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Court Witness: Inside the Supreme Court of India

Now happier with tareekh than with insaaf from the adalat. Still figuring out vakalath. Trying not to attract 66A wrath. (Yes, I'm a bad poet)

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Draco Dormiens Nunquam Tittilandus*

The Supreme Court of India yesterday possibly set the largest bail bond in the history of the world: Rs. 37,000 crores (or about $6 billion) for the release of Subrata Roy from prison.

Strictly (and legally) speaking of course, it’s not a bail bond, but only the thickest fool would fail to see the implication of today’s observations in light of the Supreme Court’s order on 4th March. The price of Subrata Roy’s freedom is just a small matter of Rs 37,000 crores or at least a concrete and substantial proposal to pay it to SEBI in line with the SC’s judgment.

For an organization that has neither power of the purse or the sword, the Supreme Court of India is still an extraordinarily powerful body. It bares its fangs rarely, and uses them rarer still. Every once in a while, some citizen of this country, in a moment of hubris or madness, decides to test the limits of its forbearance.

It’s a game that really doesn’t end well.

RK Anand. Vinay Chandra Misra. Shoe throwers. (and some uncharitable folks would say, the Indian economy). They have all been brought to their knees by an uncompromising and unforgiving Supreme Court of India.

Sympathy for Subrata Roy is thin on the ground. No one believes for a moment that he can’t arrange for the money. Just that he doesn’t want to. Unlike the thousands of undertrials forgotten in jails because they can’t pay up bail bonds or have no one to stand surety for them.

Roy can get five or six senior advocates to appear for him at each hearing, briefed and assisted by brigades of lawyers. That he now suffers the same fate as a common criminal represented by a legal aid lawyer working for a pittance, is a perverse triumph for the Indian justice system.

*Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon (With due hat-tip to JK Rowling)

CourtWitness is a Supreme Court of India advocate who tweets @courtwitness1

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