Career Trajectory of a Civil Judge in India

As we all know, Civil Judge is one of the most important positions in the judicial system of India. Judges are responsible for administrating, interpreting, and applying laws and articles of the Indian Constitution.

Are you an aspirant for the Judicial Service Examination? Don't know how judges are promoted to the next level and what the career trajectory of a civil judge is?

Well, this post shall guide you through detailed information about the career trajectory from a law student to Judges of the High Court and Supreme Court.

How are Civil Judges Appointed?

Most of the students choose Judiciary as a Career as it is a highly prestigious and respected job and provides a handsome salary.

According to the Constitution of India, there is a three-tier judicial system that includes the Supreme Court of India, the High Courts in different states, and the Subordinate Courts.

The judges are appointed at these three levels in India. The hierarchy of the Judicial Services in India is explained below:

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Supreme Court (SC) Jurisdiction

  • The Supreme Court is the highest in India, and it is the highest court of appeal.
  • The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the senior-most and highest position judge in the Supreme Court. This position also holds the most prominent post in the country.
  • The jurisdiction of the supreme court of India includes the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and 30 Additional Judges.
  • The President of India appoints the CJI after consulting with the supreme court and the high court judiciary.
  • The maximum age limit for the position of SC judge is 65 years of age. 

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High Court (HC) Jurisdiction

  • Every state high court judge is appointed by the President of India by consulting with the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice of High Court, and the governor of the state.
  • The total number of judges depends on the average rate of distribution of the cases per judge per year in that HC or by dividing the intermediate institutions of chief issues during the preceding five years by the national average.
  • The maximum age limit for the position of a high court judge is 62 years of age. 

District Court (DC) Jurisdiction

  • Sessional judges and district judges govern the district courts in India. 
  • District Judges are considered the highest authority of India.
  • The governor makes the appointment of district judges after consulting with the chief justice of the state high court.
  • To become a district judge, applicants must have completed seven years of practice as an advocate. 

Career Trajectory of a Civil Judge in Indian Judicial System

Those who join the judiciary at a younger age have a better chance of getting promoted from High Court judge to Supreme Court judge.

Cracking the Judicial Services Exams on the first attempt will influence your career trajectory and where you will retire after 30 years from now.

Let's understand the career trajectory of a civil judge from the image given below.

Career Progression in the Lower Judiciary 

The lower judiciary comprises three cadres of judges: District Judges, Senior Level Judges, and Civil Judges (junior division).

The recruitment for Civil judge posts includes both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Go through the post below to know how judges are promoted to the next level.

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Civil Judge (junior division)

In all the states, the post of Civil Judges (junior division) is filled by direct recruitment. Currently, there are 24 states in India that conduct the Judiciary Exam to fill in various posts of civil judge.

As per the Judiciary Exam Pattern, the recruitment process of the civil judge exam involves three stages: prelims, mains, and interview.

Only those who will qualify in prelims and mains exams are eligible to appear for the interview process.

Civil Judge (senior division)

Recruitment to the cadre of Senior Civil Judges has been carried through from the Civil Judge (junior division) cadre based on the principle of merit and experience.

But sometimes, the promotions are also made on the principle of merit (in Maharashtra).

To be eligible for the senior division position, you should have completed five years of service in the junior division.

District Judge

The senior Civil Judges are promoted as district judges. Sometimes, district judges are also directly recruited through a competitive examination.

There are two ways to become a district judge: through promotion and direct recruitment.


There are two ways of promotion: regular promotion and accelerated promotion.

Regular Promotion is the promotion where the judicial officers are promoted based on the principle of merit and seniority.

Accelerated promotion s the promotion where the judicial officers are promoted based on the principle of merit.

Direct Recruitment

In the direct recruitment process, district judge posts are filled by way of direct appointment.

Civil Judges (senior division) who have seven years of practice are eligible for the district judge posts.


What skills are required to clear the judicial services exam?

Critical thinking, listening skills, writing skills, oral communication skills, and reading knowledge are some of the skills that you required to clear the judicial services exam.

Which jobs are related to judicial services in India?

The jobs related to judicial services are advocate general, attorney general, district and sessions judge, magistrate, notary, oath commissioner, public prosecutor, solicitors, and sub-magistrate.

What is the salary of a High Court Judge?

A High Court Judge draws a salary of Rs. 80,000 per month. The minimum basic pay scale of the high court judge will be Rs. 26,000 and an experienced judge will get salary up to Rs. 45,000 including grade pay and allowances.

What is the salary of a Supreme court judge?

The supreme court judge draws a salary of Rs.90,000 per month and that includes basic salary, allowances, and perks. The Supreme Court judge will get more salary compared to the High Court judge and Chief Justice of India will be paid higher than the Supreme Court Judge.

For which posts the judicial services exams are conducted in India?

The judiciary exams in India are conducted for the folloeing posts :

  • District judge,
  • Sessional Judge
  • District Magistrate
  • Sub Magistrate

Is Judiciary as a career good option?

Yes, it is a good option for law graduates. Along with learning and working connected with law throughout your life, you will have job satisfaction.