When i read zia mody's 10 judgements that changed India last year, i felt that such a topic had an amazing potential in a UPSC market. I even briefly contemplated writing on that topic. But contemplation took too long it seems. Now Alex Andrews George's - popular in UPSC circles as the founder of clearias.com - IMPORTANT JUDGEMENTS THAT TRANSFORMED INDIA fills that vacuum. While the Zia Mody book was targeted at the general public, this one is dressed up for the aspirant and also covers three times that number of cases. Though the book is unabashedly aimed for the UPSC candidates, any person interested in the subject would find the book handy.
The first thing that struck me was its eye pleasing layout - reminding one of the very bible of UPSC aspirants, Indian polity by Laxmikant. Unlike many GS paper oriented books in the market, this one does not cramp unnecessary information into the pages. The intention of the author was very clear - to assemble the details about various important judgements in a single place in a very easy to read format.
The book majorly covers 30 cases that has influenced indian polity immensely. Each chapter is nicely divided into an introduction, background, arguments, legal issues involved, the judgement, the importance and the impact of the case. Alex Andrews George has used many techniques that you don't normally associate with a book. Techniques like mindmaps generally don't appear in books even though they are frequently adopted by websites and in classroom teachings. The author has included solved questions from previous UPSC papers relating to this topic.
One special feature i think might be extremely useful for those who are writing the mains exam is an arrangement of the cases according to their conflict areas. This would help in quickly glancing over the table and identifying the relevant cases to be mentioned for a particular topic.
Now, to the negatives. At some places i felt that the background could be explained in more detail. A UPSC candidate would be okay with this much details. But someone who is reading it for fun - like i was - might be looking for a bit more. Second point is also related to the first complaint. In some cases, the legal issue appear out of the blue without mentioning it in the background. For example, in M C Mehta case, the first legal issue is 1. Whether letters addressed even to an individual judge is entertainable?
However there was nothing mentioned in the background about a letter. So this could hurt the continuity of the reader. Again, this could affect the casual reader more.
Third thing i found is that web supplements mentioned at the backpage is yet to be updated. I hope it would be updated without much delay.
So final verdict : Extremely happy with the content and the utility of the book. I am sure this book will sell like a hot cake in the market. I hope the suggestions would be incorporated in the coming editions. All the best to the author for new endeavours.
Firstly, it is absolutely a good reference book that adds value to UPSC preparation or any other related exams. It is a brief yet satisfying book that can be understood by laymen, Unlike usual judgement books which rely on thesaurus wordings. The language is simple.
It details about 30 pertinent cases in the history of India very briefly and short notes on (Tables and boxes) more than 90 other important judgements.
Further for UPSC aspirants, I found this book to be in a very structured form which helps in all 3 levels of CSE Prelims, Mains and Interview. For Prelims, the book illustrates concepts through Mindmaps which is very easy to understand. For Mains answer writing this will definitely help both for GS answers and public administration/ pol science optional answers. Each judgement was written in the book in a well-structured form much inclined to UPSC answer format. And also it is providing answers to previous year mains questions from related topics of GS2-paper which a good reference to understand the approach to answer related questions. (UPSC asked I.R. Coelho Case question in GS2 paper in the previous year) And since this book is of hardly 260 pages it is very easy to revise also. For Interview to have a quick reference of polity related cases this comes handy.
The historical/legal background has been adequately explained along with implications.
In short, This book is a highly recommended supplementary material for any competitive examination and also for laymen to have a basic understanding of Judgements that are pertinent in the History of India.
Been with the book for around three days now, and from a primary reading, I should say that the book covers many important topics comprehensively. ClearIAS has been phenomenal in helping UPSC aspirants for many years now by teaching what matters and now the book has again done just that. Kudos to the author and TMH for the collaboration.
This book is going to be in the league of such books which are indispensable for UPSC Preparation in the years to come since there are not many good books available in this topics which are written in a very lucid manner.