Sep 17, 2020
Anuj is a professor at the Jindal Global Law School. And his recent book, Courting the People: Public Interest Litigation in Post-Emergency India is an excellent account of the development and failure of the Public Interest Litigation movement.
In this book Anuj details the big PIL cases in the last few decades – concerning pollution of the Taj Mahal, pollution of river Ganges, as well as cases dealing with vehicular pollution, deindustrialization and slum demolitions in Delhi. His analysis brings out two implications of the PIL movement on India – one on Indian citizens, especially the poor, because of arbitrary and draconian orders of the court. And the toll the PIL movement has taken on the Indian judiciary and its reputation.
I had a chance to speak with Anuj about the relaxation of locus standi requirements and procedural constraints on the judiciary in India since the 1980s; about the current state of Supreme Court, ruled more by whim than by law, the work of a legal anthropologist, his intellectual influences, and much more.
This conversation was recorded before the Prashant Bhushan contempt of court case. But Anuj’s ideas and research also help explain these recent trends in the Indian judiciary.