(1.) A preliminary divagation has become necessary since applications and enquiries had been made more than once about the postponement of the judgment. The first anniversary of the closure of oral submissions in the above case is just over ; and this unusual delay between argument and judgment calls from me, the presiding judge of the bench which heard the case, a word of explanation and clarification so that misunderstanding about the judges may melt away in the light. A better appreciation of this Court's functional adversities and lack of research facilities will promote more compassion than criticism and in that hope I add this note.
(2.) The judicature, like other constitutional instrumentalities, has a culture of national accountability. Two factors must be highlighted in this context. A court is more than a judge ; a collegial has a personality which exceeds its members. The price a collective process, free from personality cult, has to pay is long patience, free exchange and final decision in conformity with the democracy of judicial functionality. Sometimes, when divergent strands of thought haunt the mentions of the members, we pause, ponder and reconsider because we follow the words of Oliver Corm well commended for courts by Judge Learned Hand: "my brethren, I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken". Utter incompatibility exists between judicial democracy and dogmatic infallibility; and so, in this case, we have taken time, more time and repeated extension of time to evolve a broad consensus out of our initial dissensus. Not procrastination but plural foil, is the hidden truth behind the considerable interval.
(3.) Secondly, when important issues demand the court's collective judgment an informed meeting of instructed minds, in many ways, is a sine qua non. But the torrent of litigation flooding the court drowns the judges in the daily drudgery of accumulated dockets. To gain leisure for fundamental reflections with some respite from paper-logged existence and supportive research from trained law clerks is a 'consummation devoutly to be wished' if the final court is to fulfil its tryst with the Constitution and country. The Indian judicial process, seigneurs in some respects, has its problems, Himalayan in dimension but hardly appreciated in perspective and in true proportions two of which have been mentioned by me in extennuation of the great gap between closure for judgment and its actual pronouncement. Having said this, I must proceed to deal with the merits of the case and the conclusions we have reached in our diverse opinions. By majority, anyway, we dismiss the appeal and find no merit in the contentions of the appellant.;