The Insulation of India's Constitutional Judiciary
Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 45, No. 13, p. 38, 2010
5 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2011
Date Written: March 27, 2010
The Indian judiciary is insulated from vibrant checks and balances. Its “democratic” insulation arises from its use of contempt law to restrict criticism, its permissive view of libelous speech directed against “other” public officials, and, controversially, the use of English as the official language of the courts. Its “political” insulation arises from its ability to determine its own composition, and the inability of the political establishment to effectively remove allegedly tainted members of the judiciary. Both these forms of insulation embolden the judiciary on the one hand, while directly and indirectly restricting participation on the other, and further threaten to exacerbate the severe problems of judicial administration, delay and corruption in India.
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