Well, I grant it to the judges of the Supreme Court of India. They are infallible indeed. But this infallibility thing reminds me of a CJ who behaved as if the statement “we are infallible because we happen to be final” was his own and allowed it to be quoted often as his when I HAD READ IT MUCH EARLIER AND THE AUTHOR WAS THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE US SUPREME COURT, JUSTICE ROBERT JACKSON, who wrote that “We are not final because we are infallible; but we are infallible because we are final.” published in the US in an annual volume of Great Speeches, and available in the American Library in Chennai. It is so silly!
The two expressions - final and infallible - have grave connotations in the context of the following cases I take up as examples. In 1984, in a lightning move, the Supreme Court of India took over all cases against Union Carbide and ruled that a payment of $470 million will be the full and final settlement of Civil claims, also deciding to drop all criminal charges against the US transnational. It was in violation of the core principle of criminal justice - that a person charged with a criminal deed cannot pay his way out – that the apex Court acted. Later, when a review petition challenged this ruling, the Court retracted and reinstated the criminal charges!
The Supreme Court of India has made disastrous mistakes, that too in critical moments of history, reasoning its way to dubious and horrible decisions. In the terrible days of the Emergency, the Supreme Court rules that the Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens could be suspended. The Fundamental Rights now considered inviolate and sacrosanct being one of the basic features of Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court approved the retrograde Mandal reservations for the OBCs which in effect set the clock back and brought back casteism to destroy national unity permanently.
Here is what a former Supreme Court Judge said: “Indian Judiciary is in many senses primitive, colonial and feudal” and judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court “bungle, stumble,and royally sweep their bizarre way through, avoiding criticism using contempt of Court as a sword, scaring away even informed jurists speaking the truth.” That was Justice (retd)VR Krishna Iyer indeed!