Sentinel or Undertaker: The Supreme Court and the Indian Constitution

Free Public Lecture

Sentinel or Undertaker: The Supreme Court and the Indian Constitution

Woodward Conference Centre
Melbourne Law School
10th Floor, 185 Pelham Street


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T: +61 3 9035 1111

Melbourne Law School and the Victorian Bar are delighted to present Professor Arun Thiruvengadam as the recipient of the James Merralls Fellowship in Law for 2019. The 2019 lecture will focus on constitutional law in India.

On January 26, 2020, the Constitution of India will complete 70 years of existence. This lecture focuses on one critical institution that it created: the Supreme Court of India, which sits atop the unitary judiciary that was conceived to be the guardian of the text of the Constitution and its ‘Fundamental Liberties’ chapter in particular.

In this lecture, Professor Thiruvengadam proposes to situate the Indian Supreme Court in a comparative and historical context to assess how it has functioned across India’s post-colonial journey. Lauded in the literature of comparative constitutional law as a powerful and influential court, the Indian Supreme Court has weathered several crises across its 70-year-old history. In the process, it has evolved many new and innovative doctrines and techniques to fulfill its mandate. At the same time, it has struggled to meet some of its original goals, faltering at crucial moments. The lecture will cover broad trends in that history while focusing on its record in the last few tumultuous years since Prime Minister Modi took office in May 2014. Observers of the Court agree that it may be witnessing its sternest test yet.

James Merralls Fellowship in Law

The James Merralls Visiting Fellowship in Law at Melbourne Law School acknowledges the contribution that Mr James Merralls AM QC has made to the legal profession in Australia. The fellowship provides funding for a highly regarded international professor, lawyer or judge to visit Melbourne Law School on an annual basis. The Fellow will engage in teaching and present a public lecture to the profession. This initiative has been made possible by generous donations from the Law community.


  • Professor Arun Thiruvengadam