While the separation of powers between the three organs i.e. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary has been mandated by the Constitution of India and must be upheld at all costs, given the prevailing scenario the society relies more on judiciary to ensure that justice is done as envisaged and guaranteed by the nation’s constitution. Normally, in a utopian world, the power of lawmaking would lie solely in the hands of the legislature, and such a process would be fair and reasonable. But unfortunate- ly, today’s reality is closer to being dystopian rather than utopian. The idealistic circumstances under which such a division of power was envisaged cannot hold ground in today’s scenario as corruption runs rampant, vested interests are given priority, and deprivation of masses is ignored. Further, the legislative process is more a rule of majority than reason and all this leads to failure in satisfying the ends of justice. In such cir- cumstances, the proactive role of the judiciary in terms of judicial activism is the only remedy and must be so accepted. The term ‘judicial activism’ is an oxymoron because it is not possible for the judiciary to be inac- tive, as the judiciary must always remain active. It has been observed in certain cases that it is imperative for the judge to take upon the role of an activist to uphold the rule of law. However, sometimes this ‘activism’ can turn into judicial overreach, when the limits of judicial activism are crossed. While the separation of powers has been mandated under the Indian constitution at the same time there is a basic need to ensure econom- ic, social and political justice, as stated in the preamble which overrides this strict separation. Often, the judici- ary has to take matters into its own hands in order to ensure that justice is achieved. After all, a bold and active judiciary is the sign of a healthy democracy.
Given the dangerous ramifications of various scams in the past few decades the people continue to have high expectations of the Judiciary especially from the Apex Court of the world’s largest democracy. They hope rather they are confident that it resorts to Judicial Activism and evolves strict guidelines to ensure trans- parency and accountability whether it is conducting of entrance examinations, recruitments, promotions or even the governance on the whole so that none gets deprived of the genuine rights in this nation. It is perti- nent to mention here that Indian judiciary has delivered hundreds of visionary judgments by exercising judicial activism, which would have been completely unimagin- able some years ago. In fact the nation has seen instances of beneficial judicial activism in multiple cases. In this context it would be appropriate to men- tion here that Shibu Soren, a high-profile politician, was convicted of a 1994 murder. Tinsel’s world-famous Sanjay Dutt of Gandhigiri fame was convicted under the Arms Act of 1993, Navjyot Sidhu, an ex-cricketer with a gift from the gab, was convicted of road rage killing committed decades ago. As such despite criti- cism of judicial activism, it cannot be disputed that it has done a great deal to improve the conditions of the masses across the country. Judicial activism has also begun the process of eliminating some occasional aberrations in Judiciary. This can only be furthered by sincere and vocal judicial advocacy, and not by drag- ging the judiciary down in the eyes of the public. The greatest asset and strongest weapon in the armour of the judiciary is the trust that it commands and the faith that it inspires in people’s minds in its capacity to do even-handed justice and keep the scales in balance even, in every case that it has to deal with.
Undoubtedly it has proved time and again that it right- ly deserves the recognition it has achieved. After all, it continues to work towards the collective goal of justice for all Indian citizens.