Do weak institutions call for reform and regeneration? Or are they a reflection of rapid social change, of strong traditional societies, and the lack of honest and committed political leadership? Can institutions be understood in terms of universal frameworks, or are they shaped by the specificities of each country?
These are the central questions that Constitutional and Democratic Institutions in India grapples with. The first part explores theoretical approaches to the study of institutions in India, while the remaining four parts cover the Parliament, the higher judiciary, the Election Commission of India, and some federal and social institutions, respectively. Against the backdrop of recurring political instability and a neo-liberal policy environment, the contributors raise many fundamental issues about the functioning of these institutions, their capabilities and the need for reform, and, in the case of the Parliament, the possibility of a shift to the presidential system of government and a model of cooperative federalism.
Sudha Pai retired as Professor at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She currently heads the research institute PRAMAN (Policy Research and Management Network), Gurgaon.