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Keywords:

  • Indian Supreme Court;
  • policy entrepreneur;
  • policy-making;
  • right to food;
  • social and economic rights

This article reconsiders the role of courts as policy entrepreneurs by presenting a detailed case study of India's Mid-Day Meals Programme. In 2001, the Indian Supreme Court (SCI) passed a landmark decision, finding for the right to food and forcing the Indian government to implement a sweeping range of policies related to food consumption. Through an analysis of the court case orders for the school feeding program, this article argues that the SCI can be considered a policy entrepreneur as an advocate for the food consumption programs, but, more importantly, because their actions changed the social conditions in India. The article develops an alternative understanding of courts as policy makers that focuses on the interactive and iterative nature of the court process in order to detail how courts can act as policy entrepreneurs. It demonstrates the courts’ potential for creating real policy change.