India’s Unlikely Democracy: The Rise of Judicial Sovereignty

Issue Date April 2007
Volume 18
Issue 2
Page Numbers 70-83
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India’s courts have been playing a growing role in the country’s political life. Defenders of the judiciary often focus on the few success stories that result from judicial decisions. Yet there is a glaring lack of concrete, empirical data on the effects of court intervention. Courts can proclaim new rights as much as they want, but the proclamation of rights by itself does not produce results. Judges have an important role to play in strengthening our democracy. But they will have to exercise great discretion and resist the intoxication which comes from the view that judges are the last, best hope of the republic.

About the Author

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is president of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi and a member of the global faculty of the New York University School of Law. He has taught at Harvard and Jawaharlal Nehru universities, and is author of The Burden of Democracy (2003).

View all work by Pratap Bhanu Mehta