JUDICIAL ACTIVISM IN INDIA: A CATALYST FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

Prerna Deep
Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, New Delhi


The Supreme Court of India is entrusted to be the Custodian of the Constitution of India. It is the judicial obligation of the Court to safeguard the rights of individuals guaranteed by the Constitution. This paper puts forth the changing role of Judiciary and the journey it embarked from mere interpreter of law and established system to a catalyst of social change.  Judicial Activism can be seen as the active role that Judiciary plays to promote justice. Deliverance of justice is the basic function of the Judiciary and must be achieved. Martin Luther King Jr.[1] rightly said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It highlights the expending role of judiciary in fulfilling the vacuum created by passive performance of other agencies and organs. 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.”[2] This paper examines the evolution of judicial activism in India, its multiple reasons, dimensions and tendencies in Indian perspective. It gives a brief account of International perspective on Judicial Activism.  Lastly, it diverts the reader to the merits and criticism keeping the above context in mind.

[1]Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]

[2] “Takings Clause Jurisprudence: Muddled, Perhaps; Judicial Activism, No” DF O’Scannlain, Geo. JL & Pub. Pol’y, 2002


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