Author: Mr. Vishal Vyas
Civil Judge cum Judicial Magistrate
The importance of answer writing skills can’t be ignored. Broadly, we all study from a similar source or some kind of study material but the real difference comes when one has to write down that absorbed information on a piece of paper.
So, in this column, I’ll try to explain as to how you can get a cutting edge. How you can stand out against your competitors. This can be used for writing good answers not only for Judicial Services exams but also for your regular Law college’s exams or other law based competitive exams.
Now, there are 2 kinds of questions which can be asked; Analytical questions & Theoretical questions. Analytical questions are designed to assess your ability to consider a group of facts given those facts, determine what could or must be true by applying the laws thereto. Theoretical questions are designed to test your knowledge about a particular provision of law or any concept.
2. STEPS FOR ANSWERING ANALYTICAL QUESTIONS
- Start with a brief introduction to the given problem. In this area, explain what the problem is all about. Always remember that a good introduction is a half job done!
- After an introduction, write all the issues/points involved in a particular given problem. Sometimes, issues are already mentioned in a problem and you just have to determine them whereas, in some cases you are required to identify the issues first and then to solve them. This area will suggest that you’re going in the right direction.
- Now that you’ve jotted down all the issues, you’re required to apply the laws to those issues. Discuss briefly the Section of law applicable to the issue and then apply it to your facts. If you know any case law relevant to your facts then you should apply that also. This area of the answer checks your legal aptitude as you’re applying the letters of law to a particular situation.
- Last but not least, write your findings or conclusion on the issues. Enough with the steps. It’s always better to explain something with an example. So here is a model answer drafted by me for an analytical question. Just a disclaimer, I claim no insights to write a perfect answer. This will just serve as a guide. Always try to focus and develop your strategy when it comes to answering writing skills. Remember: A self-developed skill always gives you much more satisfaction rather than a copied one.
- ‘A’ an illiterate boy servant of 8 years stole a ‘Parker’ Fountain Pen worth Rs. 300 from the table of his master and sold to B, a student of law aged 21 years for Rs. 10/ only. Both ‘A’ & ‘B’ are put on trial. How would you, as a judge, decide the case?
- In the given problem, ‘A’ is an 8 years old illiterate boy who stole a Pen worth Rs. 300 from the table of his master and sold it to a Law student ‘B’ aged 21 years for Rs. 10.
3. FOLLOWING ARE THE POINT FOR DETERMINATIONS/ISSUES IN THE GIVEN CASE
- Whether ‘A’ has committed the offence under Section 381 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860?
- Whether ‘B’ has committed the offence under Section 411 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860?
Determination of Issue No. 1
Section 83 IPC gives a qualified immunity to a child who is above seven years but below twelve years of age. Section 83 says that “Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasion.” So a child above the age of seven years and below 12 years may be exempted from criminal liability provided it is proved that due to want of maturity and understand, the child did not understand the nature and consequence of his conduct.
In Queen v. Begarayi Krishna, I.L.R. a child of 9 years of age stole ornament worth Rs 2.8 and sold it to `B’ accused of 5annas Evidence at the trial and conduct of child showed that he had attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequence of his conduct, therefore the child was held guilty.
Therefore, in the present case, the conduct of ‘A’ shows that he had attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge the nature and consequences of his conduct. He’s selling the product at a lower or minimal price is irrelevant. Accordingly, he is not entitled to the benefit of section 83, IPC.
Further, he has committed the offence of theft as he dishonestly took the Parker pen which is a moveable property out of the possession of his master without his consent & moved the pen to such taking. As he has done this offence in the capacity of a Servant, the section under which he should be convicted is Section 381, IPC.
Determination of Issue No. 2
In every case under Section 411, I.P.C, two facts, viz.
1) That theft was committed and certain articles were stolen and
2) That the stolen articles were recovered from the possession of the accused, have to be established by direct evidence. They cannot be presumed. If these two facts are established and the recovery from the possession of the accused is a recent one, it will be open to the Court to presume under illustration (a) to Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act that the accused is either the thief or a receiver of stolen property. Although such presumption is discretionary. The existence of knowledge of an accused person can be seldom proved affirmatively by positive evidence. The prosecution in cases under Section 411 of the Penal Code, has, therefore, to depend generally either on a presumption arising from the possession of recently stolen properties or from inferences derived from proof of circumstances which render it difficult to exclude the fact of knowledge. One great question in those cases is the price paid for the thing. If it was a fair market price, it will in ordinary cases be sufficient to repel suspicion. But if there appears a gross difference between the price paid and the price which represents its intrinsic value, it will be strong evidence no less dishonestly than the property was known or believed to be stolen property. In the present case, a new Parker pen worth Rs. 300/- was purchased by B for Rs. 10/- only. It is important to note that B is not an illiterate person who can be said to be ignorant about the quality and the market price of the pen. He purchased such a costly article for a negligent price from an illiterate boy. These circumstances are enough to convict B for an offence under Section 411 of the Penal Code.
4. STEPS FOR ANSWERING THEORETICAL QUESTIONS:
Although there is no straight-jacket formula for answering theoretical questions the following points can be handy.
- Write your answer in paragraphs and not in points, until and unless you’re running short of time.
- Start with the meaning of the topic on which you’re required to write.
- You may also write policy, object or any legal maxim which forms the basis of the topic.
- Write the relevant legal provision in which that concept is contained; section number and name of the act.
- If the topic has been evolved by Judiciary then write the leading case law followed by recent case law if any.
- One can also add examples and illustrations to explain the concept depending upon the marks the question carries.
- Lastly, briefly conclude it with a short para.
Again, it’s better to provide you all with a Model answer for a theoretical question.
- Write a short note on ‘Criminal Intimidation’
- Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code has defined the offence of Criminal Intimidation as
“Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person or property or to the person or reputation of anyone in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.”
The most important ingredient of the offence of criminal intimidation as defined under Section 503 I.P.C. is that there should be an intention to cause alarm or to cause the person threatened to do any act which he is not legally bound to do.
In Ramesh Chandra Arora v. State,Accused took indecent photographs of a girl and threatened her father that if “hush money” is not paid to him he would publish the photographs Supreme Court while holding the accused guilty of criminal intimidation observed: “This Section is in two parts; the first part refers to the act of threatening another with injuring to his person, reputation or property or to the person or reputation of anyone in whom that person is interested; the second part refers to the intent with which the threatening is done and it is of two categories: one is intended to cause alarm to the person threatened, and the second is to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do as, the means of avoiding the execution of such threat.” To constitute this offence, the threat doesn’t need to be addressed directly to the person intimidated, it is sufficient if it is intended to be and is communicated to such person. Further, it is immaterial whether the person threatened was frightened by the threat.
 (1883) 6 Mad. 373.
 AIR 1960, SC 154.