority, Relationship between fundamental rights, directive principles and fundamental duties, Constitutional position of the President and relation with the Council of Ministers, Governor and his powers,

Supreme Court and High Courts including Appointments and transfer and Powers, functions and jurisdiction, Centre, States and local bodies including Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States, Local bodies, Administrative relationship among Union, State and Local Bodies and Eminent domain – State property – common property – community property.

Legislative powers, privileges and immunities, Services under the Union and the States including Recruitment and conditions of services, Constitutional safeguards, Administrative tribunals, Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commissions – Power and functions and Election Commission – Power and functions, Emergency provisions, Amendment of the Constitution,

Principles of natural justice – Emerging trends and judicial approach, Delegated legislation and its constitutionality, Separation of powers and constitutional governance, Judicial review of administrative action, Ombudsman: Lokayukta, Lokpal etc.

2. International Law

Nature and definition of international law, Relationship between international law and municipal law, State recognition and state succession, Law of the sea: Inland waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone, high seas,

Individuals: Nationality, statelessness; Human rights and procedures available for their enforcement, Territorial jurisdiction of States, extradition and asylum, Treaties: Formation, application, termination and reservation, United Nations: Its principal organs, powers, functions and reform,

Peaceful settlement of disputes – different modes, Lawful recourse to force: aggression, self-defence, intervention, Fundamental principles of international humanitarian law – International conventions and contemporary developments, Legality of the use of nuclear weapons; ban on testing of nuclear weapons;

Nuclear – nonproliferation treaty, CTBT, International terrorism, state sponsored terrorism, hijacking, international criminal court, New international economic order and monetary law: WTO, TRIPS, GATT, IMF, World Bank, Protection and improvement of the human environment: International efforts.


1. Law of Crimes

General principles of criminal liability, Kinds of punishment and emerging trends as to abolition of capital punishment, Preparation and criminal attempt, General exceptions, Joint and constructive liability, Abetment,

Criminal conspiracy, Offences against the State, Offences against public tranquility, Offences against human body, Offences against property, Offences against women, Defamation, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 and subsequent legislative developments. 16. Plea bargaining.

2. Law of Torts

Nature and definition, Liability based upon fault and strict liability, Vicarious liability including State liability, General defenses, Joint tortfeasors, Remedies, Negligence, Defamation, Nuisance, Conspiracy, False imprisonment, Malicious prosecution, Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

3. Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law

Nature and formation of contract/Econtract, Factors vitiating free consent, Void, voidable, illegal and unenforceable agreements, Performance and discharge of contracts, Quasi- Contracts, Consequences of breach of contract, Contract of indemnity, guarantee and insurance,

Contract of agency, Sale of goods and hire purchase, Formation and dissolution of partnership, Negotiable Instruments Act 1881, Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Standard form contracts.

4. Contemporary Legal Developments

Public Interest Litigation, Intellectual property rights – Concept, types/prospects, Information Technology Law including Cyber Laws – Concept, purpose/prospects, Competition Law- Concept, purpose/ prospects, Alternate Dispute Resolution – Concept, types/prospects, Major statutes concerning environmental law, Right to Information Act, Trial by media

The main aspect which makes the UPSC examination difficult for candidates is their exam design and bulky curriculum. Besides, another reason could be the rigid testing process. Even if you fail in the main examination or interview, you must start with the very first phase which for the candidates is considered a difficult part.

It is undoubtedly a competition of lakhs of aspirants and the 0.5 percent success rate is extremely low. There is a very low likelihood of service if you do not work intelligently. Although one of the toughest tests is clear, every year it shows up to nearly nine lakh candidates. Because it is one of the few jobs which combines the benefits of employment security, diversity of jobs, balance between work and life, personal growth, and personal prestige. More importantly, it offers immense self-satisfaction, because it can help those who most need it. Don’t lose your hope and take pleasure in preparing for such a great chance!

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