Science for Everyone: Footnote the Scholar

“Economic impact of a decision, wherever warranted, has to be kept in mind… in a situation where two views are possible or wherever there is a discretion given to Court by law, Court needs to lean in favour of a particular view which subserves economic interest… Conversely, Court needs to avoid that particular outcome which has a potential to create an adverse affect on employment, growth of infrastructure or economy or revenue of State.”

Recently, while explaining concept of ‘Law and Economics’, SC quoted Richard A. Posner in a footnote [See, Shivashakti Sugars Ltd. v. Shree Renuka Sugar Ltd., Civil Appeal No. 5040 of 2014].

Judge Posner evidently writes. In past 50 years there has been no figure more dominant or more controversial in American Law than Posner. He has written more than 50 books, over 500 articles and nearly 3,000 opinions in Majority for Court.

Judge Posner
Judge Posner

This is not Hon’ble Justice A.K. Sikri’s first-time relegating a distinguished scholar to a footnote. Richard A. Gardner in Vivek Singh v. Romani Singh, [Civil Appeal No. 3962 of 2016] faced same.

In Vivek Singh, Court, insisting on ‘science’ in adjudication, relied on an elaborately disputed theory which remains merely an ipse dixit – Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Former Rhodes Scholar, Gautam Bhatia has a similar criticism of Shivashakti Sugars:


I had earlier pointed erroneous invocation of Euclid’s Theorems in over 70 SC Judgments. Shivashakti Sugars introduces, Theorem of R.H. Coase.

Coase is an unusual economist and a highly unusual Nobel Prize winner. First, his writings are sparse. In a 60-year career he wrote only about a dozen significant papers – and very few insignificant ones. Second, he uses little or no mathematics, disdaining what he calls ‘blackboard economics’. Yet his impact on economics has been profound. That impact stems almost entirely from two of his articles, published when 27 and 50!

Even if SC increasingly reviews economic impact of its decisions in coming years, it is expected Coase Theorem will go unexplained like Euclid’s for many decades to come.

GB 2