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A People's Constitution$
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Rohit De

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174433

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174433.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The Case of the Excess Baggage

The Case of the Excess Baggage

Commodity Controls, Market Governance, and the Making of Administrative Law

(p.77) 2 The Case of the Excess Baggage
A People's Constitution

Rohit De

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines a series of administrative law challenges to the Essential Commodities Act. Independent India retained commodity controls that were established to meet wartime shortages but had become a permanent instrument for addressing the needs of the developmentalist state. The system of commodity controls exemplified the permit-license-quota Ra—a form of economic regulation that characterized the Nehruvian state—and sought to discipline the market economy by criminalizing economic offenses. Economic offenders, often petty traders from the Marwari community who were denied political legitimacy, sought to challenge this new criminal law through the language of constitutionalism. Complicating the view that this system of controls contributed to a culture of corruption, the chapter argues that judicial review of administrative action—the hallmark of the rule of law in a state—emerged in India from this illegality and culture of corruption.

Keywords:   administrative law, Essential Commodities Act, India, commodity controls, economic regulation, market economy, Marwari community, constitutionalism, corruption, political legitimacy

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