This article is written by Gaurav Purohit, a student of Amity University Rajasthan.


The Judiciary assumes a significant role in maintaining and promoting the rights of residents in a nation. The dynamic function of the judiciary in maintaining the rights of residents and protecting the constitutional and general set of laws of the nation is known as Judicial Activism. This involves, in some cases exceeding into the territories of the executive. Candidates should realize the judicial overreach is an aggravated version of Judicial Activism.

Judicial Activism is viewed as an achievement in liberalizing access to justice and giving relief to the disadvantaged group, on account of the endeavors of judges V R Krishna Ayer and P N Bhagwati.

The Black’s Law Dictionary characterizes judicial activism as Judicial Philosophy that inspires judges to depart from the conventional precedents in favor of reformist and new social policies.

Methods of Judicial Activism

There are different strategies for Judicial Activism that are continued in India. They are: 

  • Judicial Review: power of judicial activism of the judiciary to interpret the constitution and to announce any such law or order of the legislature and executive void, if that it discovers them in contradictory to the Constitution) 
  • PIL: The individual filing the petition must not have any private interest in the litigation, this petition is acknowledged by the court just if there is an interest of large public included; the aggrieved party doesn’t file the petition.
  • Constitutional Interpretation which is the Supreme Law of Land.
  • Supervision of higher Courts on Subordinate Courts
  • Access to the international statute for ensuring Constitutional Rights.

Importance of Judicial Activism  

  • It is a viable instrument for maintaining residents’ privileges and implementing principles of the constitution when the legislature and executive fail to do so. 
  • Residents have the judiciary as the last hope in securing their rights when all other doors are closed. The Indian Judiciary has been considered as the gatekeeper and defender of the Indian Constitution. 
  • There are provisions in the constitution itself for the judiciary to embrace a proactive job. Article 13 read with Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution gives the power of the judiciary to the higher judiciary to announce any executive, legislature, or administrative’s action void if it is in contradiction with the Constitution. 
  • As per specialists, the move from locus standi to public interest litigation made the judicial process more participatory and democratic. 
  • Judicial activism counters the feeling that the judiciary is a spectator.


  • In 1979, the Supreme Court of India decided that undertrials in Bihar possessed as of now served time for more period than they would have, had they been convicted. 
  • Golaknath case: The inquiries, for this case, were whether the amendment comes under the definition of law under article 13 and can the Fundamental Rights can be amended or not. SC mollified that Fundamental Rights are not agreeable to the Parliamentary restriction as expressed in Article 13 and that to amend the Fundamental rights another Constituent Assembly would be required. Likewise expressed that Article 368 gives the system to amend the Constitution yet doesn’t present on Parliament the power to amend the Indian Constitution. 
  • Kesavananda Bharati case: This judgment characterized the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. The SC held that although no part of the Constitution, including Fundamental Rights, was beyond the Parliament’s amending power, the “basic structure of the Constitution couldn’t be repealed even by any constitutional amendment. This is the basis in Indian law where the Judiciary can strike down an amendment passed by Parliament that is in abrogation or violation of the basic structure of the Constitution of India.
  • In the 2G scam, the SC dropped 122 telecom licenses and range assigned to 8 telecom organizations because the process of allotment was imperfect and it was flawed. 
  • The Supreme Court revealed a sweeping prohibition on fireworks in the Delhi – NCR region with specific exemptions in 2018. 
  • The SC conjured terror laws against alleged money launderer criminal Hasan Ali Khan.

Advantages of Judicial Activism

  • Judicial Activism sets out a provision of balances and controls to different parts of the public authority. It emphasizes required innovation via a solution. 
  • In situations where the law neglects to build up a balance, Judicial Activism permits judges to utilize their judgment. 
  • It places trust in appointed authorities and gives bits of knowledge into the issues. The oath of bringing justice to the nation by the Judges doesn’t change with judicial activism. It just permits judges to do what they see fit inside justified rationalized limits. In this way demonstrating the instilled trust and confidence is placed in the justice framework and its decisions. 
  • Judicial Activism causes the legal executive to keep a check the abuse of power and authority by the state government when it meddles or interferes and harms the resident or citizens. 
  • In the issue of the larger part, It helps address issues quickly where the lawmaking body gets stuck in taking decisions.

Disadvantages of Judicial Activism

  • Initially, when it outperforms its capacity to stop and abuse or maltreatment of power by the public authority. As it were, it restricts the working of the public authority. 
  • It abuses the constraint of power set to be practiced by the constitution when it supersedes any current law. 
  • The legal opinions of the adjudicators once taken for any case turns into the norm for administering different cases. 
  • Judicial activism can hurt general society everywhere as the judgment might be affected by any personal bias or selfish intentions. 
  • Repeated interference of courts can reduce the confidence of the individuals in the trustworthiness, quality, and productivity of the public authority.


Judicial Activism is the role played by the Judiciary to maintain the lawful and constitutional rights of the residents. Judiciary Exercises activities its own power to execute or strike down the laws and decides that encroaches or infringes the privilege of the residents or is to benefit the general public everywhere, whatever the case might be. Judiciary has gained their power with judiciary activism as the adjudicators can take up issue suo-moto any place they believe that constitutional laws are being abused and violated, in any case, with judicial restraint, a similar judiciary needs to abide by the executive who is given the sole power to administer for the general society.

Judicial activism is an item created exclusively by the legal authorities and not supported by the Constitution.  When the legal executive surpasses the line of the powers set for it for the sake of legal activism, it very well may be properly said that the judiciary at that point starts to negate the idea of separation of power set out in the Constitution. If judges can openly choose and settle on laws of their decisions, it would not just conflict with the guideline of separation of powers yet will bring chaos and confusion in the law as each judge will begin composing his laws as per his prevailing fads and quirks. Judiciary exercise must be respected to keep a proper balance. 

Making laws is the capacity and obligation of the lawmaking body, to fill the gaps of laws and to execute them appropriately. So that’s the only work remaining for the judiciary wing is interpretations. Only a fine balance between these administration bodies can support the constitutional values.

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