Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 328–355

Incompatible institutions: socialism versus constitutionalism in India

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10602-015-9188-0

Cite this article as:
Rajagopalan, S. Const Polit Econ (2015) 26: 328. doi:10.1007/s10602-015-9188-0


There has been a decline in rule of law in India, reflected in the frequent amendments to the Indian Constitution. This paper analyzes the historical, ideological, and economic context for constitutional amendments to understand the reason for the deterioration of constitutionalism in India. I argue that the formal institutions of socialist planning were fundamentally incompatible with the constraints imposed by the Indian Constitution. This incompatibility led to frequent amendments to the Constitution, especially in the area of Fundamental Rights. Consequently, pursuit of socialist policies gradually undermined the Constitution. The contradictory mixture of socialism and constitutionalism led to economic and political deprivations that were never intended by the framers. I demonstrate this incompatibility using evidence from five-year-plans and constitutional amendments in India.


Indian Constitution Property rights Constitutional amendments Socialist planning Rule of law 

JEL Classification

B25 K100 K11 P37 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsPurchase College, State University of New YorkPurchaseUSA

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