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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Discuss the significance of judicial review in upholding the principles of the Constitution. Provide examples highlighting its role in India's democratic framework. (250 Words)

    16 Apr, 2024 GS Paper 2 Polity & Governance


    • Begin the answer by introducing the Judicial Review.
    • Discuss the significance of judicial review in upholding the principles of the Constitution.
    • Illustrate examples highlighting its role in India's democratic framework.
    • Conclude as per the requirement of keywords.


    Judicial review stands as a cornerstone in upholding the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India. It serves as a mechanism to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution, maintain the delicate balance of power among the organs of the state, and safeguard fundamental rights of citizens.


    Judicial Review Upholding Constitutional Principles Along With Their Examples:

    • Ensuring Constitutional Supremacy:
      • Judicial review empowers the judiciary to review the constitutionality of legislative and executive actions. This ensures that laws and policies conform to the principles laid down in the Constitution.
        • For instance, in Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala (1973), the Supreme Court asserted that the Parliament cannot alter the basic structure of the Constitution, thus affirming its supremacy.
    • Protecting Fundamental Rights:
      • One of the primary functions of judicial review is to protect fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
        • Through landmark judgments like Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India (1978) and K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India (2017), the judiciary has expanded the scope of fundamental rights, ensuring their enforcement against both state and non-state actors.

    Role in India's Democratic Framework:

    • Checking Executive and Legislative Actions:
      • Judicial review acts as a check on the powers of the executive and legislative branches, preventing them from overstepping their constitutional limits.
        • For example, in Indira Gandhi vs. Raj Narain (1975), the Supreme Court declared the election of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as void on grounds of electoral malpractice, asserting the judiciary's role in upholding electoral integrity.
    • Safeguarding Federalism:
      • India's federal structure is preserved through judicial review, as the judiciary adjudicates disputes between the Union and State governments.
        • Cases like State of Karnataka vs. Union of India (1977) have delineated the respective powers of the Centre and States, fostering cooperative federalism.

    Ensuring Accountability and Good Governance:

    • Curbing Arbitrary Actions:
      • Judicial review acts as a deterrent against arbitrary actions by the government, promoting accountability and good governance.
        • In Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan (1997), the Supreme Court laid down guidelines to prevent sexual harassment at workplaces, compelling the government to enact laws for ensuring workplace safety.
    • Promoting Rule of Law:
      • By interpreting laws and ensuring their conformity with the Constitution, judicial review strengthens the rule of law.
        • Notable instances include S. R. Bommai vs. Union of India (1994), where the Supreme Court upheld the principle of secularism and dismissed the imposition of President's rule in states for political reasons.


    Judicial review plays a pivotal role in upholding the principles of the Constitution, ensuring governmental accountability, protecting fundamental rights, and promoting good governance. As India's democratic framework evolves, the significance of judicial review remains indispensable in preserving the ideals of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution.

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