Structural injunctions – where the court issues a series of interim orders over a period of time in an effort to stimulate institutional reform – are about as old in India as public interest litigation (PIL) itself. They are now virtually the default remedy in PILs at the Supreme Court. This article focuses on how structural injunctions were deployed in two politically salient cases during the United Progressive Alliance government between 2004 and 2014 – the “2G Spectrum” case and the “Coalgate” case. A close examination of these cases reveals a broader picture not just about the state of PIL and the use of structural injunctions, but also about the perception and popular legitimacy of the Supreme Court in India’s constitutional democracy.

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