[Answered] “Judicial review is an essential aspect of a constitutional democracy, especially India”. Critically examine. Discuss its importance in keeping executives in check.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how Judicial review is an essential aspect of a constitutional democracy and also write some challenges. Explain its importance in keeping executives in check.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Constitution of India mandates judiciary as the interpreter of the constitutional provisions and the authority for adjudication of legal disputes. Judicial review is a process under which executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. 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 when the latter exceed their authority.

Essential aspects of a constitutional democracy:

  • Maintaining the supremacy of the Constitution: The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land. The Supreme Court of India has the supreme responsibility of interpreting and protecting it.
  • Protecting the rights of the people: Supreme Court acts as the guardian protector of the Fundamental Rights of the people. Article 13 declares that the states must not make any laws inconsistent with part III of the constitution violating Fundamental Rights or that take away or abridge Fundamental Rights.
  • It is essential for checking the possible misuse of power by the legislature and executive.

Challenges:

  • Judicial Review is undemocratic in nature. It vests a non-elected judge with the power to invalidate the actions of an elected representative.
  • It is argued by legislators that it lacks the accountability on Judges’ part which the legislator entertains.
  • Judicial activism may lead to inactivity of legislature and executive leading to policy paralysis.
  • The judiciary is neither competent nor responsible for exacting executive accountability. Under the parliamentary system this role falls upon the parliament in general and the Lok Sabha in particular.
  • There are instances where the Judiciary has restrained itself from encroaching on the power of other organs but on the contrary other instances suggest that it knows no limit of intervention.

Important in keeping executives in check:

  • The Supreme Court exercises the power of determining the constitutional validity of all laws. It has the power to reject any law or any of its part which is found to be un­constitutional under the Judicial Review power.
  • It maintains the equilibrium between the centre and state, thereby maintaining federal equilibrium.
  • Judicial review enables judiciary to prevent any tyranny of the executive and ensure democracy. Any attempt to supersede the constitution is limited by judiciary through judicial review.

Effective functioning of executive, judiciary and legislature is important for healthy state of democracy. Maintaining the dignity and respecting the sovereignty of each other would determine the progress of Indian democracy.

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