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ISLAMABAD: As the fight over the government’s judicial overhaul effort has intensified, the National Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution, rejecting the eight-judge larger bench of Supreme Court, constituted by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to hear the petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023.

At the same time, the house also rejected “the Charged Sum for General Election (Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Bill 2023” – a bill which the government had introduced in NA this week in light of the apex court’s directives to release Rs21 billion to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in the two provincial assemblies.

The bill was moved by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after Senate standing committee on finance rejected the bill with majority votes earlier in the day saying, “Why the bill was presented before the finance committee as it was supposed to be presented before a budget committee.”

Eight-member bench to hear SC bill pleas rejected by ruling alliance

The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution calling for the dissolution of the eight-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court which was constituted by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to hear the petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023.

The sole opposition to the resolution came from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Mohsin Leghari, who said that there was no need to bring a bill for releasing money for ECP after the apex court’s verdict.

“We never saw passing supplementary grants from National Assembly as supplementary grant is passed during the budget sessions,” he added.

The resolution moved by Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Agha Rafiullah was approved with majority votes. The resolution said, “The house completely rejects the eight-member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan, which excluded two senior most judges of the apex court. Non-inclusion of two senior most judges as well as no representation of a judge from KP and Balochistan, the bias of the bench is quite imminent.”

“The formation of the apex court bench is unnecessary before the bill becomes an act of parliament. Given this, the house demands dissolution of the bench,” it added.

The resolution argued that constitution-making is the sole responsibility of parliament and that the house views the decision of the apex court with “concern”.

The resolution accused the top court of making “unfair decisions”, condemning the handling of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill.

It said that with the recent apex court’s “controversial” decision, a constitutional crisis has been created in the country, but an impression of “bias” on part of apex court judges has been created.

The development comes a day after the CJP formed an eight-judge larger bench to hear petitions filed against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, which curtailed the top judge’s powers to initiate suo motu proceedings and constitute benches on his own.

Hearing the petitions earlier in the day, the top court issued notices to the federal government, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan, political parties, the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Council.

As the court adjourned the hearing, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that a written order would be issued shortly by the eight-member bench.

He maintained that the case was an important matter wherein the independence of the judiciary was involved which had already been declared a fundamental right of citizens.

Besides the CJP himself, the larger bench comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tulukan Mairandi Apr 14, 2023 10:05am
Everyone fighting the other in the midst of an economic meltdown. And other commentators condemn me when I say that in actual fact, the banks have all but collapsed, IMF has flatly refused a bailout and so have our allies, and default is days away.
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KK Apr 14, 2023 11:04am
@Tulukan Mairandi, you need to get a life go out and help people on your own instead of crying here in every article I read frankly its disturbing. Have you seen how much charity people have done in ramadan and how many people have helped each other? Politics be damned we are muslims and we should believe there is always a way out of hard situations. So stop crying and do something and if you can't do anything atleast shut up.
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Parvez Apr 14, 2023 12:21pm
Has the present NS much credibility in the eyes of the people ?
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