Constitutional Change: A Public Choice Analysis

Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution, 2016

18 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2016

See all articles by Shruti Rajagopalan

Shruti Rajagopalan

Department of Economics, SUNY Purchase College; Classical Liberal Institute, NYU School of Law

Date Written: March 3, 2016

Abstract

Amendments to the Constitution, especially to the fundamental rights, have two starkly different patterns in Indian constitutional history. During 1950–80, Parliament was the battleground for seeking formal constitutional amendments; while post-1980, the Supreme Court became the power centre, with interest groups seeking amendments through interpretation. What is the reason for this shift of interest-group activity from the legislature to the judiciary? The existing literature has attributed this shift to the increasing power of the Indian Supreme Court; coalition politics; changes in ideology; greater emphasis on positive rights; etc. In this chapter, I explain the change in constitutional amendments using economic analysis.

Keywords: constitutional amendments, judicial activism, interest group, rent seeking

JEL Classification: D72, H13, K41

Suggested Citation

Rajagopalan, Shruti, Constitutional Change: A Public Choice Analysis (March 3, 2016). Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2789754

Shruti Rajagopalan (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, SUNY Purchase College ( email )

735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
United States

Classical Liberal Institute, NYU School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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