How is judicial activism related to the protection of fundamental rights? Has it helped in expanding the scope of fundamental rights? Discuss.

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DAY – 21: Insights Self Study Guide for Prelims + Mains – 2015

24 June 2015

Following Questions are Based on this TIMETABLE


How is judicial activism related to the protection of fundamental rights? Has it helped in expanding the scope of fundamental rights? Discuss. (200 Words)

NCERT – Class XI, Indian Constitution at Work, Chapters 6

  • raju gogula

    The judicial activism in India flourished through Public Interest Litigation(PIL) or social Action litigation(SAL). It has democratised the judicial system by giving not just to individuals but also to the groups access to the court. Hitherto 1973 only aggrieved individuals can approach the court but later on provisions were made to file a case by others on the behalf of aggrieved by the considering the public interest.

    The judicial activism has expanded the scope of fundamental rights as it opened the gate for large number of cases where public spirited citizens and voluntary organisations sought judicial interventions for protection of existing rights, betterment of life of the poor, protection of environment and many other issues in the interest of public. The Hussainara khatoon vs Bihar(1979), Sunil batra vs Delhi admnistartion(1980) ctc. are some of the early PILs.

    Further judicial activism has become an important vehicle through which the idea of rights further expanded and the common rights of society such as clean air, safe drinking water, decent living etc. were assured with greater protection. Hence one can confidently say that the judicial activism played and still playing an important role in protecting and expanding the scope of the fundamental rights.

    • sheshi

      introduction is very good

    • Mee

      u can include judicial review also

  • suchak

    Expand :-

    1.Article 21 – Menka Gandhi case – Due process of law
    2.Directive – Declare RTE as fundamental as constitution have 10 year timeline
    3. PIL after Emergency ( + Fact finding comisison )
    4. Strict Implementation of Judicial review

  • Batman

    Judicial activism refers to judicial rulings based on personal or political consideration rather than on existing laws.In recent years ,courts have been increasingly playing important role in protecting the interests and rights of aggrieved individuals and pronouncing judgement that directly concerns the public in general overcoming the traditional notion on non-interference and self-restraint on the domains falling under the executive branch of government has been overcomes by courts when the issues concern the interest of public and nation as a whole. One such domain has been fundamental rights .

    (a) Courts in recent time have played memorable roles in protection of fundamental rights of the citizens.They have acted as protectors and upholders of Constitutionally granted fundamental rights whenever they have been compromised by executive authority in power .
    (b) The Kesavananda bharati v state of kerala ,Minerva mills vs Union of India etc have been some of these laudable instances when higher courts have come to the rescue of public over violation of their fundamental rights.
    (c) Through the power of judicial reviews , the Supreme Court and High courts have given their valuable time on several occasion in the interest of public in examining the constitutionality of controversial laws challenged by aggrieved parties through PILs for their perceived violation of fundamental rights and freedom of people.The latest one is the landmark judgement by the Supreme Court strucking the controversial section 66A of the IT Act holding that the section violates the freedom of speech and expression enshrined under the Article 19(1) of the Constitution.

    Thus, Judicial activism has played an commendable role in protecting and expanding the scope of fundamental rights. Although ,some critics ,unhappy over judgments not ruled in their favor or parties in such cases they supported , have dismissed this crucial ruling of the Judiciary as interference on executive or breach of the ‘self-restraint’ policy practiced by Judiciary traditionally,nevertheless, the Judiciary has played prominent role in upholding the fundamental rights and protecting the interest of public.

  • Albert jatak

    Only in favor of it has been mentioned, it should also be mention about their over judicial activism where courts arbitrarily poke their nose on the basis of their whims and perceptions, thus diluting the segregation of the independent of the 3 systems without any restraint. and also about the ever increasing misuse and unnecessarily litany of PIL and ever increasing of the ambit of fundamental rights by overly liberal interpretation of FRs.

  • abd

    judicial activism is the innovative interpretation of laws and rules as against the existing understanding and wisdom.It has been expanding the scope of fundamental rights and meaning of public interest with more meaningful and progressive interpretation of policies and laws keeping with the trend of global liberal context.It has been crucial in enforcing directive principles by making govt respond to public aspirations.
    judiciary through public interest litigations(PIL) and suo motu interventions ,writs has opened up the avenues for common people to assert their rights.few examples are-
    1.liberal interpretation of procedure established by law as due process of law by sc in maneka gandhi case,thus unlocking the potential of article 21.
    2.Introduction of cng buses in delhi with public health as central tenet of public interest-right to health
    3.nullifying section 66A of IT ACT which was hitherto acceptable even in judical circles-upheld right to free speech and expression
    4.disqualification of law makers on conviction at lower courts
    5. visakha guidelines against sexual harassment and ban on public smoking are few other progressive intervention on the part of judiciary.By far judicial activism in most of the cases has expanded the reach of FRs in the society and brought immense relief to the people.
    notwithstanding these positive and desirable effects of judicial activism,it has also resulted in few undesirable outcomes with judiciary asserting its dominance with separation of powers and check and balances in indian system being threatened by unrestrained judical activism and at times, overreach.

    judiciary cant fill the void created by executive and legislature forever and it should apply judicial restraint by reminding other organs of govt of its duties and resorting to activism sparingly.

    • MIP

      good answer..

    • gamma

      good examples related to current context

  • pawan prajapati

    judicial activism.

  • Deepak Kumar Pandit

    Judicial activism is a process under which judiciary assumes more broader role in discharging its duty of adjudication, outside the realm of its jurisdiction beyond the role defined by constitution. Thus judiciary evolves into the political role in the nature. It has manifold impact on the political system. It has democratized the judicial system by allowing not individuals but also the group access to the court.
    To the extent it has elaborated the scope of Fundamental right because many marginalized people were unable to go to court even if their fundamental rights were ignored cos they were unable to know how the system work. Some process of Judicial activism—
    1. Process of Public Interest Litigation
    2.ordering the government agencies to inquiry cases directly under SC supervision.
    3.Issuing orders for upholding the directive principles.
    Though the judiciary has some negative connotation too while using this platform because the role of others such as executives and legislature are undermined in case of too much use of this role of Judicial activism by judiciary.

  • adityaka

    The traditional requirement of Locus Standi in India was diluted in 1979 when the Supreme Court(SC) brought in the concept of Public Interest Litigation(PIL). The PIL was used as a novel tool to dispense justice in the larger interest of the Public in general. Judicial Activism is the active participation of the Judiciary in the matters of Executive discretion.

    With the help of PIL the rights of not only individuals but also the rights of the individuals as an integral part of society, and hence the fundamental rights of the society were given a fillip. The expanded interpretation of the Right to Life(A 21) led to the Judiciary protecting the rights of inmates in a prison, protection of the environment, right to a decent living, right to clean and unpolluted air. This judicial Activism ensures Executive accountability and helps in curbing its arbitrariness.

    Furthermore, the protection of Fundamental Rights of the individual as an integral part of society has democratized justice dispensation. Many sections of the society cannot afford to have their Fundamental Rights protected because of the inherent costs involved. PILs allow the Judiciary to increase the scope of justice dispensation and hence the very scope of the Fundamental Rights. By its very nature PILs protect the fundamental rights of society.

    Though there is often the criticism that the introduction of PILs have overburdened the courts and slowed them down, in the larger picture judicial activism goes a long way in maintaining a healthy system of checks and balances against the executive.