Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review

2 minute read
Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review

India’s Judiciary has a balance between Judicial Activism and Judicial Review. In Judicial Activism, judges interpret laws and our Indian Constitution with an emphasis on social justice, sometimes even expanding rights or creating new ones. Whereas, Judicial Review gives the power to Courts to assess laws against the Constitution, hence striking down those found unconstitutional. Therefore, this guarantees the power of the Indian Constitution. Moreover, both are essential for the functioning of a Democracy. However, some debates arise on how far Courts should go in interpreting the law versus leaving policy-making to the Legislature. Read on to learn about the difference between Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review as well as some key points to remember. 

Difference between Judicial Activism and Judicial Review

Additionally, here is the difference between both:

Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review
FeatureJudicial ReviewJudicial Activism
PurposeTo Promote social justice and individual rights beyond the strict letter of the law.To guarantee that laws comply with the Constitution. Moreover, safeguards Fundamental Rights.
ScopeProactive. May initiate action on social issues or identify rights violations.Reactive. Reviews laws or actions challenged as unconstitutional.
Level of InterventionMay strike down laws even if there is a debatable interpretation, or may create new rights not explicitly mentioned in the Indian Constitution.Corrects clear violations of the Indian Constitution.
ExamplesLandmark judgments like the Right to Information or the Right to Food are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. Striking down a law that restricts freedom of speech. 
Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review

Key Points to Remember about Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review

Furthermore, here are the points that one needs to keep in mind:

  • Judicial Review is a core function of the Judiciary hence assuring that laws do not violate the Indian Constitution.
  • Judicial Activism goes beyond review thus proactively protecting rights and shaping social policy through judgements.
  • Judicial Review focuses on legal correctness, while Judicial Activism may consider broader societal needs.

Thus, the line between Judicial Review and Activism can be blurry. Moreover, some argue that a strong Judicial Review is necessary to uphold the spirit of our Constitution.

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Lastly, we hope you liked our blog and gained an understanding of Judicial Activism vs Judicial Review. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity! 

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