With India’s government all but paralyzed by scandal, the Supreme Court has taken command of some of the nation’s thorniest issues in what activists hail as an overdue flexing of judicial muscle but critics call an unconstitutional power grab.

In the past month, the court has frozen mining in the corrupt southern iron belt, disbanded an eastern counterinsurgency force, reversed the seizure of northern farmlands for development and begun searching for billions in illicit cash stashed abroad.