The judicial power of the Supreme Court emanates from Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution. It states that, “judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally  demandable, and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

Judicial review is the process by which the court declares any law which goes Against the constitution as void. We have adopted this feature from the United States Constitution.


1)To protect the legality of essential rights under Part III of the Indian Constitution.

2)To authorize the disinterest of organizational achievement.

3)Interrogation of public interest



In the land mark judgment of Keshavanda Bharathi v. State of Kerela, the apex court of India the propounded the doctrine
of basic structure according to which it said that the legislature has power to amend the Constitution, but such
amendments shall not change the basic structure of the Constitution, The Constitutional bench made no attempt to define the basic structure of the Constitution. S.M. Sikri, C.J
mentioned five basic features:

  1. Supremacy of the Constitution.
  2. Republican and democratic form of Government.
  3. Secular character of the Constitution.
  4. Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive
    and the judiciary.
  5. Federal character of the Constitution.

Justice Sikri observed that these basic features are easily distinguishable not only from the Preamble but also from the whole scheme of the Constitution. He further added that the structure was built on the foundation of dignity and freedom of the individual which undoubtedly cannot be amended. It was also observed in that case that the above are only illustrative and not exhaustive of all the limitations on the power of amendment of the Constitution. The Constitutional bench in Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain held that Judicial Review in election disputes was not a
compulsion as it is not a part of basic structure.

Subsequently, in L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India, the Seven-judge Constitutional Bench stated: “that the power of judicial review over legislative action vested in the High Courts under Article 226 and in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution is an integral and essential feature of the Constitution, constituting part of its basic structure”.

In S.P. Sampath Kumar v. Union of India Justice P.N. Bhagwati, C.J., relying on Minerva Mills Ltd. ((1980) 3 SCC 625.) stated that it was well settled and established that judicial review was a basic and essential feature of the Constitution. If the power of judicial review was absolutely eliminated, the Constitution would lose its basic structure and independence. In Sampath Kumar, the court further stated that if a law made under Article 323- A(1) were to exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 without setting up an efficient and effective alternative institutional mechanism for judicial review, it would be violative of the basic structure and hence, outside the constituent power of Parliament.


1) Accountability is an essential part of the rule of law. It is essential for another reason, as in the earlier editions of Dicey, of
course modified in later editions

2) The growth of judicial review is the inevitable response of the judiciary to ensure proper check on the exercise of public power. Growing awareness of the rights in the people; the trend of judicial scrutiny of every significant governmental action and the readiness even of the executive to seek judicial determination of debatable or controversial issues, at times, may be, to avoid its accountability for the decision, have all resulted in the increasing significance of the role of the judiciary. There is a general perception that the judiciary in this country has been active in expansion of the field of judicial review into non-traditional areas, which earlier were considered beyond judicial purview.

3) The Judges have a duty to perform, which is even more onerous to keep the judicial ship afloat on even keel. It must avoid making any ad hoc decision without the foundation of a juristic principle, particularly, when the decision appears to break new grounds. The judgments must be logical, precise, clear, and sober, rendered with restraint in speech avoiding saying more than that, which is necessary in the case.

4) It must always be remembered that a step taken in a new direction is fraught with the danger of being a likely step in a wrong direction. In order to be a path-breaking trend it must be a sure step in the right direction. Any step satisfying these requirements and setting a new trend to achieve justice can alone be a New Dimension


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