What does democratic backsliding in India teach us about methodology of constitutional discourse?

Despite the founding focus on democratisation, India is witnessing what is characterised by some as democratic backsliding. Through the lens of this political moment, I propose to reflect on the methodological approach to constitutional discourse, with a focus on discourse on the Constitution of India. The typical unstated premises of such discourse, André LeDuc shows, are that a constitution’s existence is ontologically independent from how it is worked, and that correspondence to the objective constitution determines the truth of constitutional claims. However, written constitutions not only state but also do things. They constitute a new reality in a context that is inhabited and worked by socially embedded individuals and political parties. Thus, using John Dewey, Eric Weber, Philip Bobbitt, Dennis Patterson, and LeDuc, I will show the relevance not only of founding ideas, but also of the social practice of constitutional argument to questions of constitutional legitimacy.