ISLAMABAD: In his first act as the new Chief Justice of Pakistan following the oath-taking ceremony, Justice Isa on Sunday formed a full court to hear a set of challenges to the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023.

As per the cause list issued by the apex court registrar office, a 15-member full court bench headed by the newly-appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa will hear the case today (Monday) at 9:30am.

The notices for the proceeding have already been issued to Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan.

Review petition against SC bill to be heard tomorrow

The enforcement of the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 had been suspended on the April 13 order of an eight-judge apex court bench, headed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial.

When the law was suspended, Justice Bandial had observed that the court had great respect for the Parliament but it also had to examine if any constitutional deviation, violation or transgression had taken place while enacting the SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023.

The petitioners had pleaded before the apex court that the concept, preparation, endorsement and passing of the SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill was an act tainted with malafide. Therefore, the bill should be struck down after declaring it to be without lawful authority and of no legal effect, the petition contended.

Besides, they said the federal government cannot frame any law that seeks to interfere or regulate with the functioning of the apex court or the powers exercised by it or its judges including CJP, under the Constitution.

This is pertinent to mention that Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had earlier petitioned the top court to declare the Act as ultra vires to the Constitution.

The PTI, through its counsel Uzair Karamat Bhandari, filed a concise statement in the petitions challenging the Act and prayed to the apex court to strike down sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the Act.

Moreover, the party submitted that the Act is beyond parliament’s legislative competence and is unlawful in that it impinges on the independence of the judiciary “which has time and again been recognised by this court as a fundamental feature of the Constitution”.

PTI’s petition also maintained that the Act went against the settled interpretations of various constitutional provisions by the apex court.

The bill, aimed at regulating the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, was approved by the parliament during a joint sitting on April 10.

The National Assembly, on April 21, notified the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 as an act.

However, even before it became an Act, the bill was challenged in the Supreme Court, and, on April 13, the same bench hearing the case halted its implementation, observing that the bill would not be acted upon in any manner till further order.

“The moment that the Bill receives the assent of the President or (as the case may be) it is deemed that such assent has been given, then from that very moment onwards and till further orders, the Act that comes into being shall not have, take or be given any effect nor be acted upon in any manner,” read the nine-page interim order issued on April 13.

In its order, the bench stated that the facts and circumstances presented here are extraordinary both in import and effect.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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