Which of the Following is the Criticism of Judicial Activism in the Passage? - Legal Reasoning


Direction: The passage given below is followed by a set of question. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

It is very difficult to trace the origin of judicial activism in India. Since the judiciary has come to be recognized as an independent and separate organ of the Government under the Constitution of India, it would be prudent to scan the period subsequent to 1950 for tracing the origin. However, there are a few instances even prior to that period, where certain selected judges of High Courts established under the Indian High Courts Act, 1861 exhibited certain flashes of judicial activism. Way back in 1893, Justice Mahmood of the Allahabad High Court delivered a dissenting judgment that sowed the seed for judicial activism in India. In that case which dealt with an under trial who could not afford to engage a lawyer, Justice Mahmood held that the pre-condition of the case being heard would be fulfilled only when somebody speaks.

At the outset, it has to be stated that there is no precise definition of judicial activism accepted by one and all. However, there is a widely accepted notion that it is related to problems and processes of political development of a country. In other words, judicial activism deals with the political role played by the judiciary, like the other two branches of the State, the legislature and the executive. An eminent Indian jurist defines judicial activism in the following words: Judicial Activism is that way of exercising judicial power which seeks fundamental recodification of power relations among the dominant institutions of State, manned by members of the ruling classes.

The same authority goes on to add that judicial activism is the use of judicial power to articulate and enforce counter-ideologies which when effective initiates significant re-codifications of power relations within the institutions of governance. An analysis of the above attempt by Upendra Baxi to define judicial activism shows that activism of the judiciary pertains to the political role played by it, like the other two political branches. The justification for judicial activism comes from the near collapse of responsible government and the pressures on the judiciary to step in aid which forced the judiciary to respond and to make political or policy-making judgments.

Judicial Activism and judicial restraint are the terms used to describe the assertiveness of judicial power. The user of these terms presumes to locate the relative assertiveness of particular courts or individual judges between two theoretical extremes. The extreme model of judicial activism is of a court so intrusive and ubiquitous that it virtually dominates the institutions of government. The Encyclopedia of the American Constitution states that the uses of judicial restraint are not entirely uniform. Often the terms are employed non-committally i.e., merely as descriptive short hand to identify some court or judges as more activist or more restrained than others. In this sense, the usage is neither commendatory nor condemnatory.

These expressions viz., judicial activism and judicial restraint are used from the angle of the personal or professional view of the right role of the Court. Accordingly, the courts may be condemned or commended for straying from or for conforming to that right role. In the U.S.A., in more than two centuries of judicial review, superintended by more than one hundred justices who have served on the Supreme Court and who have interpreted a constitution highly ambiguous, in much of its text, consistency has not been institutional but personal. Individual judges have maintained strongly diverse notions of the proper or right judicial role.

Which of the following is the criticism of judicial activism in the passage?


  • Domination of the institution of government by the judiciary

  • Non-separation of power between the government and the judiciary

  • Breach of duty by the government

  • Partial collapse of responsible governance



Domination of the institution of government by the judiciary.


According to the 4th paragraph the extreme model of judicial activism is of a court so intrusive and ubiquitous that it virtually dominates the institutions of government.

So domination of the institution of government by the judiciary is the correct answer.

Concept: Important Court Decisions (Entrance Exams)
  Is there an error in this question or solution?

      Forgot password?
Use app×