[Answered] What is Judicial activism? Critically analyse the role of judicial activism in Indian democracy.

Introduction: Explain Judicial activism.
Body: Write some significance of judicial activism in Indian democracy.  Also write its issues.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Judicial activism means the proactive role played by the judiciary in the protection of the rights of citizens and in the promotion of justice in the society. In other words, it is the role played by the judiciary to force the other two organs of the government (legislature and executive) to discharge their constitutional duties.

Significance in Indian democracy:

  • Judicial activism acts as a mechanism to curb legislative adventurism and executive tyranny by enforcing Constitutional limits.
  • It helps in upholding faith of citizens in constitution and judicial organs.
  • Judicial activism fills legislative vacuume areas, which lack proper legislation. This help country to meet the changing social needs. E.g. Vishakha guidelines to counter harassment of women at work place.
  • Sometime politicians afraid of taking honest and hard decisions for fear of losing power. Judicial activism helps in plugging such active political lacunae.
  • Judicial activism help in enhancing administrative efficiency and help in good governance.
  • It sometimes helps in balancing powers among various organs of government through judicial control over discretionary powers.
  • Progressive interpretation of law has expanded the rights of the people. g. Right to privacy under Article 21.


  • It destroys the spirit of separation of powers. Thus damage the balances between various organs of government.
  • Judicial activism may lead to inactivity of legislature and executive, leading to running away from duties and responsibilities which they hold for people of India.
  • 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.
  • Judicial interference into the working of a democratically elected executive undermines the mandate of the people reposed in the elected government. For example, the SC struck down NJAC Act in favour of the collegium system.

In India judicial activism has played an important role in keeping democracy alive. Pronouncements like Keshavnanda Bharti case, Minerva Mill Case etc. has helped in keeping all the organs of government in balance and help in keeping society healthy and progressing.

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