THE Supreme Judicial Council, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at Islamabad on Saturday, made two moves that should receive widespread welcome in the country. In a bid to cleanse the courts of corrupt elements, the SJC issued notices to two High Court judges on the charge of misconduct and corruption and constituted a two-member committee to go into the matter and make recommendations. Besides, the Council added a clause to the code of conduct for judges under which they have been forbidden to support in any manner a ruler that acquires power through unconstitutional means. They would also neither take nor administer oath in compliance with his wishes. Considering the state of our courts, it is important that the judiciary took tangible measures to put its own house in order. Not only our lower courts reek of graft and corrupt practices but the higher judiciary also would find it hard to claim to be above such evils. One has just to pay a visit to a court of law and see the plight of litigants, who have to pay their way at every step of their cases. Not a few of them would either give up since they could not bear the escalating cost or suffer inordinate delays. However, it is only rare that such elements are punished though the various governments have all along been promising quicker and cleaner dispensation of justice. With the restoration of the judiciary and the CJ's repeated commitment to purge the courts of bad eggs and provide timely justice, the people were looking up to him to take concrete measures. Therefore, while the move against the two High Court judges, one of Sindh and the other of Punjab, would be greatly welcome, one would expect greater attention to be given to the lower courts where corruption is endemic. While the judiciary's attempt to save the democratic process from the hands of a usurper of power meets a dire need of the country, it also falls on the other pillars of the state to deliver on their responsibilities. At this moment, Parliament faces a challenging task as it takes up certain crucial issues that could have a strong bearing on strengthening the forces of democracy in the country. It is necessary, for instance, that it holds full debate on the question of General Musharraf's illegal acquisition of power and punishes him in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Any attempt at dillydallying or finding a safe exit for him, whether under outside or inside pressure, would go against the interests of democracy.