The Rise of India's Judiciary as a Key Political Actor

Professor Krishna K Ladha about Indian Supreme Court's role

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 14:00 to 16:00

Seminar by Krishna K. Ladha, Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode in Kerala, India

Abstract by Krishna K. Ladha


This paper attempts to explain the rise of India's Judiciary as a co-equal partner in shaping India's future.  On the basis of the spatial model, the theory predicts that the power of the Court emanates from the division among politicians.  The prediction is matched against the reality in the Indian context. The Indian Supreme Court, which in the 1970s was powerless under Indira Gandhi as her party enjoyed a clear majority in the Parliament, is seeing better days as coalition governments (read: divided politicians) rule India. The Indian Supreme Court has become an increasingly dominant force especially in the last two decades.  The paper focuses on the Supreme Court’s capture of the power to make judicial appointments including its own. The focus reflects the view that the capture of its own appointment is the best way to illustrate the judicial independence and thereby judicial power.




Krishna K Ladha is Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode in Kerala, India since 2009.  He has a Ph. D. in Economics from Carnegie-Mellon University and an Msc in Mathematics from Calcutta University.  He has taught at several universities in the US, Europe, and India.  He has published journal articles in American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Social Choice and Welfare, Public Choice and book chapters as well.  He was a recipient of the Duncan Black Prize for the best paper published in Public Choice  in 1991. His current areas of research include Law and Economics; Democracy, Stability and Constitution Design; Markets and Institutions; Social Choice; Political Philosophy and Management of Societies; and the Origin and Implementation of the Constitution of Ancient Athens. 


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