Bulldozing contempt of court bill
There is no doubt that Parliament is fully entitled to legislate on any matter but this power is not unrestrained and laws have to be in conformity with the Constitution. And it is because of this that in civilized and truly democratic dispensations, draft laws are debate for months and in some cases for years so that the final version is flawless. There is also parliamentary tradition that bills of significance having wider impact are circulated for eliciting public opinion so that the law-makers are benefited from the input of different shades of public opinion. It is regrettable that the bill in question was kept almost secret as not to speak of the general public even some members of the National Assembly complained that they did not receive copy of the draft bill for study without which they were unable to comment upon or propose amendments. There is also a requirement that bill should be sent to the Standing Committee concerned for scrutiny and report and it has been observed that this procedure always pays back as it helps removes lacunae and improve it further. In this case all requirements were suspended and the bill was passed just in two hours and in this way the treasury was able to adopt the original version, which is obviously one-sided and motivated. But, of course, introduction and passage of the contempt of court bill is in line with the overall strategy of the Government that it has pursued during the last four years to sideline and marginalize the independent judiciary.