From Judicial Activism to Adventurism — The Godavarman Case in the Supreme Court of India


Beginning as a conservative institution in post-independent India, the Indian judiciary has emerged as a more assertive actor. Key legal innovations have helped expand public interest litigation and, with that, the role of the judiciary. The Supreme Court has also established public bodies to directly oversee enforcement of its orders. This potentially trespasses into executive turf. In environmental law, the imprimatur of the Court’s judicial philosophy is most striking in the case of T N Godavarman v Union of India. It demonstrates how institutions selfreflect on their roles, especially in a federal polity. Do the actions of the Supreme Court push the limits of judicial activism? Can they be seen as judicial adventurism? These questions are explored in this case note on Godavarman.

This paper was also published on Research Gate.