Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Clash of institutions

August 16, 2012

AFTER the passage of short order by the Supreme Court regarding the Contempt of Court Act 2012, the coalition reported to have sent message of defiance. Though parliament has the right to legislate laws, the Supreme Court enjoys full rights to review, being the ultimate forum to scrutinise any law and review it.

The two organs of the state -- parliament and judiciary -- are also bound to obey and bow before the constitution. Their duties and powers are defined. According to part one, section five, of the constitution, loyalty to the state, constitution and law is mandatory for both, parliament and judiciary. Despite this, an unnecessary tussle between the two pillars of the state is on. Both have respect and dignity: one being representative of the people and the other being judges of the apex court. But loyalty to the state is the basic duty of everyone.

The two organs are supposed to perform their duties as defined in the constitution. Unfortunately, the country has been made hostage to an endless debate.

Socrates once said the judges are expected to hear courteously, answer wisely, consider soberly and decide impartially. Regarding justice the legal experts often state that justice should not only be done but seem to have been done.

Moreover, judges are to dispense fair justice and not to please anyone as once was said and done by our Supreme Court. One a judge wrote that ‘courts were not to please anyone but to dispense justice’ and also added that ‘what may please the nation may turn out to be against the latter and spirit of caw and Constitution.’

While hearing petitions against the Contempt of Court Act 2012, the Chief Justice was quoted to have said if one prime minister was punished, how the other could be spared.

Such observation and remarks do not create a good impression and endanger the credibility of the court. The judges being custodians of the law and the constitution need to be more prudent and tolerant than politicians.

With regard to the executive, it may be said that it had to perform within the perimeter set in the constitution instead of gaining favour with politicians. The country and people have suffered much due to these stand-offs between the executive, the judiciary and parliament. With apology, one would like the three pillars of the state to do justice to themselves, their country and the people to have a sigh of relief.


People’s welfare IN the past four years the public has endured more than its fair share of unpleasant controversies involving key institutions of the state, invariably at loggerheads with each other.

The ongoing stand-off between the judiciary and the government on the issue of the Contempt of Court Act 2012 is yet another glaring example of how foremost state institutions incessantly squabble over conflicting perspectives at the expense of the basic welfare of its people.

The politics of reconciliation ever so relentlessly pursued by the government appears to have only served narrow political aims as opposed to prompting any noteworthy enhancement in infrastructure development, public services, nutrition, healthcare, education, law and order, employment, environment, etc.

Regrettably, the superior courts, on the other hand, have also not succeeded in recommending a viable recourse for a legitimate compromise in the interest of the public at large.

By strange happenstance, a string of manifold controversies and scandals has also seized the media landscape with formidable intensity, inevitably shadowing the underlying plight of the impoverished and the downtrodden.

As a consequence, instead of being rewarded with a stable, dynamic and self-evolving democratic apparatus, the nation has been left abandoned to its fate in an atmosphere of endless hostility laden with political unrest and institutional friction.

The far from perfect progress in key economic and social development indicators, the constant undermining and politicising of state institutions, particularly law enforcement and the public sector, the failure of the state to examine and address corruption and the mounting law and order crisis in the country and a host of multifaceted international challenges provide clear enough projections for a largely turbulent and uneasy period to follow.

Needless to suggest that in such a climate this nation can ill-afford this perennial symphony of discords and institutions caught up in the mess and must adopt all the possible means to set things in order and restore themselves to the point of serving in the paramount interest of the popular masses.