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Pakistan

Supreme Court bars govt from implementing judicial reforms bill

  • Top court says the bill will not be implemented regardless of whether the President signed it or not
Published April 13, 2023

The Supreme Court's eight-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, barred the government from implementing the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, Aaj News reported.**

An eight-page initial order issued by the larger bench stated that the bill would not be implemented, regardless of whether the President signed it or not.

The bill aimed at curtailing CJP’s powers, which was passed by a joint parliament session earlier this week, was challenged in the top court, with a prayer to declare the “impugned” bill as ultra vires and unconstitutional and of no legal effect.

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 has submitted a petition to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in this regard.

The petition stated that during the proceedings of the Supreme Court’s suo motu hearing regarding the delay in Punjab polls, “the federal government along with (the) PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) started a vicious campaign in (the) general public and media to undermine the reputation and credibility of [the] judges” of the SC, “especially” the CJP.

It further stated that with its “agenda”, the incumbent government through the Ministry of Law proposed a bill for the curtailment of powers of the CJP in a “hurry without adopting the due course of law and in violation of Article 70 (1 and 4) of the Constitution”.

During the hearing today, the top court issued notices to Prime Minister, President and major political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (JUI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI before adjourning the hearing till May 02.

The court also issued notices to the political parties, the federal government, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Awan, the Pakistan Bar Council, the Supreme Court Bar Association and other respondents in the case.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, while hearing the plea against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, observed today that the apex court holds parliament in high esteem.

CJP Bandial said that the SC had to examine whether the bill in question violated the Constitution. The CJP noted that the independence of the judiciary was an important matter but at the same time said that he had the utmost respect for the parliament.

Meanwhile, the ruling alliance rejected an eight-member bench assembled to hear petitions opposing the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill 2023.

In a statement, the coalition partners vowed to oppose attempts to limit the powers of parliament and to interfere with its constitutional powers.

Comments

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Faisal Apr 14, 2023 04:55am
I need this bike
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Faisal Muhammad Baloch Apr 14, 2023 08:15am
Exceeding authority. Courts cannot stop assembly from legislative activities. Too much power corrupts.
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Parvez Apr 14, 2023 12:23pm
According to the Construction as it stands today......the SC is well within its rights to do so.
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