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Working a Democratic ConstitutionA History of the Indian Experience$
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Granville Austin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195656107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.001.0001

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A ‘Grievous Blow’: The Supersession of Judges

A ‘Grievous Blow’: The Supersession of Judges

(p.278) Chapter 12 A ‘Grievous Blow’: The Supersession of Judges
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

On April 25, 1973, the day after the Kesavananda decision, All-India Radio's five o'clock news bulletin had announced that A. N. Ray had been appointed the new Chief Justice of India. The President had passed over Shelat, Hegde, and Grover, who, by the convention of seniority, were next in line for the position, upon the retirement of Chief Justice Shikri. The four men decided to resign, even though Sikri was to retire the following day. Mrs Gandhi had struck a ‘grievous blow to the independence of the judiciary’, said Justice Khanna. He might have added, this chapter argues, that the Prime Minister as well had struck a blow at democratic constitutionalism, for, by attempting to make the Court obedient to her government, she was unbalancing the power equation among the three branches of government. It was an act of extreme centralization of power.

Keywords:   Kesavananda decision, democratic constitutionalism, All-India Radio, A. N. Ray, Indian Chief Justice

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