Judicial Review

Judicial review is the power of the judiciary to examine the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both the Central and State governments. On examination, if they are found to be violative of the Constitution (ultra vires), they can be declared as illegal, unconstitutional and invalid (null and void) by the judiciary. Consequently, they cannot be enforced by the Government.
  • The phrase ‘Judicial Review’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution. However Article 13 (laws inconsistent or in derogation of any fundamental rights shall be void) expressively provides for the doctrine of judicial review. This power has been conferred on Supreme Court (Article 32) and the High Court (Article 226) that can declare a law unconstitutional and invalid on the ground of contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights.
  • Article 31B saves the acts and regulations included in the Ninth Schedule from being challenged and invalidated on the ground of contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights. Article 31B along with the Ninth Schedule was added by the 1st Constitutional Amendment Act of 1951.
  • In I.R. Coelho case (2007), the Supreme Court ruled that there could not be any blanket immunity from judicial review of laws included in the Ninth Schedule as judicial review is a basic feature of the constitution.
  • The court said that the laws placed under the Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973, are open to challenge in court if they violated Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 or the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

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