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The increasing salience of Hindu nationalism and the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a serious competitor in Indian politics during the 1990s forced Congress into a difficult position. Congress increasingly defended Other Backward Classes reservations to retain its appeal across India's "Hindi Belt," even hoping to ensure that members of the lower castes gained access to educational opportunities. But, by exercising increased authority over private school enrollment, Congress's policies potentially jeopardized the independent character of private minority schools that educated Christian and Muslim students, opening the door for further government control if the BJP won elections. Congress officials worked with aligned justices to develop a constitutional framework that protected education reservations while preserving the independent character of minority schools. Unlike the other examples in this book, however, these deliberations repeatedly produced inadequate results. Finally, Congress amended the Constitution and the Supreme Court willingly capitulated in a subsequent basic structure challenge, which is consistent with the deliberative partnership thesis.
The Indian National Congress had opposed reservations (affirmative action) for India's so-called "Other Backward Classes" (OBCs) since drafting India's Constitution. But when a coalition government expanded reservations for OBCs in public employment in 1990, Congress changed its position, potentially bringing the party into conflict with the judges it had previously appointed. But this conflict never occurred. Instead, Congress officials subsequently worked with aligned justices to develop a new doctrinal framework governing reservations in employment. When these justices adopted divergent positions, however, Congress frequently overruled them with constitutional amendments. Unlike the American case, however, India's Supreme Court subsequently reviewed these amendments under the basic structure doctrine, affording them the opportunity to exercise a final say. But, in each instance, these aligned justices capitulated while nonetheless preserving a voice in important constitutional deliberations, which is consistent with the book's argument.
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