At a moment when democracy seems to be experiencing an unprecedented level of crisis worldwide, this roundtable focuses on one country, India, to ask what we can learn from its ongoing challenges. The participants take as their starting point Scheppele’s idea of ‘autocratic legalism’, in which constitutional democracies are ‘hijacked by … legally clever autocrats’ who turn democratic institutions and values against themselves. Does autocratic legalism capture developments in India, particularly since 2014? Does the concept help identify weaknesses or untapped potential in Indian democracy? Or does the crisis of India’s democracy reflect different patterns from the autocratic legalism emerging in other parts of the world? Participants consider these and other questions during a conversation that bridges disciplines, geography, and the academy–legal profession divide.
Autocratic legalism in India: A roundtable
Updated: Sep 4
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