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Mrs. Indira Gandhi and India's Constitutional Structures: A n Era of Erosion

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Nehru was an outstanding institution builder. Despite his serious differences with the conservative justices of the Supreme Court, Nehru respected their authority and nurtured both the party and the governmental level institutions. In contrast, Indira Gandhi was interested in building only micro-level institutions and depended mainly on the bureaucracy to implement her policies. She tried to control the judiciary through politically motivated promotions of justices and by constitutional amendments. She also sought to subordinate bureaucracy to her own will and used the governor's office to exercise control over state governments. It was during the Emergency that a serious erosion of institutional structure took place and her son Sanjay became the center of extra-constitutional authority. She tried to rectify the situation after her return to power in 1980 but the damage was already done.

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Affiliations: 1: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, U.S.A.


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