THE Supreme Court on Thursday gave a landmark judgement in the fake degrees case by ordering the Election Commission to initiate action against all those who used forged documents and also ordered sessions judges to decide these cases within a time frame of three months. Corrupt practices are a penal offence and forgery, as the detailed judgement explained, is part of such practices. This decision now clearly makes it difficult to escape punishment for corrupt practices including forgery - and can be a precedent-setting case against forgery in many other public and private spheres. Why there is a dire need to punish the guilty in the fake degree case is because allowing such people to contest elections implies bringing into the Parliament people already guilty of corrupt practices. As it is, elections in Pakistan have been marred by violence, stuffing of ballot boxes and so on. To add to this forging of documents creates a body politic that has the shadow of corruption all over it. By having this cloud hanging over the Parliament, it undermines the democratic edifice so essential to the betterment of the country. One hopes the government will not stand in the way of the SC order being implemented across the board. Meanwhile, the latest by poll in Punjab was once again marred by violence and charges of rigging. Despite the use of the official machinery, the ruling party in this province managed to win by a very small margin - reflecting the growing discontent amongst the people with the PML-N. This should be a warning sign for the party that sees its main base of support in this province. The PP-160 by-election result along with the SC decision on fake degrees should motivate the PML-N, as well as other major parties to reorient themselves out of a culture of tolerance for corruption and nepotism. The Pakistani nation is not only maturing politically, it is increasingly frustrated with its leadership.