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The Supreme Court Versus the Constitution

The Supreme Court Versus the Constitution
A Challenge To Federalism

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Pran Chopra - Late of Political Analyst and Former Chief Editor, the Statesman

Other Titles in:
Development Studies

November 2005 | 288 pages | SAGE India

The right to amend the Constitution in India lies with Parliament, when 'meeting in the exercise of its constituent power'. In the last quarter of a century, however, and in an atmosphere of judicial activism in the face of a faltering Parliament and administration, the Supreme Court has gone beyond its role as interpreter of the Constitution to become its arbiter. There is thus a possibility in India's federal structure of an impasse between the Supreme Court and Parliament which cannot be resolved by referring to the Constitution and which poses a serious risk if not resolved.

Editor Pran Chopra defines the problem and presents an overarching analysis. He argues that a great deal is at stake in this situation, including the dynamics of federalism, which makes India possible; the role of the Constitution in holding the polity together; and the future of parliamentary democracy in India. Written against this background, the essays in this volume—contributed by some of India's best-known parliamentarians, jurists, constitutional experts, scholars, administrators, and journalists—present a many-sided discussion of this crucial issue. The topics discussed include:

  • The doctrine of 'basic structure', and the complex responses to and consequences of this doctrine.
  • Judicial review in India, in relation to the superiority of Parliament in the UK and the virtually unlimited scope of judicial review enjoyed by the US Supreme Court.
  • The 'due process of law' and its applicability in India.
  • The electoral system and the threat of majoritarianism.
  • The Supreme Court's creativity in interpreting the Constitution but the continuing absence of clear constitutional principles despite this recent trend.
  • The Court's role as the protector of fundamental rights.

Presented in the form of a debate to which each contributor brings his own particular expertise and point of view—and offers possible solutions—this very readable book constitutes the first full-length discussion of a major issue in contemporary India. It will attract the attention of anyone interested in government, constitutional issues, law and politics in India.

I K Gujral
What Our Past Has Taught Us
Pran Chopra
The Supreme Court Versus the Constitution
N R Madhav Menon
Basic Structure
After Thirty Years

P P Rao
The Constitution, Parliament and the Judiciary
Fali Nariman
`The Doctrine' Versus `Majoritarianism'
Salman Khurshid
The Court, the Constitution and the People
Subhash Kashyap
`The Doctrine' Versus the Sovereignty of the People
S K Dholakia
The Constitution and `Due Process'
Ajay K Mehra
`Due Process' or `Procedure Established by Law'?
P K Dave
Is the `Doctrine' the Obstacle?
R K P Shankardass
Anomalies of the `Doctrine'
A M Ahmadi
Federalism Revisited
Pratap Bhanu Mehta
India's Judiciary
The Promise of Uncertainty

K C Pant
A `Loose' Doctrine
Ramaswamy R Iyer
A Judicial Commission?
Ajit Mozoomdar
The Supreme Court, Parliament and the Constitution
Soli Sorabjee
The Ideal Remedy
A Valediction

Pran Chopra
Review and Response

Pran Chopra

Pran Chopra was born in Lahore in 1921, and began his lifelong career in journalism there in 1941, in the Civil and Military Gazette. Since then he has been War Correspondent for All-India Radio (AIR) in China and Vietnam (mid-1940s); Guest Commentator with the United Nations (1950); Chief News Editor, AIR (1950s); Parliamentary Commentator for AIR and the Statesman group of newspapers (mid-1950s to early 1960s); Resident Editor of The Statesman, Delhi (early 1960s); Deputy and then Chief Editor of the Statesman group (till the late 1960s); Editorial Director of the Press Foundation of Asia (1970s); and Visiting Professor at the Centre for... More About Author

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ISBN: 9780761934455