• Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) refused to treat the Central Vista project as a unique one requiring greater or heightened judicial review.
  • The SC said the government was “entitled to commit errors or achieve successes” in policy matters without the court’s interference as long as it follows constitutional principles.
  • The Central Vista project of New Delhi includes Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, North and South Block, India Gate, National Archives among others.
  • The Indian Constitution adopted the Judicial Review on lines of the American Constitution.


Judicial Review:

  • It is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.
    • In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.
    • Concepts of Law:
      • Procedure Established by Law: It means that a law enacted by the legislature or the concerned body is valid only if the correct procedure has been followed to the letter.
      • Due Process of Law: It is a doctrine that not only checks if there is a law to deprive the life and personal liberty of a person but also ensures that the law is made fair and just.
      • India follows Procedure Established by Law.
  • It is the power exerted by the courts of a country to examine the actions of the legislatures, executive and administrative arms of government and to ensure that such actions conform to the provisions of the nation’s Constitution.
  • Judicial review has two important functions, like, of legitimizing government action and the protection of constitution against any undue encroachment by the government.
    • Judicial review is considered a basic structure of the constitution (Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain Case 1975).
    • Judicial review is also called the interpretational and observer roles of the Indian judiciary.
    • Suo Moto cases and the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), with the discontinuation of the principle of Locus Standi, have allowed the judiciary to intervene in many public issues, even when there is no complaint from the aggrieved party.
  • Types of Judicial Review:
    • Reviews of Legislative Actions:
      • This review implies the power to ensure that laws passed by the legislature are in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.
    • Review of Administrative Actions:
      • This is a tool for enforcing constitutional discipline over administrative agencies while exercising their powers.
    • Review of Judicial Decisions:
      • This review is used to correct or make any change in previous decisions by the judiciary itself.
  • Importance of Judicial Review:
    • It is essential for maintaining the supremacy of the Constitution.
    • It is essential for checking the possible misuse of power by the legislature and executive.
    • It protects the rights of the people.
    • It maintains the federal balance.
    • It is essential for securing the independence of the judiciary.
    • It prevents tyranny of executives.
  • Problems with Judicial Review:
    • It limits the functioning of the government.
    • It violates the limit of power set to be exercised by the constitution when it overrides any existing law.
      • In India, a separation of functions rather than of powers is followed.
      • The concept of separation of powers is not adhered to strictly. However, a system of checks and balances have been put in place in such a manner that the judiciary has the power to strike down any unconstitutional laws passed by the legislature.
    • The judicial opinions of the judges once taken for any case becomes the standard for ruling other cases.
    • Judicial review can harm the public at large as the judgment may be influenced by personal or selfish motives.
    • Repeated interventions of courts can diminish the faith of the people in the integrity, quality, and efficiency of the government.


  • With the power of judicial review, the courts act as a custodian of the fundamental rights.
  • With the growing functions of the modern state, judicial intervention in the process of making administrative decisions and executing them has also increased.
  • When the judiciary surpasses the line of the powers set for it in the name of judicial activism, it could be rightly said that the judiciary then begins to invalidate the concept of separation of powers set out in the Constitution.

Making laws is the function and duty of the legislature, to fill the gap of laws and to implement them in a proper manner is responsibility of the executive. So that the only work remaining for the judiciary is interpretations. Only a fine equilibrium between these government bodies can sustain the constitutional values.

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