By holding a special sitting for Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami and granting him bail on November 11, the Supreme Court has once again proved itself to be the most powerful court in the world. Lawyers often joke that our Supreme Court can do everything except for declaring a man a woman and vice versa. As it happens, everything in India is subject to scrutiny because citizens believe they have a stake in how it is run. What else, they ask, does “of the people, by the people, for the people really mean?

Judges may not be elected representatives and therefore are not strictly “by the people”. But then, their salaries come from the taxes paid by honest Indians and hence they are answerable to them. They are under an obligation to honor all the constitutional norms, the most important of which is equality.

For some people, the Supreme Court has defied this provision and once again proved itself to a court of the privileged. How else could the defective petition be listed at the speed it did and get a hearing on an unusual sitting? These critics note that the status of an arrestee could be an important factor in other...

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