The Supreme Court on Friday struck down the Contempt of Court Act 2012, prompting the government to huddle with its allies the same night, and proclaim that they would not let the position of Parliament be undermined. Such a reaction is incomprehensible. After all, this would not be the first time that the Supreme Court has struck down a law enacted by Parliament. The question the Supreme Court decided was whether the law came into conflict with the Constitution or not. Parliament has enacted the Constitution, but that has placed the responsibility of examining laws on Supreme Court’s shoulders. It is thus empowered to declare laws made by Parliament as of no effect, if it finds them in violation of the Constitution. However, the government is not upset at the decision for abstruse constitutional reasons. It is worried over the present Prime Minister undergoing the fate of his predecessor, who was first found guilty of contempt of court for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities asking for the re-institution of the corruption cases against the President. The federal government has since said it was not possible for the Prime Minister to write the letter, as first ordered by the Court in its judgement declaring the NRO void. The present Prime Minister has also declined to write the letter. The case before the Bench on the implementation of the NRO verdict has adjourned to August 8, on the Attorney General’s assurance that a way out would be sought. It is before this date that the government and the allies have decided that a review petition would be made against Friday’s verdict.

That the government, or for that matter any individual, has every right to exhaust all legal remedies, is axiomatic, but that does not give anyone the right to disobey the orders of the Court. The PPP has apparently not just converted into an organization protecting the President from the consequences of his actions, but now it seems to have converted its allies into similar organizations.

In the process of saving himself, the President is breaking the compact between two institutions, the executive and the judiciary. The judiciary does not interfere unless the executive acts illegally, and at that point the executive accepts the judicial decision without question. There must be no clash between institutions allowed, and all must operate according to the Constitution. The government has the main responsibility of making sure that this clash does not occur. It should show all that there is no clash, by giving prompt obedience. It must remember that institutions are more important than any individual, no matter his position.