Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 328–355 | Cite as

Incompatible institutions: socialism versus constitutionalism in India

  • Shruti Rajagopalan
Original Paper


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 



For comments and suggestions on this chapter, I am grateful to the editors, referees, Simon Bilo, Peter Boettke, Chris Coyne, Harry David, Peter Leeson, Arvind Panagariya, Nandakumar Rajagopalan, Mario Rizzo, Virgil Storr, Richard Wagner, Larry White and participants of the Colloquium on Market Institutions & Economic Processes at the Department of Economics, New York University, and GSP Workshop at George Mason University.


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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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