JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: PROACTIVE
ROLE OF JUDICIARY
• Judicial review is the doctrine under which
legislative and executive actions are subject to
review (and possible invalidation) by the judiciary.
• Judicial review is an example of the separation of
powers in a modern governmental system (where
the judiciary is one of three branches of
• This principle is interpreted differently in different
jurisdictions, which also have differing views on the
different hierarchy of governmental norms.
EXPANSION OF JUDICIAL REVIEW
THROUGH JUDICIAL ACTIVISM
• After the draconian exposition of power by the
Executive and the Legislature during Emergency
the expectations of the public soared high and
the demands on the courts to improve the
administration by giving appropriate directions
for ensuring compliance with statutory and
constitutional prescriptions. Likewise the
judiciary has taken an activist view the
Beginning with the Ratlam Municipality case
12the sweep of Social Action Litigation13 had
encompassed a variety of causes14.
• SAL, a manifestation of judicial activism, has
introduced a new dimension regarding
judiciary's involvement in public
administration16. The sanctity of locus standi
and the procedural complexities are totally sidetracked in the causes brought before the courts
through SAL. In the beginning, the application
of SAL was confined only to improving the lot of
the disadvantaged sections of the society who by
reason of their poverty and ignorance were not
in a position to seek justice from the courts and,
therefore, any member of the public was
permitted to maintain an application for
ORIGIN OF THE TERM “JUDICIAL
• Arthur Schlesinger Jr. introduced the term
"judicial activism" in a January 1947
Fortune magazine article titled "The
Supreme Court: 1947.
• Schlesinger's article profiled all nine
Supreme Court justices on the Court at
that time and explained the alliances and
divisions among them
• . An article by Craig Green, "An Intellectual
History of Judicial Activism," is highly
critical of Schlesinger's use of the term.
DEFINITION OF JUDICIAL ACTIVISM
• Black's Law Dictionary defines judicial
activism as a "philosophy of judicial
decision-making whereby judges allow their
personal views about public policy, among
other factors, to guide their decisions.“
• David Strauss has argued that judicial
activism can be narrowly defined as one or
more of three possible actions: overturning
laws as unconstitutional, overturning
judicial precedent, and ruling against a
preferred interpretation of the constitution.
Judicial activism in india
• Judicial activism is gaining prominence in the
present days. In the form of Public Interest
Litigation (PIL), citizens are getting access to justice.
• Judiciary has become the centre of controversy, in
the recent past, on account of the sudden (Me in the
level of judicial intervention. The area of judicial
intervention has been steadily expanding through
the device of public interest litigation.
• The judiciary has shed its pro-status-quo
approach and taken upon itself the duty to
enforce the basic rights of the poor and
vulnerable sections of society, by pro-gressive
interpretation and positive action.
• Judicial activism refers to the interference of
the judiciary in the legislative and executive
fields. It mainly occurs due to the non-activity
of the other organs of the government.
• Judicial activism is a way through which relief
is provided to the disadvantaged and aggrieved
Areas of judicial activism
• During the past decade, many instances of
judicial activism have gained prominence.
• The areas in which judiciary has become active
are health, child labour, political corruption,
environment, education, etc.
• Through various cases relating to Bandhua
Mukti Morcha, Bihar Under trials, Punjab
Police, etc he judiciary has shown its firm
commitment to participa-tory justice, just
standards of procedures, immediate access to
justice, and preventing arbitrary state action.
• Judicial activism in India acquired
importance due to public interest
litigation. It is not defined in any statute or
• In India, PIL initially was resorted to
towards improving the lot of the
disadvantaged sections of the society who
due to poverty and ignorance were not in a
position to seek justice from the courts.