Define Judicial Review with special reference to the classification given by Justice Syed Shah Mohamed Quadri. Describe the importance and scope of Judicial Review.

The doctrine of judicial review originated and developed in the USA. It was propounded for the first time in the famous case of Marbury versus Madison (1803) by John Marshall, the then chief justice of the American Supreme Court.

In India, on the other hand, the Constitution itself confers the power of judicial review on the judiciary (both the Supreme Court as well as High Courts). Hence, the power of judicial review cannot be curtailed or excluded even by a constitutional amendment.

Justice Syed Shah Mohamed Quadri has classified the judicial review into the following three categories:

  • 1. Judicial review of constitutional amendments.
  • 2. Judicial review of legislation of the Parliament and State Legislatures and subordinate legislations.
  • 3. Judicial review of administrative action of the Union and State and authorities under the state.

Importance of Judicial Review

Judicial review is needed for the following reasons:

  • (a) To uphold the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution.
  • (b) To maintain federal equilibrium (balance between the Centre and the states).
  • (c) To protect the Fundamental Rights of the citizens.

In India it is the Constitution that is supreme and that a statute law to be valid, must be in conformity with the constitutional requirements and it is for the judiciary to decide whether any enactment is constitutional or not.

The founding fathers very wisely, therefore, incorporated in the Constitution itself the provisions of judicial review so as to maintain the balance of federalism, to protect the Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Freedoms guaranteed to the citizens and to afford a useful weapon for availability, availment and enjoyment of equality, liberty and Fundamental Freedoms and to help to create a healthy nationalism. The function of judicial review is a part of the constitutional interpretation itself. It adjusts the Constitution to meet new conditions and needs of the time.

Scope of Judicial Review

The constitutional validity of a legislative enactment or an executive order can be challenged in the Supreme Court or in the High Courts on the following three grounds.

  • (a) it infringes the Fundamental Rights (Part III),
  • (b) it is outside the competence of the authority which has framed it, and
  • (c) it is repugnant to the constitutional provisions.

From the above, it is clear that the scope of judicial review in India is narrower than what exists in the USA, though the American Constitution does not explicitly mention the concept of judicial review in any of its provisions. This is because, the American Constitution provides for ‘due process of law’ against that of ‘procedure established by law’ which is contained in the Indian Constitution.


PaperAPPSC Group 1 Mains 2020 – Paper III: Polity, constitution, Governance, Law, and Ethics
Question1 (b) Define Judicial Review with special reference to the classification given by Justice Syed Shah Mohamed Quadri. Describe the importance and scope of Judicial Review.
SourceIndian Polity by M Laxmikanth
ChaptersJudiciary – Judicial Review


The question and answer both are very precise. The question is asked directly from Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth book. Precise answer gets you more marks for these kinds of questions.