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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019



The preceding chapters explored the effects of leading decisions of the Indian Supreme Court on the lives of India’s marginalized citizens. They addressed the question of whether the Indian Supreme Court is an effective agent of progressive social change or is constrained in furthering the rights of the relatively disadvantaged. We suggested in the that the Indian Supreme Court might be capable of playing a progressive role because it has several advantages that other national high courts, particularly the US Supreme Court, lack. These include the broad sweep of constitutional rights in the Indian Constitution, the procedural improvisations the Court has made such as its public interest litigation (PIL) docket, its suo moto jurisdiction, its continuing mandamus process, and its heightened structural independence from the other branches of the central government. These suggest that Indian Supreme Court decisions might have the ability to make a real difference in the lives of India’s most disadvantaged citizens.