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Judges of the Supreme Court of India1950 - 1989$
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George H. Gadbois, Jr

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198070610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198070610.001.0001

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The Bhagwati Court (1985–6)

The Bhagwati Court (1985–6)

(p.295) XVII The Bhagwati Court (1985–6)
Judges of the Supreme Court of India

George H. Gadbois, Jr

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the Bhagwati Court of 1985–6. The government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s appointed P.N. Bhagwati to succeed Chandrachud in mid-1985. Throughout the entire Chandrachud regime, he was the seniormost associate judge. Bhagwati inherited a Court comprised of sixteen judges. By the time he reached retirement age seventeen months later, the size of the Court had shrunk to fourteen. Bhagwati opposed increasing the number of judges and wanted the Court divided into two permanent benches — one for hearing constitutional cases and the other for appeals. He wanted ‘activists’ with the ‘right judicial philosophy’. He found Sen, the Law Minister during his entire tenure, a formidable foe. Sen was an old school patrician who did not agree with Bhagwati’s crusading views. Bhjagwatis’s appointees include Goverdhan Lal Jamnalal Oza, Bankim Chandra Ray, Murari Mohan Dutt, Kamal Narain Singh, and Sivasankar Natarajan.

Keywords:   Goverdhan Lal Jamnalal Oza, Bankim Chandra Ray, Murari Mohan Dutt, Kamal Narain Singh, Sivasankar Natarajan, Rajiv Gandhi, Ananda Prakash Sen, activism, permanent benches

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