Question: Starting from inventing the ‘basic structure’ doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy.
Answer: Judicial activism can be defined as the proactive role played by the judiciary in carrying out reforms in judicial structure as well as democratic institutions. The institution itself takes responsibility with or without any need of appeal under judicial activism.
Role played by judicial activism
- Judicial review
Judicial review is the measure to check constitutional validity of a law made by legislature. The judiciary is empowered to check validity of the law so that legislative supremacy can be halted. This will also ensure that majority based opinions that violate constitution do not go unchallenged.
- Protection of fundamental rights
Protection of basic rights of individual is at the core of democratic structure in India. Any attempt to change the nature of fundamental rights, such as basic structure, has been prevented by active role of judiciary. Judicial institutions are proactive when it comes to fundamental rights.
PILs are usually filed by individuals that aims to bring notice of certain violation of public welfare. Judiciary promote use of PILs so that any discrepancies in dispensing natural justice are corrected.
- Suo moto actions
Judiciary is empowered to take actions on its own, known as suo moto. If the institution thinks that certain issue needs attention but is unable to get due to political factors, it takes responsibility of resolving the issue.
- Free legal service
Individuals must be given proper legal representation so that they can get proper justice. To ensure that, judiciary initiated National Legal Service Authority to provide natural justice to every eligible individual. Lok Adalat were set up to provide justice faster and cheaper way.
Thus, judiciary has a major role in evolving legal system in India. Their active participation has enabled growth of an environment for dispensing natural justice.