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1. How has judicial activism in India contributed to the protection and advancement of human rights? Discuss with reference to significant cases. 


  • Human right is a basic right. It is unalienable and ubiquitous. These rights are inherent in every human being and are not granted by the law but rather by virtue of humanity. In 1948, UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) was presented to the world with 30 articles that awarded the first recognition of human rights universally. Indian constitution shields human rights from peril in the form of guaranteed fundamental rights in part III. Supreme Court as a final arbitrator of the constitution is playing a significant role in protecting human rights through its various judgments.


  1. Citizens for Democracy v. State of Assam and others: Supreme Court held that handcuffing and tying with ropes is inhuman and in utter violation of human rights guaranteed under international laws and the laws of the land.
  2. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India: Supreme Court interpreted the right to life and widened its scope and deduced un-enumerated rights such as the “right to live with human dignity”. Supreme Court propounded the theory of “emanation” to make the existence of the fundamental right meaningful and active.
  3. Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan: Apex Court formulated guidelines to prevent sexual harassment in workplaces.
  4. Shayara Bano v. Union of India: Supreme Court declared the practice of Triple Talaq unconstitutional, affirming women’s rights to equality and dignity by providing them legal protection against arbitrary divorce.
  5. NALSA v. UOI: SC recognized the transgender as the third gender and protected their rights.
  6. Naz Foundation v. Govt of NCT: SC decriminalized section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the ground that it goes against articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the constitution.
  7. Laborers working on Salal project v. State of Jammu and Kashmir: Supreme Court held that children below the age of 14 years cannot be employed and allowed to work in the construction process. Court has issued various directions related to child labor.
  8. Gaurav Jain v. Union of India: Supreme Court showed its concern about the rehabilitation of minors involved in prostitution and held that juvenile homes should be used for the rehabilitation of them and other neglected children.
  9. S.P. Gupta v. Union of India: Supreme Court held that any member of the public can approach the court for enforcing the Constitutional or legal rights of those, who cannot go to the court because of poverty or any other disabilities.
  10. Sabarimala Temple entry: Supreme Court allowed woman entry into Sabarimala temple that is of age 10 to 50 years as the devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination.

Historical judgments demonstrate the judiciary’s efforts to uphold and advance human rights. SC effectively used its power of interpretation to broaden the scope of rights, making it easier for everyone to exercise their rights. In addition to defending individual rights, the judiciary’s proactive stance has promoted inclusion and advancement in society.

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