- Chief justice says that remedies should be done with caution
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial stated that the Supreme Court will welcome remedies against Article 184(3) if they are done with caution.
The CJ’s comments came during a hearing of appeals challenging the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act, 2023 and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) review against the verdict fixing May 14 as the date for holding Punjab Assembly elections.
Article 184(3) of the Constitution enables the SC to assume jurisdiction in matters involving a question of “public importance” with reference to the “enforcement of any of the fundamental rights” of Pakistan’s citizens.
During the hearing, Attorney-General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan presented his arguments.
Justice Munib Akhtar said that a review was still a review and was not granted the status of an appeal.
The CJP remarked that a “complete test of justice” lay before the SC. “In an appeal, a case is heard once again. We should solve this issue,” he said.
“We welcome any remedy against Article 184(3) of the Constitution if it is done with caution. The question is on what basis a review should be allowed,” he said.
In his arguments, the AGP also said that from high courts to the top court, petitioners were given the opportunity to present their cases. “That is why the SC has limited the scope of review,” he said.
He added that under Article 184(3), the SC heard the case directly which is why the scope of review under the article had been expanded. He argued that because of this, petitioners would be able to “fully convince the court”.
On June 7, SC clubbed together pleas against the recently-enacted Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023 with the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) petition demanding the apex court to revisit its April 4 ruling, which had directed the government to hold polls for the Punjab Assembly on May 14.
The decision to club the two was taken by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial as it conducted the hearing of the ECP’s petition on Wednesday.
Bandial said “the court will try to make a decision on the ECP plea for reviewing the verdict on the Punjab elections at the earliest”.
“We have received some petitions. The matter of the Review Order Act has to be seen at this stage,” CJP Bandial said.
He said that the court would issue a notice to the Attorney General for Pakistan, after which the bench will hear the ECP’s review plea under the Review Order Act.
The CJP asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar to give his views on the Review Order Act.