As we study Civics and Constitution in class 8, the term ‘judicial activism' often crops up in discussions related to the Indian Judiciary. But what exactly is it? Simply put, judicial activism refers to the judiciary's active role in interpreting and enforcing the law, even in cases where the Constitution or the existing laws are silent or unclear. In this blog, we will take an in-depth look at judicial activism, its implications, and its significance in Indian democracy.
Types of Judicial Activism
There are two types of judicial activism- positive and negative. Positive judicial activism refers to judicial intervention in the policy domain of the legislature, whereas negative judicial activism aims to restrain the Executive's arbitrary power. For instance, the 2G spectrum case is a vivid example of positive judicial activism, while the Sunanda Pushkar case is a classic instance of negative judicial activism.
Examples of Judicial Activism
Judicial activism plays a crucial role in preserving and strengthening Indian democracy. The landmark judgments like Golaknath, Keshvananda Bharati, and Maneka Gandhi case are some of the most well-known illustrations of judicial activism in India. These judgments have expanded the rights and freedoms of citizens, reinforced the rule of law, and helped in building institutional checks and balances.
Pros and Cons of Judicial Activism
While judicial activism has played a significant role in shaping Indian democracy, it also has some drawbacks. On the one hand, it promotes accountability, transparency, and constitutional governance. On the other hand, some people view it as a violation of the separation of powers, legislative supremacy, and federalism. Also, sometimes, judicial overreach can lead to micromanagement by the court, hampering the functioning of the government.
Relationship between Judicial Activism and Indian Democracy
Judicial activism holds enormous significance in further strengthening Indian democracy. It acts as a watchdog for safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens, enforcing the rule of law, and securing accountability. The judiciary acts as a crucial counterbalance to the legislature and the executive, ensuring that they function within their constitutional limits. The judiciary is an independent institution that can hold the government accountable and ensure that justice is served, regardless of the citizens' political affiliations.
Judicial activism is, without a doubt, a crucial aspect of Indian democracy. It promotes transparency, accountability, and constitutional governance. While it has some setbacks, it plays a significant role in preserving and strengthening democratic values. Therefore, it is essential for students studying Civics and Constitution to understand the concept of judicial activism in its entirety. It helps them to interpret and appreciate the judiciary's role better and to comprehend the essence of democratic institutions.