India’s Democracy at 70: The Disputed Role of the Courts

Issue Date July 2017
Volume 28
Issue 3
Page Numbers 96-105
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India’s Supreme Court has played the role of a countermajoritarian check but has also flirted with populism. This essay examines three aspects of India’s higher judiciary: the struggle between the judiciary and the other branches over “custody” of the Constitution; the question of judicial independence and who has the right to appoint judges (in India, uniquely, the higher courts claim a right to have the final say on filling their own vacancies); and the charges against the Supreme Court of judicial activism, which are tied to the institution of Public-Interest Litigation and regular judicial forays into the executive and legislative domains.

About the Author

Ronojoy Sen is senior research fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies and the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court (2010). In 2009, he was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, in Washington, D.C.

View all work by Ronojoy Sen