01 November, 2020

Caught In A Mid-life Crisis

Increasingly called upon to intervene in a host of issues, the Supreme Court has become sharply divided as it passes a series of historic judgements

Caught In A Mid-life Crisis

In its 45th year, the Supreme Court is going through a mid-forties crisis. Increasingly called upon to intervene on various issues, the judges cannot quite make up their minds whether they should tidy up the activist judicial excesses of the past or accept their pivotal role in tackling the corruption, excesses and atrocities that plague Indian democracy. Its reticence is accentuated by deep divisions in court and it is less institutionally cohesive than ever before. Yet the judicial show goes on—cautiously but firmly.

Former Chief Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah's policy of transferring suspect judges has happily been abandoned by Chief Justice A.M. Ahmadi whose reorganisation of the court's work has already begun to move the mountain of arrears to manageable proportions. After the Mandal (1992) and Babri Masjid (1994) cases established its reputation as a 'problem solver', the Supreme Court's decision in the recent Election Commission case brought institutional sense where there was ambition and anarchy, forcing T.N. Seshan to act convivially and...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Rajeev Dhavan

Latest Magazine

November 09, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section