Q. Define judicial activism and its implications in India.


Short answer type: (4-5 marks)
Judicial activism is a philosophy of judicial decision-making whereby judges allow their personal views about public policy, among other factors, to guide their decisions.

Judicial activism in India implies the authority of the Supreme Court and the high courts, to declare the regulations unconstitutional and void if they breach, or if the legislation is incompatible with one or more of the constitutional clauses.

During the first decade of our independence, judiciary showed some sort of hesitance in applying this concept. The evolution of this concept can be understood more properly with the help of following cases:

In Hussainara Khatoon v. home secretary, state of Bihar, the inhuman and barbaric conditions of the under trial prisoners reflected through the articles published in the newspaper. Many prisoners who were under trial had already served the maximum persecution without being charged for the offense. A writ petition was filed by an advocate under article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The apex court accepted it and held that right to speedy trial is a fundamental right and directed the state authorities to provide free legal facilities to the under-trial inmates so that they could get justice, bail, or final release.

In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, the court exercised its epistolary jurisdiction, and a letter written by a prisoner was treated as a petition. The letter supposed that the head warden atrociously inflicted pain and assaulted another prisoner. The Court stated that the technicalities cannot stop the court from protecting the civil liberties of the individuals.

In Kesavananda Bharati ... V. State Of Kerala And Anr, the SC propounded the basic structure doctrine and held that there is implied restrictions on the Constitutional amending powers of the Parliament.

In Christian Medical College, Vellore & Others versus Union of India and Others: The Supreme Court barred the states from conducting separate entrance exams for medical courses and ruled that undergraduate admissions to medical courses can only be done through the NEET.

In the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association V. Union of India, 2016, the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, and the 99th constitutional amendment was declared unconstitutional, since it was undermining the independence of judiciary.


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