Pre-University (CIE) Comparative Government: Specimen Questions with Answers 53 - 53 of 53

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Question 53


Describe in Detail


Examine the significance and meaning of Judicial Review.


  • By judicial review, we mean the power of the judiciary to determine whether a law passed by the Congress, or any law enacted by a state legislature or any provision in the state Constitution or any other public regulation having force of law, is in consonance with the Constitution.
  • If it is not, the Court refuses to give effect to the statute in question. In determining the constitutionally of the legislation, the court is not concerned with the wisdom, experience or policy of legislation. In the words of Chief Justice Marshall, it neither approves nor condemns any legislative policy. Its delicate and difficult office is to ascertain and declare whether the legislation is in accordance with, or in contravention of, the provisions of the Constitution; and having done that its duty ends. Even if the Court considers the Act unwise and harmful to both public and private interests, it is its obligation to sustain the Act provided it is within the delegated power.
  • If a person thinks that the legislature has exceeded its constitutional power in enacting a law, he may challenge the constitutionality of the law in the Court. In deciding the case, the Court interprets the constitution to determine the constitutionality of the Act challenged. This power to interpret the Constitution and determine the constitutionality of a statute is called the power of judicial review.
  • The American Constitution has accepted the principle of judicial review which has made the Supreme Court the most powerful tribunal in the world. Judicial review does not apply only to federal and state statutes. Its scope is wider. The constitution of the states, the treaties made by the federal government and the orders issued by the federal and state executives authorities come within its purview. However, questions of political nature do not fall under its jurisdiction. This has resulted in restoration of public confidence in the Supreme Court.

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