A Decade of Decay: Supreme Court serves a self-selecting elite instead of standing up for the Constitution and people.

Alok Prasanna Kumar of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy  in this must read EPW piece:

The Supreme Court of India enters a new decade with its reputation as an independent constitutional court in tatters. It has wilted under the gaze of intense public scrutiny over its actions. In the last few years, it has been called upon to check the unconstitutional excesses of a majoritarian government with a full majority in Parliament, but failed again and again. The only comparable decade is perhaps 1970 to 1979, when the Court was riven internally and succumbed to external pressure in the face of another strong executive government.

In this column, I examine the Supreme Court’s decade of decay to understand where it has all gone so wrong with the Court through two major themes that are fundamental and linked to the Court’s constitutional role: the questioning of the union government’s actions and the appointment of judges.

Instead of an exhaustive survey of all the cases decided by the Court, I have chosen two representative incidents at either end of the decade for each theme to try and map the Court’s trajectory. The Supreme Court, I argue, has fallen into the grip of a self-selecting elite that is more concerned with perpetuating its hold on the Court and the judiciary at large, instead of standing up for the Constitution and people.


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