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The Role Of Judicial Activism Vs. Judicial Restraint In Shaping Constitutional Principles

Tvisha Chopra, University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIPU


The Indian judiciary plays an extremely important role in shaping and safeguarding the constitutional principles. This research paper analyses how two contrarian judicial practices- activism and restraint- impact the very principles of the Indian Constitution.

Judges may read implied rights, strike down unconstitutional laws, and issue directives to uphold fundamental rights. Many landmark cases have been brought forward in this paper to properly examine the concept of judicial activism. However, many critics raise concerns about judicial overreach and undermining the power of the parliament.

Judicial restraint is the exact opposite of judicial activism. In this concept, the power of the judge is, to a great extent, limited to only interpret the written word of law and legislative intent.

This approach promotes stability and respects democratic processes. But critics argue that it might lead to a rigid application of the Constitution, hindering its adaptation and evolution with changing times and might also allow the implementation of outdated and discriminatory laws.

This research paper dives into judicial activism and restraint as tools for bringing justice and shaping the Constitution, together, and separately. There is discussion on many landmark cases and PIL (Public Interest Litigation), which serves as a powerful tool for activism, allowing citizens to seek intervention in cases of social injustice. There is also acknowledgement of various cases which practice both these approaches.

This paper argues for a balanced approach, acknowledging the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. It has also been discovered that there is. The active role of the judiciary in upholding the rights of citizens and preserving the constitutional and legal system of the country is known as judicial activism. Law is, leaving the business of law-making with the legislators and the Their job is merely to say what the executives. A fine line between activism and restraint, which will be seen through various cases and tools of implementation.

Keywords: Judicial Activism, Judicial Restraint, Indian Constitution, Public Interest Litigation (PIL), Landmark Judgments, Constitutional Principles, Social Justice, Democratic Processes, Legislative Intent


Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

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