What is Judicial Review: Importance, Scope and Types

Find out what is meant by judicial review and why it is important to safeguard the constitution and democracy.

Find out what is meant by judicial review and why it is important to safeguard the constitution and democracy.

Judicial review is the power conferred on the judiciary by the constitution, under which the judiciary can review enactments and executive orders of governments, whether state or central. This doctrine originated in the United States of America where it was put forward in the Marbury Vs Madison case.

The then Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Marshall, originated the idea. However, as mentioned above, it is the Constitution of India itself that grants such power to the judiciary. The right to judicial review belongs to both the supreme courts and the high courts of the land.

The courts also have the power to declare null and void any law passed by the legislature if the law goes against the constitution on which the law cannot be imposed by the government.

How important is judicial review?

  • Judicial review is necessary to uphold the principle of the supremacy of the constitution.
  • The possibility of judicial review prevents the abuse of power by the legislature and the executive.
  • It maintains the balance between the center and the state, thus maintaining the federal balance.
  • The provision protects the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • This provision guarantees the principle of the independence of the judiciary.

Scope of judicial review

Judicial review is not absolute because certain conditions must be met to challenge a law in the Supreme Court or high courts, i.e. a law can only be challenged if:

  • This law violates the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.
  • The said law goes against the provisions enshrined in the constitution.
  • The law that has been enacted is beyond the jurisdiction of the authority that drafted it.

Types of Judicial Review

The supply of judicial review in India has been notoriously divided into three broad categories by Judge Syed Shah Mohamed Quadri.

  • Judicial review of constitutional amendments.
  • Judicial review of legislation by parliament and state legislatures extends to subordinate legislation.
  • Judicial review of union and state administrative actions extending to state authorities.

READ: The President of India: Powers and Responsibilities

READ: Seventh Appendix: State, Union, and Concurrent Lists Explained