From a budding career in a law firm to providing legal advice to the Indian Army, Avinash Shekhar has come a long way following his selection in the Judge Advocate General department.

Avinash Shekhar is a proud young man. He is one of the few who will get to serve the country through the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department of the Indian Army and still do what he loves and believes in as a law graduate. His name is fourth in the merit list of the JAG Department’s course for law graduates (men’s category). There are only seven such posts for men and three for women between the ages of 21 and 27.

Based in Chennai, Avinash completed his five-year law degree from the School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, and was, till recently, working under one of the partners of a leading law firm. It was one of his colleagues who told him about JAG. “I wasn’t aware of JAG until the notification for application had been announced and a colleague advised me to apply.” He is glad that he went ahead with it as he is among the seven men who were selected out of the few hundred applicants.

What is JAG?

The Judge Advocate General Department, commonly known as JAG, consists of legally qualified Army officers who have knowledge of military law and provide legal help to the military in all aspects. Avinash explains that the selection process for the JAG course is a meticulous exercise and spans five days or more. There is no written examination as such.

Over the course of these five days, the applicants are required to show their merit through a series of practical and perceptive problem-solving, obstacle courses and medical tests. At the end of each day, a group of people are chosen for the next round and the rest are eliminated from the selection process. “It’s like one big reality show,” Avinash says.

The process involves three stages — screening, recommendation and medical test. The candidates have to undergo various tests, after which they are screened and shortlisted for the next level. A series of interviews and physical tests is conducted and candidates are then subject to medicals tests, which is followed by document verification.

Avinash stresses that science was never his cup of tea. He did not want to make the usual choice by taking up engineering or medicine. He attributes his interest in law to his mother, who is a criminologist and was also magistrate in the juvenile court of law. “Though it was my mother who nudged me in this direction, my role model was my maternal grandfather, who passed away a few years ago. I had learnt a lot from him and he remains an inspirational figure for me.”

From Tirunelveli to Thiruvananthapuram and now Chennai, this 25-year-old has everything going his way and he knows that this is only the beginning of greater things to come.

How to join JAG

The Indian Army, every year, releases a notification calling for Law graduates between the ages of 21 and 27 for Short Service Commission (SSC) to the department of Judge Advocate General.

Candidates are required to have a minimum aggregate of 55 per cent in LLB degree – three year course after graduation or five year course after class XII.

The candidate must be registered with the Bar Council of India.

Eligible candidates may apply through plain paper as per the format given in the notification by the Army.

Applications must be sent to Directorate General of Recruiting, Army Headquarters in New Delhi before the deadline.

More details may be found in the official website of the Indian Army, www.joinindianarmy.nic.in.