In recent years, some of the most dramatic situations in Indian public life have arisen in the higher judiciary – an arm of the state ideally characterised by collegiality, scholarship, predictability, and remoteness from raucous politics.

From the disregard of principles of natural justice and public squabbling among the judges to the politically consequential activism around the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and unpredictable reasoning in judgments (treatment of money bill argument in the Aadhaar case, and ignoring of evidence of low fatalities in the liquor ban case), the reality of the higher judiciary is increasingly divergent from the ideal conception. These situations also remind us how difficult it is to hold the higher judiciary accountable.

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This article was originally published in the Print.