Five days after the attempted coup d'état of 15 July 2016, a state of emergency was declared in Turkey. Under the emergency rule, constitutional rights and liberties are suspended and parliament and the courts are reduced to the regime's rubber stamp, while the country is ruled by one man through decrees. While many question how the legal and political developments in Turkey will unfold, and whether and how the democratic backslide and decline in rule of law can be reversed, Indira Gandhi's emergency (1975-77) offers a useful historical heuristic case. With striking similarities to the conditions in Turkey today, during the Indian emergency the judiciary, especially the Indian Supreme Court (ISC), was subjugated to the will of Prime Minister Gandhi through means of constitutional amendments and political appointments that compromised the integrity of justices. Yet, shortly after the end of emergency the ISC regained the trust and respect of the Indian people, thereby playing an instrumental role in the restoration of Indian democracy. Through a close analysis of the Indian emergency rule, the present article explores the conditions of democratic survival and whether and how the Turkish judiciary can reclaim its independence, spearhead a rights revolution, and help restore the democratic order.
- Constitutional amendment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science