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Karthik Rao Cavale, India. PhD
Research topic: Judicial policy-making and political mobilization among street vendors in Chennai, India
The rapid ascendancy of the judiciary through the mechanism of public interest litigations (PILs) in India since the 1970s has prompted several scholars to describe the phenomenon using the label “judicial governance.” In recent years, courts have dealt with a spate of PILs on issues such as environment, shelter, livelihood and labor, gender/sexuality and so on. My paper uses the example of litigation related to street vendors in Chennai to critically examine the manner in which this mode of governance alters state-society relationships, and the implications for inclusive urban governance in Indian cities.
The judicial route creates specific opportunity structures that influence the organizational structure of street vendor associations as well as their position vis-à-vis the state. I find that vendor associations to emerge as alternative sites of governance where regulatory institutions are created and enforced. However, these institutions fail to foster inclusivity beyond a certain extent due to the structural limitations of judicial governance.