Active after sunset: the politics of judicial retirements in India

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Indian judges retire, but not into inactivity. Many pursue careers in government-appointed roles. Scaffolded around the concept of institutional corruption, this article interrogates the history, law and politics of retirement careers of judges in India. Three questions take centre stage in this analysis: What types of careers do retired judges pursue? Why do they pursue them? How do judges’ post-retirement ambitions impact their pre-retirement decisions? The cumulative analysis suggests that the Supreme Court of India, not specific judges, benches or decisions, is institutionally corrupt. The system of post-retirement jobs cycles like an economy of influence that is weakening the institution’s effectiveness, especially its capacity for impartial adjudication in matters that involve governments. But the Indian court’s performance and its public reception also reveal unique attributes that can enrich our general understanding of institutional corruption and separate the concept’s essential features from its auxiliary ones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-57
Number of pages27
JournalFederal Law Review
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


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