i totally agree with rahul gandhi that india is fast becoming autocracy. for his own reasons, he said it but he hit the nail on the head in his usual floundering way.
i consulted the concise oxford dictionary and it defined autocrat as absolute dictator. the definition extends to autocracy. oligarchy is just the next step when instead of one person, a group of persons control the state. it is just a form of autocracy.
this definition accurately covers the chief justice of india. he has absolute power, not answerable to any one, not accountable to anyone (except the almighty who might or might not be existing in these days of secularism}. no one can question his decisions. there was a statement by one of former chief justices that supreme court need not give reasons for its decision since there can be no appeal against it. only if appeal is there, the reasons need be given so that superior court can examine its logic.
and i doubt if any justice has ever referred to the constitution as such. he only interprets it in the light of arguments given by the advocate. if advocate skips something, it is lawyer's fault, not that of justice. sometimes, this results in contradictory judgments by different justices. the two decisions exist side by side. the advocate is free to quote from one which he is inclined to think suitable. the justices themselves do not and cannot remember what brother justices or sister justices have said about a particular issue. so, it does not matter.
when we were young, we were told that district judges were not authorised to newspapers on office account. this was to prevent them from being influenced by news in favour of one party or the other. times have changed and now justices wake up in the morning and scan the newspaper to find out what news are capable of being taken suo moto notice of. whether it is congestion on the road, or pollution caused by the trucks or an earthquake or something else, it may merit taking immediate notice of, in case some public-spirited lawyer has not thought of it earlier and filed a pil case before the rising of the sun. it is a race which has unpredictable result. nevertheless, one justice or the other becomes custodian of providing relief to the lazy citizen, who, on waking up, notes nothing out of the way till the word bite from justice hits the newspaper next day. sometimes even earthquakes are taken into stride unless it is in their city itself.
talking of newspapers (and for that matter the media), far from not buying them to escape chances of being influenced either way., it is now a good and welcome means to preach virtue, apart from it being done in the open court. word bites are blessed if they come from the blessed ones and the newspapers and the media lap them up. if they happen to be against the government of the day (which is often the case), it adds to trp to report them and repeat them till a new one comes along.
to return to the theme, it is indeed an autocracy, as claimed by rahul gandhi though he has bungled about his target.
(note - this is a non serious writeup not intended to hurt anybody's feeling)