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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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The Judiciary under Pressure

The Judiciary under Pressure

(p.328) Chapter 15 The Judiciary under Pressure
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the government's pressures on judicial authority in two great cases — the attempt to overturn the ‘basic structure’ doctrine — and the transfer of high court judges. Prime Minister Gandhi's view of the judiciary became clear in the Bank Nationalization and Princes cases, during the Kesavananda hearings, in the supersession of judges, and in the Emergency. Mrs Gandhi's government acted to curtail the Court's power of judicial review by overturning the basic structure doctrine laid down in Kesavananda and upheld by four of the five judges ruling in her Election case. Later, she transferred 18 court judges to punish them for ruling against the government in preventive detention cases. This occurred in the context of the famous Habeas Corpus case. Meanwhile, Mrs Gandhi's associates floated their personal schemes for ‘reforming’ the judiciary.

Keywords:   judicial authority, high court judges, Habeas Corpus, Indira Gandhi, Kesavananda

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