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Judicial Review And Judicial Activism In India

Judicial Activism
The Indian Constitution establishes the values of democracy, freedom, and equality and offers a framework for the defense of basic rights. In India, the court has been instrumental in safeguarding these ideals and defending the rights of the populace. The Indian court has a reputation for being aggressive in its interpretation and application of the Indian Constitution. In order to enhance social justice and human rights, the judiciary plays a proactive role in guiding public policy and providing constitutional interpretation.

Judicial Review:
When legislation is passed by the legislature or an executive branch official acts, the judiciary reviews the law to see whether it is constitutional. The followings are the nature of a judicial review in India:
  • Provisions of the Constitution:
    Article 13 of the Constitution calls for judicial scrutiny of legislation passed by the legislature. If a law infringes against any essential rights protected by Part III of the Constitution, the courts may find the law unconstitutional. In order to have their fundamental rights upheld, residents have the option to go directly to the Supreme Court and High Courts under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution. According to the cases Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975) and Minerva Mills v. Union of India (1976), judicial review is also regarded as a fundamental component of the Constitution.
  • Review's purview:
    Judicial reviews in India have a wide purview that includes both legislative and executive branch activities as well as laws established by the legislature. If governmental orders, administrative decisions, or even private decisions infringe fundamental rights, the judiciary may assess their constitutionality.
  • Limitations:
    Although judicial review is a crucial aspect of Indian democracy, it has some restrictions. Government policy decisions are not subject to judicial review, and the judiciary is not empowered to enact legislation. Only laws or actions that violate the Constitution can be overturned by the courts.

In conclusion, judicial review is a crucial mechanism for ensuring that the government functions within the bounds of the Constitution in India. The Indian judiciary has an important role to play in interpreting the Constitution and protecting the rights of citizens, and it is essential that the judiciary uses its power of judicial review judiciously and within its constitutional limits

Judicial Activism in India
The term "judicial activism," which is frequently used to describe the judiciary's propensity to interpret the law in a more liberal and flexible way, refers to this behavior. It refers to the phenomena where judges actively participate in the application and interpretation of the law, frequently going above and beyond the plain sense of the text of the law to uphold and advance the rights of the people. Over the years, judicial activism in India has been the focus of heated disputes.

Historical Evolution of Judicial Activism in India
The Supreme Court of India started to read the Constitution in a more liberal and progressive way in the 1970s, which is when judicial activism in India really began to take off. The Kesavananda Bharati case from 1973 was among the most important ones that signaled the start of judicial activism in India. The Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that the Constitution's fundamental principles were untouchable and could not be changed by the parliament.

The Maneka Gandhi case from 1978 is another noteworthy incident that helped define the growth of judicial activism in India. This ruling was noteworthy because it gave Article 21 more authority and allowed for a broader interpretation of the rights to life and personal liberty. This ruling was noteworthy because it gave Article 21 greater authority and allowed for a broader interpretation of the rights to life and personal liberty.

Additionally, the judiciary actively defended the rights of underrepresented groups including women, minorities, and those with disabilities. The Vishaka case, which took place in 1997, was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court established rules for combating sexual harassment at work. According to the court, sexual harassment at work violates Article 21 of the Constitution's fundamental rights to gender equality, as well as the rights to life and personal liberty.

The Supreme Court ruled in Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985) that the right to a livelihood was a basic constitutional right and that the government could not deny individuals their way of life without making alternative provisions. The Court's concern for the welfare of the underprivileged and disadvantaged groups in society was expressed in this ruling. Similarly to this, the Supreme Court ruled in the Disability Rights case in 2017 that people with impairments have the same rights as everyone else to access public areas and exercise their basic freedoms.

Criticisms of Judicial Activism in India
Although judicial activism in India has been crucial in defending and advancing people's rights, it has also come under fire for a number of different reasons.

Overstepping Constitutional Boundaries: Critics claim that the court has overstepped its constitutional bounds and encroached onto the purview of the government and legislation. They contend that the court should refrain from making policy judgments and instead devote itself to interpreting the law.

In the case of the Delhi diesel car ban, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled that any diesel vehicle with an engine capacity of 2,000 cc or over may not be registered in the National Capital Region (NCR). Due to the judiciary's interference with the policy decisions, this was viewed as a case of judicial overreach.
  • Imposition of values:
    The idea that judicial activism in India breeds judicial authoritarianism and overreach is another critique of the approach. The opponents contend that judges are forcing their own values and ideas on society by using legal interpretations that are at odds with the goals of the Constitution's authors. They contend that judicial activism causes law to be ambiguous since it is frequently difficult to foresee how the courts will apply the law in a specific situation.
  • Lack of expertise:
    Detractors claim that judges lack the knowledge necessary to make competent policy judgments and that their choices may not be supported by reliable economic or social factors.
  • Delay in justice:
    Justice has been delayed as a result of judicial activism because cases may take longer to decide as a result of the judiciary's engagement in political issues. Citizens awaiting a decision in their legal issues may suffer serious repercussions as a result of this delay.
  • Undermining the democratic process:
    Critics contend that judicial activism weakens democracy by permitting judges who are not elected to make choices about public affairs. They contend that representatives who have been elected and are answerable to the public should make policy choices.

Personal Opinion:
Finally, the Indian legal system has been distinguished by judicial activism. Despite the criticism it has received, it is certain that it has been essential in preserving India's legal system and defending citizens' rights. The judiciary's significance in determining India's future is anticipated to increase as the nation continues to struggle with difficult social, economic, and political concerns.

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