Mr Abdul Hamid appeared most anxious to see that the issuedoes not slide into a clash between the parliament and the judiciary. Heexpressed surprise how a mere speech of his can amount to sedition.
The Speaker while carefullytreating the matter between him and the particular judge as personal and not achallenge between the power of the parliament and that of the judiciary, hasgiven a ruling, in the light of the allegation of sedition against him forviolation of the Constitution, that the judge of the Supreme Court has himselfviolated the Constitution by questioning the proceedings of the parliament.
The Speaker has been, asexpected, critical of the judge's remarks about him but referred to the judgerespectfully and used polite language in keeping with his own high position ofhonour and dignity.
Mr Hamid refrained from wishinginvolvement of the Supreme Judicial Council. He has hoped that the ChiefJustice will be competent enough to take the necessary initiative so that anysuch incident will be resisted in the future. He has assured the parliament'ssupport for whatever decision the Chief Justice takes in this regard. Side byside, Mr Hamid has urged the members of the parliament not to insist on passinga resolution demanding the Supreme Judicial Council to take up the matter.
It has been most appropriate forthe Speaker to leave the matter for the Chief Justice to deal with the conductof a fellow judge treating this as an issue of the judiciary and the justicesystem. He has shown, as preached, due regard to the principle of separation ofpowers.
It is to be hoped that thelimitations of the powers of the different organs of the government will berespected by all others for proper functioning of the government ascontemplated by the Constitution. The cooperation and coordination amongdifferent organs of the government is unavoidable but usurpation of eachother's power is prohibited. The Speaker Abdul Hamid has taken great pains toduly analyse this point and emphasiseits importance in his lengthy ruling.
It is essential for all toremember that democracy is against excesses and in favour of checks andbalances of the State powers. Of all the organs of the government, the power ofthe judiciary is to be exercised most soberly and most judiciously. Thejudiciary ceases to be judiciary if it does not use it's power and jurisdictionwith restraint. Justice cannot to be a matter of excess. That is why the mostimportant quality of a judge is his judicial temperament.
The constitutional checks andbalances are enforced by the judiciary, or more particularly, by the SupremeCourt. As the people's House and the supreme law making body of the country,its high position and its majesty are also to be held in high esteem. But all the powers of all theorgans of the government come from the people and such powers are not forflaunting about personally but to be exercised responsibly in the service ofthe people. The arrogance of power is undemocratic and unconstitutional both inspirit and purpose. That is the most important and lasting lesson to be learntfrom the tension-filled episode and the measured ruling of the Speaker.
But we must now all take a deepbreath to think about organising the judiciary as well as the parliament makingboth these vital institutions work, not just within the limits of theirrespective powers, but also effectively for making democracy work. Theopposition cannot be absentee members of the parliament and nobody can claimparliament to be functioning constitutionally in the absence of the opposition.The judiciary's independence is also not so unhindered when the judges of theSupreme Court are not chosen transparently for their qualities as judges.
The politicisation of thejudiciary is in direct conflict with the idea of independent judiciary.
It is important that therespectability of these two institutions are protected by persons rightlysuitable. The law makers must be competent law makers and judges must betemperamentally suitable as judges. The dignity and honour of any highly placedinstitution can only be held high by persons of honour and dignity.
Pakistan is a dangerous exampleof what happens when the judiciary is politicised by circumstance or design. InPakistan the judiciary itself is making constitutional government difficult. Bydislodging the Prime Minister Gilani for contempt of court, the Supreme Courtof Pakistan has made it uncertain for any other prime minister to function. Thewhole political system has been thrown into turmoil in Pakistan. The survivalof the judiciary is also at stake. The judiciary has implicated itself with thepolitical power struggle, which it should have avoided.