Supreme Court of India understands, Mahatma Gandhi > Bharat Ratna. Once upon a time, specifically on 23.01.1992, a press communique was issued from Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi to the following effect:
“The President is pleased to confer the award of Bharat Ratna posthumously on Shri Subhash Chandra Bose.”
It was contended before SC that, when a personality is higher and greater than any award or title, conferring of such honour on that person becomes ridiculous and it becomes an act of carelessness to classify such a person as an equal of others who have already been awarded such title or who may be awarded such a title in future. It seems that the family members of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose also conveyed to the Government of India their unhappiness at the announcement and expressed their unwillingness to accept such an award.
“In deference to the feelings so eloquently expressed in these proceedings and which were no doubt, conveyed to the Union of India, the award was, in fact, not conferred and the proposal was dropped. We need not, therefore, go into the question whether the word ‘posthumously’ has been justifiably used in the press communique or the wider question whether there is enough material available for reaching the conclusion that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died either in the air-crash of 18th August, 1945 or at any time thereafter. This is a wider issue on which undoubtedly in future as in the past, there will be divergent views. The real controversy in these proceedings relates to the press communique. Since no further steps have been taken pursuant to the press communique and the matter is treated as closed, we declare that the press communique should be treated as cancelled. With this declaration nothing further survives and the various petitions either transferred from the Calcutta High Court or filed in this Court stand disposed of.”
– Hon’ble Judges Sujata v. Manohar and G.B. Pattanaik, Union of India v. Bijan Ghosh, (1997) 6 SCC 535.
There can never be a conclusion on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as is reflected in the statement above and also in the remark, best forgotten: “Justice (Retd.) Markandey Katju is entitled to his views and put those views in public domain for consumption of public in general.”
Thus, let us attempt to keep it simple.