Supreme Court on Judicial Review – Quotes

I am of the view that if there is one feature of our Constitution which, more than any other, is basic and fundamental to the maintenance of democracy and the rule of law, it is the power of judicial review and it is unquestionably, to my mind, part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Of course, when I say this I should not be taken to suggest that however effective alternative institutional mechanisms or arrangements for judicial review cannot be made by Parliament. But what I wish to emphasise is that judicial review is a vital principle of our Constitution and it cannot be abrogated without affecting the basic structure of the Constitution. If by a Constitutional amendment, the power of judicial review is taken away and it is provided that the validity of any law made by the legislature shall not be liable to be called in question on any ground, even if it is outside the legislative competence of the legislature or is violative of any fundamental rights, it would be nothing short of subversion of the Constitution, for it would make a mockery of the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States and render the fundamental rights meaningless and futile. So also if a constitutional amendment is made which has the effect of taking away the power of judicial review and providing that no amendment made in the Constitution shall be liable to be questioned on any ground, even if such amendment is violative of the basic structure and, therefore, outside the amendatory power of Parliament, it would be making Parliament sole judge of the constitutional validity of what it has done and that would, in effect and substance, nullify the limitation on the amending power of Parliament and affect the basic structure of the Constitution. The conclusion must therefore inevitably follow that clause (4) of the Article 368 is unconstitutional and void as damaging the basic structure of the Constitution.

Supreme Court (Justice P.N. Bhagwati)
Minerva Mills Ltd. & Others vs. Union of India & Others [1981] 1 S.C.R.

Judicial review is undertaken by the Courts… not out of any desire to tilt at legislative authority in a crusader’s spirit, but in discharge of a duty plainly laid upon them by the Constitution. This is especially true as regards the “fundamental rights “, as to which this Court has been assigned the role of a sentinel on the qui vive. While the Court naturally attaches great weight to the legislative judgment, it cannot desert its own duty to determine finally the constitutionality of an impugned statute.”

Supreme Court
State of Madras vs. V.G. Row & Ors. 1952 AIR 196

“The process of judicial review of legislation as laid down by Courts is that the Court will start with the presumption that laws enacted are reasonable. The objective standard is reasonableness. That is why in the law of contract reasonable price is to be ascertained by the Courts. In the law of torts the Courts find out what reasonable care is. In the law of property reasonable conduct is found out by the Courts to avoid evil consequences. Reasonableness is to be judged with reference to the right which is restricted when Article 19 is considered.”

Supreme Court

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