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Part II Negotiating Constitutionalism, Ch.5 Constitutional Interpretation

Chintan Chandrachud

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution

Edited By: Sujit Choudhry, Madhav Khosla, Pratap Bhanu Mehta

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 August 2020

This chapter examines the question of interpretation with regard to the Indian Constitution. It begins with an overview of two meta-judgments underlying constitutional interpretation, the first of which relates to the legitimate source of the Constitution’s authority and the second to the tools and techniques that can be relied upon in order to expound constitutional meaning. It then considers the three historical phases of the Indian Supreme Court’s interpretive philosophy: textualism, structuralism and ethicalism, and panchayati eclecticism. It also explains how the Court started deciding cases based on self-conceptions of its own role, resulting in the adoption of various interpretive approaches that are not only incongruent, but also often producing incoherent constitutional jurisprudence.

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