• In the course of the last two decades, the Supreme Court has tried to regulate the use of India’s forest resources, has passed orders on the type of fuel to be used by urban public transport, has controlled appointments to the higher judiciary and has even claimed the power to declare constitutional amendments invalid.
• This volume traces the ideological direction that the Supreme Court has charted over the last two decades.
• It examines the nature and origins of this expansion of its power and the transformation in the Court’s worldview.
• It focuses on a time when many feel that the Supreme Court has become more conservative: it looks at the Court’s conservative stand—when it compares slum dwellers to pickpockets, orders the interlinking of rivers in the name of national progress and reasons that tribal populations will benefit from mining of their lands among others.
• The essays provide an account of this shift within a larger narrative that identifies the precise manner in which these changes have taken place. It looks at the emergence of judicial sovereignty that appears to be honouring its commitment to the ‘oppressed and bewildered’ in name only.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
Mayur Suresh and Siddharth Narrain
1. Embedded Judiciary: Or the Judicial State of Exception?
2. In the Name of the People: The Expansion of Judicial Power
3. Environment and the Will to Rule: Supreme Court and Public Interest Litigation in the 1990s
4. Fundamental Rights and Public Interest Litigation in India: Overreaching or Underachieving?
5. Social Justice and the Supreme Court
Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Madhav Khosla
6. Swallowing a Bitter PIL?: Reflections on Progressive Strategies for Public Interest Litigation in India
Arun K. Thiruvengadam
7. A Meandering Jurisprudence of the Court: The Evolving Case Law Related to Water
8. The Judicial Nineties: Of Politics, Power and Dissent
Ujjwal Kumar Singh
Notes on Contributors
Mayur Suresh is Sessional Lecturer at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Siddharth Narrain is a legal researcher and lawyer with the Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Bangalore.