Incompatible Institutions: Socialism Versus Constitutionalism in India

SHRUTI RAJAGOPALAN
CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (2015). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI
10.1007/s10602-015-9188-0

Abstract: There has been a decline in rule of law in India, reflected in the frequent amendments to the Indian Constitution. This paper analyzes the historical, ideological, and economic context for constitutional amendments to understand the reason for the deterioration of constitutionalism in India. I argue that the formal institutions of socialist planning were fundamentally incompatible with the constraints imposed by the Indian Constitution. This incompatibility led to frequent amendments to the Constitution, especially in the area of Fundamental Rights. Consequently, pursuit of socialist policies gradually undermined the Constitution. The contradictory mixture of socialism and constitutionalism led to economic and political deprivations that were never intended by the framers. I demonstrate this incompatibility using evidence from five-year-plans and constitutional amendments in India.