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Taking Justice Outside the Courts: Judicial Activism in India

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Judicial activism has emerged as a powerful mechanism of social change in India. Several judges have re-interpreted court procedures and evolved what has come to be known as Public Interest Litigation to empower ordinary citizens to write a letter and draw the attention of the apex court. The impact has been phenomenal. Judicial action initiated through these written petitions have given relief to a wide variety of cases, giving justice to the weaker sections and even taking action against political corruption and unaccountability. This article describes the genesis of judicial activism and its impact upon the criminal justice system. Some shortcomings and what this portends for the future are also discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Criminal Justice, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2001


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