General Studies Paper 2 (Indian Polity & Constitution)
Question:- 120. Give a critique of the evolution of the concept of ‘judicial review’ with a special focus on the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Answer in 150 words.
Nov 21, 2022



The judiciary of India is the final interpreter and the guardian of the Constitution. Judicial review is the power of the judiciary to check if the laws made by the legislature or the executive are in accordance with the constitutional values. This prevents the executive and the legislature from acting in an arbitrary manner, maintaining the supremacy of the Constitution, and protecting the rights of the people. In the Indian constitution, Judicial Review is dealt with, under Article 13. Judicial Review implies that the Constitution is the supreme power of the nation and all laws are under its supremacy.


Judicial Review plays an important part in the enforcement of the rights granted under the Indian Constitution.




The Ninth Schedule became a part of the Constitution in 1951, through the 1st Constitutional Amendment. It was created by the new Article 31B, which along with 31A was brought in by the government to protect laws related to agrarian reform and for abolishing the Zamindari system.


It contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts even if it violates the FRs (Fundamental Rights).


Evolution of judicial review w.r.t. 9th Schedule:

  • -Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973): The court introduced a new concept of “Basic structure of the Indian Constitution”
  • -Waman Rao v. Union of India (1981): SC ruled that the amendments which were made in the Constitution after 24th April, 1973 (the date of Kesavnanda Bharti judgement) are open to being challenged on the ground of constitutionality.
  • -I R Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu (2007)/ Ninth Schedule case: The Supreme Court of India ruled that all laws (including those in the Ninth Schedule) would be open to Judicial Review if they violated the basic structure of the Constitution.


The Supreme Court judgment laid that the laws placed under Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973 shall be open to challenge in court if they violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14, 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution. The Judgment ended up the controversy behind the Ninth Schedule largely and was successful to put a bar on political intentions of keeping certain sensitive issues out of the reach of Judicial Review for narrow political gains.




The Ninth Schedule has been used by various governments at Centre and States to provide their citizens with a welfare state. However, there have been times of misuse as well and this is where the judicial review doctrine has protected Indian democracy. The successive judgments of SC have been successful in strengthening the demo­cratic base of the society and bringing into the realm of justice, unfair acts of misuse of the provision of the ninth schedule in the Constitution.