Contextual Interpretation and Constitutional Inalienables
Volume 1 Issue 3 (2008)
That the judicial prerogative of Constitutional interpretation should not render itself into a zealous imposition of personal values remains a fundamental tenet of representative governance. In a society of diverse, and often conflicting ways of life, and a judiciary that lays claim to widest possible legal creativity, and a polity of consociation, it is nothing but the construction of the provisions of the Constitution that acts as the binding gel between competing claims. The article primarily presents arguments in relation to: firstly, ‘Interpretation For What?’, where it is argued that in the final hermeneutic appreciation, the meaning arrived at should be audience-centred and the interpretation should be reflective of the reasons for belief of the people and not the belief itself, and secondly, ‘Interpretation Of What?’, where it is argued that, ascribing hallowed values to mere textual assurances dangerously borders on misuse of interpretative discretion and as such judicial systems should not only temper the phrasal promises with social demands, but should not move beyond, in the guise of discovering universal humane absolutes. The present article thus seeks to limit the judicial interpretation of the Constitution by appreciating such meanings of the textual expression alone that portray the undercurrents of social existence.