Popular Constitutionalism: It’s Potential and Pitfalls In India (And The Global South)

Recently there have been discussions regarding how popular constitutionalism might have significance for global south countries, including those in which constitutionalism is extremely court-centric. Using the example of perhaps the most court-centric jurisdiction, India, this paper intends to show how popular constitutionalism can work outside countries that lack the global north’s strong constitutional culture. Additionally, this paper will also discuss the potential challenges that popular constitutionalism might encounter when operating in jurisdictions like India and the role constitutional courts would occupy in a new regime where constitutionalism is no longer court-centric. As mounting empirical evidence is pointing to the inability of courts to protect the virtues and institutions of constitutional democracy, inquiries such as the one conducted in this paper are vital if the ultimate goal is to realize the potential of constitutional democracy in the global south.