Law Optional Books for UPSC: Download Booklist PDF

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : April 18th, 2022

Law Optional Booklist for UPSC are often bulky, as there is not a concise booklist, and all the topics covered under the optional subject need to be covered separately from different sources. UPSC aspirants choose Law as an in the UPSC CSE since it is a scoring subject. The marks fetched in the Law Optional along with other papers of the UPSC Mains are a crucial factor in deciding the fate of the aspirant.

In this article, we have exhaustly covered the UPSC Law Optional Books topic-wise, so that both the papers of the Law Optional are covered.

Table of Content

UPSC Law Optional Books

The UPSC Law Optional Syllabus is enormous and requires a good dedication of time for its completion. To complete the Booklist for Law Optional UPSC, it is always advised to strategize in such a way that before UPSC Prelims, at least one revision is done by the candidate’s side, including attempting the mocks/test series.

The UPSC Law Optional Booklist quotes a lot of judgments and cases. From the exam point of view, it is always suggested to understand the crux of crucial topics rather than just memorizing case law names. The knowledge of case law names will not help if one is unable to demonstrate a deep understanding of the topic asked. While writing answers, the ratio decidendi approach should be followed.

The Booklist for Law Optional UPSC covers both the papers (Paper 1 and Paper 2) of the optional subject. Law optional Paper 1 consist of Constitutional Law, Administrative law, and International Law. Law Paper-II comprises the Law of Contracts, the Law of Torts, Contemporary Legal Developments, and the Law of Crimes. Whereas, Law optional Paper 2 covers Law of Torts and Law of Crimes, along with Mercantile Law, Law of Contracts, and Contemporary Legal Developments.

Best Books For Law Optional In UPSC- Paper 1

Paper 1 of the UPSC Law Optional is less technical and more on conceptual parts. Paper 1 consists of segments including Constitutional Laws, Administrative Law, and International Law. In this section, we will cover both, the topics as well as the booklist.

UPSC Law Optional Books for Constitutional Law

For covering Constitutional Law, the booklist needed for Law Optional includes readings of: 

  • Indian Constitutional Law by M.P. Jain 
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu
  • Comparative Constitutional Law by D.D. Basu 
  • Corner State of a Nation by Granville Austin 
  • Indian Polity By M. Laxmikanth 
  • Constitutional Law Of India by Dr. J.N. Pandey 
  • Shorter Introduction to Constitution by D.D. Basu

In addition to the Booklist for Law Optional UPSC, the data must be enriched with recent judgments and complemented with online resources wherever possible.

☛ Also Read: Current Affairs Today

Best Books for Law Optional in UPSC for Administrative Law

Administrative law is the division of law that governs the activities of executive branch agencies of government. For Law Optional, it is a very important section of Paper 1. The resources can be looked for preparing the Administrative Law for UPSC:

  • Administrative Law by S.P. Sathe, complemented with online resources and recent judgments can be read for the following topics 
  • Bare Acts to cover Ombudsman

UPSC Law Optional Books for International Law

International Law comes under Section B of Paper I in the UPSC Mains exam. This section consists of four questions out of which one is a compulsory question. The booklist/ resources referred are:

  • International Law and Human Rights by Dr. S. K. Kapoor
  • International Law by J.G. Starke
  • UN website and FAQs on each of the principal Organs of UNO
  • UN Handbook on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes
  • IGNOU material on Nuclear proliferation
  • Legality of the use of Nuclear weapons from ICJ
  • IGNOU material on International Terrorism and FAQs on ICJ Website

Best Books For Law Optional In UPSC- Paper 2

Paper 2 of the UPSC Law Optional deals with the hardcore laws and is more technical in approach. It consists of two segments:

  • Section A – Law of Torts and Law of Crimes
  • Section B – Mercantile Law, Law of Contracts, and Contemporary Legal Developments

Best Books for Law Optional in UPSC in Law of Torts

The Law of Torts by R.K. Bangia mostly covers all the topics mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus for Law Optional. For Consumer Protection Act, read the latest bare acts, along with reports on medical negligence.

UPSC Law Optional Books for Law of Crimes

The Law of Crimes mostly covers all the offenses and general principles of criminal liability, covering kinds of punishments as well. The resources referred to prepare this section includes:

  • Criminal Law: Cases and Materials by K.D. Gaur
  • Law of Crimes by Ratanlal & Dhirajlal
  • Bare Acts of IPC and IGNOU material on Plea bargaining
  • Internet sources to cover corruption and civil rights acts

UPSC Law Optional Books for Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law

The sub-topics included in the UPSC Syllabus for Law Optional for Law of Contracts is duly covered in Law of Contract and Specific Relief by Avtar Singh’s book. This book is considered the Bible for Law of Contracts.

For Mercantile Laws, basic reference should be made to the ICAI website, where PDF of the following topics is easily available. The notes should be sufficient with other online resources.

  • ICAI notes on Contract Law 
  • ICAI notes on Guarantee and Indemnity 
  • ICAI notes on Contract of agency
  • ICAI notes on Sale of goods and hire purchase
  • ICAI notes on Negotiable Instruments act
  • ICAI notes on Partnership (Meaning of Partnership, Relation between Partners, and Dissolution of Partnership)

This topic of Paper 2 has broad coverage. The aspirant is advised to refer to standard books and complement them with the Current Affairs. The standard resources include:

Booklist For Law Optional UPSC- PDF

The Law Optional is a scoring subject. Both the papers on the subject are application-based and a lot of mugging up is not required. The best thing about this optional is that there is a lot of overlap with the General Studies paper, especially in polity and Constitution. So, reading the Booklist for Law Optional UPSC, along with the standard UPSC Books will make the preparation complete.

For your convenience, we have attached the Booklist For Law Optional UPSC in PDF format.

☛ Download UPSC Law Optional Booklist PDF


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  • The Law Optional in UPSC Exam has a high success rate. Not only students from law backgrounds, but also from non-law backgrounds choose Law as their optional subject. Some of the Best Books For Law Optional in UPSC include Indian Constitutional Law by M.P. Jain, Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu, Administrative Law by I.P. Massey, International Law and Human Rights by Dr. S. K. Kapoor, Criminal Law: Cases and Materials by K.D. Gaur, etc.

  • The syllabus for Law Optional is enormous, so a candidate should start the preparation at least a year before he plans to sit for the exam. While preparing for the Law Optional. Always keep in mind that more time should be devoted to understanding crucial topics than to memorizing case law names. Previous year questions help a lot in Law Optional to understand the trend of questions asked and the approach a candidate needs to follow. Solving PYQs and attempting ample mocks is the key to cracking the UPSC Mains and optional subjects.

  • Never get discouraged by people who tell you that law is not a scoring optional or related stuff. The optional you choose should be a subject in which you have an inclination and interest. Any optional. When practiced and prepared with full confidence and zeal, awards decent marks. There have been a few candidates who have scored around 145-160 marks in the Law Optional papers. So, have a positive attitude and keep on working hard!

  • It is difficult to prepare the entire Booklist For Law Optional UPSC, but not impossible. Anyone having prior knowledge about the subject and topics can easily do it in 6 months. Just have the right UPSC Preparation Strategy and study plan.

  • The preparation for the Law Optional certainly helps the candidate with GS Paper-2 of the UPSC Mains Exam. However, it must be kept in mind that both papers require a different approach, so a well-read candidate should mentally dissociate the two. Try to keep the GS paper-2 as general as possible. Do not let the legal knowledge of the GS- 2 issues overexcite you in writing answers like a lawyer.

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