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UPSC Law Syllabus for Civil Services (IAS) Mains Exam 2021 - PDF Download, Important Topics, Weightage

Subhashri Roy
Subhashri RoyUpdated On: September 15, 2021 | UPSC Civil Services

Appearing for UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 and chose Law as the optional subject? This article shall give you an idea of the syllabus of the UPSC Law Syllabus for IAS Mains 2021.

UPSC Law Syllabus

Chose Law as the optional subject for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam 2021? Before kickstarting your preparation for the section, you must have a fair idea of the UPSC Law Syllabus for IAS Mains 2021. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Service Exam (CSE) at the national level to recruit candidates for different Civil Services of India like Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The exam is held in three phases- Prelims, Mains, and Personality Test.

To make it easier for the exam takers, candidates may find the syllabus for IAS Mains Law 2021 that has been provided below in detail. This page shall also give you an idea of the marking scheme of the paper.

UPSC IAS Mains Law Syllabus 2021

Paper I

Constitutional and Administrative Law

Relationship between directive principles, fundamental rights, and fundamental duties

Governor and his powers

Emergency provisions

Constitutional position of the President

Constitution and Constitutionalism: The distinctive features of the Constitution

Constitutional relation with the Council of Ministers

Fundamental rights - Legal Aid; Public interest litigation

Principles of natural justice - Emerging trends and judicial approach

Supreme Court and High Courts:

  • Powers, functions and jurisdiction

  • Appointments and transfer

Centre, States and local bodies:

  • Eminent domain - State property - common property - community property and Local Bodies

  • Administrative relationship among State, Union, and Local Bodies

  • Distribution of legislative powers between the States and the Union

  • Legislative powers, privileges and immunities

Services under the Union and the States:

  • Recruitment and conditions of services; Administrative tribunals Constitutional safeguards
  • Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commissions - Functions and Power
  • Election Commission - Functions and Power

Separation of powers and constitutional governance

Amendment of the Constitution

Delegated legislation and its constitutionality

Ombudsman: Lokayukta and Lokpal

Judicial review of administrative action

Also Read: BMTC Bus Conductor Clears UPSC Service Entrance Exam

​International Law

Nature and definition of international law

Improvement and Protection of the human environment: International efforts

Relationship between international law and municipal law

Territorial jurisdiction of States, extradition and asylum

Law of the sea:

  • Inland waters

  • Contiguous zone

  • High seas

  • Exclusive economic zone

  • Territorial sea

  • Continental shelf

Individuals: Procedures and Human Rights available for their enforcement; Nationality, statelessness

Peaceful settlement of disputes - different modes

Fundamentals of international humanitarian law - contemporary developments and International conventions and

Lawful recourse to force: aggression, self-defence, intervention

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

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

Treaties: Formation, application, termination and reservation

State-sponsored terrorism, international criminal court, International terrorism, hijacking

WTO, TRIPS, GATT, New international economic order and monetary law: IMF, World Bank


Law of Crimes

Preparation and criminal attempt

Offences against the human body

General exceptions

Law of Crimes

Criminal liability General principles: Mens rea in statutory offences, Mens rea and actus reus

Offences against Property


Joint and constructive liability

Offences against public tranquillity

Criminal conspiracy

Vicarious liability including State liability

Plea bargaining

Offences against the State

Emerging trends and Kinds of punishment as to abolition of capital punishment

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 and subsequent legislative developments

Liability based upon strict liability and fault; Absolute liability


Offences against women


Law of Torts

Consumer Protection Act, 1986

False imprisonment


Nature and definition

Joint tortfeasors


General defences




Void, voidable, illegal and unenforceable agreements

Contract of agency

False imprisonment

Quasi- Contracts

Factors vitiating free consent

Contract of indemnity, guarantee and insurance

Malicious prosecution

Performance and discharge of contracts

Nature and formation of contract/E-contract

Law of Contracts and Mercantile Law

Consequences of breach of contract

Standard form contracts

Formation and dissolution of partnership

Sale of goods and hire purchase

1881 Negotiable Instruments Act

1996 Arbitration and Conciliation Act

Also Read: UPSC CSE 2021 Prelims Admit Card to be Out Soon at

Contemporary Legal Developments

, Purpose/Prospects of Information Technology Law Concept including Cyber Laws

Trial by media

Right to Information Act

Public Interest Litigation

Major statutes concerning environmental law

Competition Law- Concept, purpose/ prospects

Intellectual property rights - Concept, types/prospects

Alternate Dispute Resolution - Concept, types/prospects

Candidates can also have a look at the previous year's question papers to get a better understanding of the law syllabus of IAS Mains. The UPSC Law Question Papers (Paper 1 and 2) 2020 have been given below for your reference.

Download UPSC Law Paper I 2020 Question Paper

Download UPSC Law Paper II 2020 Question Paper

UPSC Law Syllabus for IAS Mains Marking Scheme

The UPSC Optional subject list comprises a total of 48 subjects, out of which the candidate is required to choose any one amongst them for both the papers. Each optional subject includes two papers- Paper I and Paper II). Each paper shall be of 250 marks, making it a total of 500 marks for only the Law paper.

Hope the above-mentioned information was helpful. Stay tuned to CollegeDekho to get more updates on exams in various streams.

UPSC Civil Services Previous Year Question Paper

UPSC CS Zoology Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Zoology Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Statistics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Statistics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Statistics Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Sociology Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Sociology Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Psychology Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Psychology Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Physics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Physics Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mathematics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mathematics Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mechanical Eng Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mechanical Eng Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Civil Eng Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Civil Eng Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Agriculture Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Agriculture Paper-2 (Main) 2018


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