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Pakistan

SC amendment bill: Top court issues notices to PM, president

  • The ruling coalition has rejected the SC bench set to hear the petitions
Published April 13, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) issued on Thursday notices to President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the federation, bar councils and others as it took up several petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial presided over the eight-member bench to hear the case. The bench also includes Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazahir Naqvi, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.

Meanwhile, the ruling coalition has rejected the SC bench set to hear the petitions, vowing to resist attempts to take away parliament's authority and to interfere in its constitutional scope.

The ruling coalition leaders — which included members of the PML-N, PPP, MQM-P, ANP and other allied parties also held a presser today. Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said that the current situation was “very alarming”.

“Two senior judges have not been included in the bench that has been made after a pick and choose,” the Tarar added. He was referring to Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Sardar Tariq Masood, the senior-most judges after the chief justice.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira urged the CJP to dissolve the bench, emphasising that the ruling parties would not tolerate its existence.

On April 10, the joint sitting of Parliament passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, with amendments days after President Dr Arif Alvi returned the bill seeking to curtail CJP’s powers to initiate suo motu and constitute benches amid protest by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senators.

Advocate Muhammad Shafay Munir on Tuesday filed a constitutional petition under Article 184(3) to “safeguard the Constitution and independence of (the) judiciary”, and cited the secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, the secretary Senate, and the secretary of National Assembly as respondents.

Meanwhile, another citizen Saeed Aftab Khokhar also submitted a petition to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in this regard. The petitioners have prayed to the apex court to declare the “impugned” bill as ultra vires and unconstitutional and of no legal effect.

They said the impugned amendments were made in order to achieve the Government’s target which was to provide undue advantages to Nawaz Sharif, as well as, to sabotage and derail the fully announced and scheduled election process in two provinces of the country.

The petitioners said that the respondents have not acted fairly, reasonably or justly, hence, the matter at hand is subject to intervention by this Court whilst exercising its jurisdiction as the respondents are primarily responsible for ensuring the complete compliance of provisions of the constitution.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has called on lawyers to boycott courts on Thursday to protest the formation of a “one-sided and controversial bench”. A late-night announcement by PBC Vice Chairman Haroonur Rashid and Executive Committee Vice Chairman Hassan Raza Pasha said that the CJP formed the bench in haste for hearing the petitions.

Comments

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Parvez Apr 13, 2023 01:12pm
Parliament must behave responsibly...... making rules only to suit itself, is not responsible.
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Pakistani1 Apr 13, 2023 01:56pm
Court has become political.
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Nasir mhmuad Apr 13, 2023 01:57pm
@tes
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Mian M N Shite Apr 13, 2023 02:51pm
Fudges called judges. Jokers all around.
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Truthisbitter813 Apr 13, 2023 04:09pm
So the CJP is heading a bench he has formed to hear a case about a Bill duly passed by Parliament to limit such abuse of Judicial authority. Yup, sounds like a legit legal issue! /sarcasm
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KU Apr 13, 2023 05:01pm
It's not a wonderful part of the world we live in. Suspects can become parliamentary members and leaders by throwing around money, and they then change/amend laws to get rid of criminal inquiries of money laundering and ill-gotten money, and then use the constitution to block any intervention in their motive to avoid elections and stay in power. During this tragic tale of throne and spoils, the economy, country, and eventually people are left to struggle and perish.
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