Judicial Review under the Indian Constitution

Updated: Sep 13, 2021


The term Judicial review in general means the power of a court to review and potentially strike down an act of legislature as unconstitutional and invalid. The court's force of legal audit has been separated from the standard of balanced governance.

There have also been significant changes in the concept of judicial review since the Constitution of India was enacted.

Judicial Review under the Indian Constitution

The arrangement of governing rules between the law-making body and the leader from one perspective and the legal executive then again gives how mistakes committed by one are corrected by the other and vice versa.

For every civilized and democratic society, it becomes necessary that all the three organs of the State are working in complete harmony. Every organ will undoubtedly act inside its own area. And the entirety of their activities must be tried on the Constitutional and vote based standards.

From a broad perspective, Judicial review also envisions in itself, the power of cognizance over administrative as well as executive actions, abiding on the principles of natural justice.

Additionally, the Supreme Court and the High Courts, also possess the power to review and check the omissions and decisions of public authorities, to ascertain any abuse of power or violation of the principles of natural justice.

Judicial review is different from the right of appeal. An appeal is a statutory right. However, the statutory power of an appellate body such as the High Courts, and the Supreme Court can change or overrule the decision of the lower courts and can re-decide or re-visit the previous verdict.

Contrary to this, in the event of judicial review, the courts have restricted forces. The courts don't go about as a re-appraising position while doing a legal survey. If there should be an occurrence of judicial review, the courts ask how the choice was reached.

The superior courts scrutinize the whole decision-making process and check whether the decision was made lawfully or not. Unlawful decisions cannot be replaced by fresh decisions of the higher courts, but they are rather reverted to the lower courts.

To understand the concept of judicial review, the present module has discussed the position of judicial review in the United States and the United Kingdom. While examining its Constitutional situation in India, the module has likewise broken down its force of investigation in the issue identifying with the State's regulatory and administrative activities.


However, in general, the Kings had their own judges to administer justice.

The commissions of four law and other committees appointed during the years 1834 to 1947, give proper structure to then the justice system in India.

Judicial Review under the Indian Constitution

In India, the judiciary is the guardian of the Indian Constitution, the democratic atmosphere and individuals fundamental rights. An independent and impartial judiciary fights against Legislative Arbitrariness. Indian judiciary is empowered with the power of judicial review.

The Constitution of India layout provisions for judicial review through Articles 13, 32, 131-136, 143, 226 and 246. The power of judicial review includes in its ambit the actions of the Executive as well as statutes passed by the Parliament of India.

According to Dr B. R. Ambedkar, the provisions for judicial review, in particular, the writ jurisdiction would provide quick relief to the individuals against the abridgement of fundamental rights.

In A.K.Gopalan v State of Madras, the court held that the Constitution is supreme and every statute has to conform with the constitutional requirements. Moreover, the binding duty of the courts is to decide whether any law or statute is constitutional or not.

The Supreme Court in State of Madras v Row stated that the Indian Constitution provides express provisions for judicial review of legislation. The determination of the constitutional validity of any impugned statute is the foremost responsibility of the Court.

Justifying judicial review, in S.S. Bola v B. D. Sardana Sharma, Justice Ramaswami held that the founding fathers wisely added the provision of judicial review for maintaining federalism, protecting fundamental rights, and strengthening the concept of liberty and equality in India.

The court held that the Chief justice of India should play an active and major role in the process of appointment of judges of the High court