We are heartened by the law minister's reaction to the verdict on the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. In well-measured words chosen to stake out his government's position, he said he respects the verdict although he disagrees with it. He also termed as “unacceptable” the reason for which the amendment was declared unconstitutional. We are also happy that he said, “The parliament never had any intention to limit or hamper the independence of the judiciary by any amendment.”
However, we are alarmed by the minister's supplementary comments on the verdict that it was “driven by hatred.” A similar instance of attack on the Supreme Court has been made by a former chief justice on Wednesday, who seemed to have suggested that the verdict may have been predetermined. We think such a comment without any conclusive proof to support it is contemptuous of the highest legal institution in the country.
Disagreeing with the verdict of a court is common in a democratic dispensation, and while constructive criticism is welcome, as has also been made clear by the Chief Justice, questioning the integrity of the judges and the Supreme Court is disconcerting, to say the least.
We cannot but express our deep concern at the deteriorating and often personal nature of the attack directed at our highest court. We request all concerned to respect the institution of the parliament on the one hand, and that of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice on the other.