“More Executive-Minded Than the Executive”: The Supreme Court’s Role in the Implementation of the NRC

Alok Prasanna argues that the Supreme Court's over seeing of the NRC process in Assam reflects poorly on the institution and its ability to act fairly and protect rights.


The Supreme Court’s harsh and cruel approach to enforcing the National Register of Citizens should not be treated as an exceptional event for the judiciary at large or even the Supreme Court specifically. India’s judiciary having abandoned questions of procedure and propriety in the name of “public interest”, and any semblance of representativeness and diversity in the name of “independence”, such outcomes are going to get more frequent.

“I view with apprehension the attitude of judges who on a mere question of construction when face to face with claims involving the liberty of the subject show themselves more executive minded than the executive… It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which on recent authority we are now fighting, that the judges are no respecters of persons and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law.”

Lord Atkin, in Liversidge v. Anderson, 1942 AC 206

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