Its emergence can be traced back to 1893 when Justice Mehmood of Allahabad High Court delivered a dissenting judgment. It was a case of under trial who could not afford to engage a lawyer.So the question was whether the court could decide his case by merely looking his papers. Justice Mahmood held that the pre-condition of the case being heard would be fulfilled only when somebody speaks. Judicial Activism is not a distinctly separate concept from usual judicial acitivities.The word activism means being active doing thing with decision and activist is the one who favors intensified activities.
Judicial policy making can be either an activity in support of legislative or executive policy choices or in opposition to them. But the latter one is usually referred to as judicial activism.
The essence of true judicial activism is the rendering of decision which are in tune with the tempo the time. It furthers the cause of social change or articulates concept such as liberty, equality or justice.
It has to be an arm of social revolution. An activist judge activates the legal mechanism and makes it play a vital role in socio-economic process. The main causes for the emergence of judicial activism is expansion of rights of hearing in the administrative process, excessive delegation without limitation, expansion of judicial control over discretionary powers, expansion of judicial review over administration, promotion of open government, indiscriminate exercise of contempt power, exercise of jurisdiction when non-exist, over extending the standard rules of interpretation in its search to achieve economic, social and educational objectives and passing of orders which are unworkable.