Early Cases Of Judicial Activism. The Following Supreme

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The following Supreme Court cases provide a useful insight into the growth and development of judicial activism in independent India.

In the Privy Purse case Madhav Rao Jivaji Rao Scindia Union of India the broad question was whether the President rightly exercised his power in de-recognising the princes. In this case, the court ruled that by virtue of Article 53 of the constitution, the executive power of union vested in the President must be exercised “in accordance with law”. That power was intended to be exercised in aid of, not to destroy, the constitution. An order merely “de-recognizing” a ruler without providing for the continuation of the institution of his rule an integral part of the
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In VC Shukla v Delhi Admin (1980), the court while dealing with the legislative competence of the state to pass a law establishing special courts for dealing with offences committed by persons holding high public office, held such courts to be valid. It also held that the court could strike down an administrative act if bias or mala fides was proved. The court in this case clarified that the theory of “basic structure” would apply only to constitutional amendments and not to an ordinary law passed by the Parliament or the state legislature.

In the Bhagalpur Blinding case(Khatri (II) v State of Bihar, it was held that Article 21 included the right to free legal aid to the poor and the indigent and the right to be represented by a lawyer. It was also held that the right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest must be scrupulously followed.

In Fertilizer Corpn Kamgar Union v Union of India the petitioners of a public enterprise challenged the sale of the plant and machinery of the undertaking, as it resulted in their retrenchment. The Supreme Court held that sale resulting in retrenchment had not violated their rights under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution, and likened it to termination of employment due to abolition of posts. The court ruled that the petitioner did not have the locus standi
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