The Vanishing Amendment Process: Judicializing Constitutional Change in India

Two processes run side by side: On the one hand, the vanishing of the formal constitutional amendment process, illustrating the diminishing power of the Indian Parliament as an agent as well as a guardian of constitutional change. On the other side, the rise of the Indian Supreme Court, first, as a powerful veto-player, then as a powerful agenda-setting as well as agenda enforcing agent since the early 1990s. While the court is becoming more powerful, Parliament, the institution which had been originally in charge of drafting, debating, and passing constitutional amendment acts, ceases to produce substantial legislative commands that govern constitutional change. This lack of voices not only undermines the deliberative quality of constitutional politics over time, but also leads all actors involved towards a dead end separation of powers game that replaces questions of constitutional change with high stakes constitutional crises about who has the power of the last word.