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Judicial Review UPSC NOTE


Judicial Review

  • Judicial review in India is a process by which the Supreme Court and the High Courts of India examine, determine and invalidate the Executive or Legislative actions inconsistent with the Constitution of India.

  • The Constitution of India explicitly provides for judicial review through Articles 13, 32, 131 through 136, 143, 226 and 246.

  • Judicial review is one of the checks and balances in the separation of powers, the power of the judiciary to supervise the legislative and executive branches and ensure constitutional supremacy.

  • The Supreme Court and the High Courts have the power to invalidate any law, ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage that has the force of law and is incompatible with the terms of the Constitution of India.

  • Since Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1970), the courts can invalidate any constitutional amendments if they infringe on the Basic Structure of the Constitution of India.

  • Frequently, judicial review is used to protect and enforce the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in the Constitution. 

  • Judicial review has two important functions, like, of legitimizing government action and the protection of constitution against any undue encroachment by the gov­ernment.

  • Judicial review is considered a basic structure of the constitution (Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain Case 1975).

  • Judicial review is also called the interpretational and observer roles of the Indian judiciary.

  • To a lesser extent, judicial review is used in matters concerning legislative competence concerning the centre-state relations.

  • Suo Moto cases and the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), with the discontinuation of the principle of Locus Standi, have allowed the judiciary to intervene in many public issues, even when there is no complaint from the aggrieved party.

Some provisions in the constitution supporting the process of judicial review are:

  • Article 13 declares that any law which contravenes any of the provisions of the part of Funda­mental Rights shall be void.

  • Articles 32 and 226 entrusts the roles of the protector and guarantor of fundamental rights to the Supreme and High Courts.

  • Articles 131-136 entrusts the court with the power to adjudicate disputes between individuals, between individuals and the state, between the states and the union; but the court may be required to interpret the provisions of the constitution and the interpretation given by the Supreme Court becomes the law honoured by all courts of the land.

Importance of Judicial Review:

  • It is essential for maintaining the supremacy of the Constitution.

  • It is essential for checking the possible misuse of power by the legislature and executive.

  • It protects the rights of the people.

  • It maintains the federal balance.

  • It is essential for securing the independence of the judiciary.

  • It prevents tyranny of executives.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Judicial Review UPSC NOTE
Judicial Review UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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