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Pakistan

In majority verdict, SC upholds law aimed at clipping CJP's wings as 'constitutional'

  • CJP Qazi Faez Isa says Parliament, Supreme Court can function simultaneously
Published October 11, 2023

The Supreme Court stated on Wednesday that the SC (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023 was “sustained as being constitutional”, rejecting petitions that wanted to invalidate the law, Aaj News reported.

Prior to the ruling, the top court reserved its decisions on the petitions challenging the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023.

During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa said the Parliament was not an enemy of the SC and both institutions could function simultaneously.

The full court bench heard the petitions challenging the law related to CJP powers. As the hearing began on Wednesday, Attorney General Mansoor Awan started presenting his arguments before the court.

The proceedings were streamed live on television.

Earlier on Tuesday, the SC bench had said that each institution needed to conduct its own accountability and if it did not do that some other institution would step in to carry out its job.

Chief Justice Isa said, “We (the SC) say we need no accountability, while pendency is rising.”

He said when the chief justice did not hold a full court meeting (regarding constitution of benches and fixing of cases) but the Parliament framed rules about it, the chief justice would not allow any other organisation to do it.

The bench also consists of Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

During the last hearing, there was cross-talk between the chief justice and Justice Akhtar.

Faisal Siddiqui, who represented Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), made a submission in support of the Act 2023 but was interrupted by the bench members, as they started to ask various questions.

The chief justice then told the counsel instead of replying to the queries he should concentrate on his submission and complete it. He said the questions could be asked (by bench members) after the submission.

When Siddiqui resumed the argument, Justice Munib interjected and commented. The chief justice told the counsel to proceed with his submission, saying; “A counsel is entitled to argue the case in his own way.” Justice Munib then said: “As a judge of this Court I am entitled to ask questions and if I will be interrupted then this is not the way.”

The bill

The previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) led government had enacted the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, in a bid to clip the chief justice’s powers to form benches and fix any case before him.

The bill was passed by the parliament earlier this year.

However, an eight-judge bench, including the former CJP Umar Ata Bandial, stayed the bill’s implementation after a set of three petitions challenging it.

The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, serves multiple purposes, including the delegation of suo motu notice-taking authority to a three-member committee composed of senior judges, including the chief justice.

The bill aims to ensure transparent proceedings within the apex court and safeguard the right to appeal.

Joint parliament session adopts Supreme Court amendment bill

The bill outlines the constitution of benches, specifying that a committee consisting of the chief justice and the two most senior judges will be responsible for constituting benches to handle cases, and decisions will be reached by majority vote.

Regarding cases invoking the apex court’s original jurisdiction under Article 184(3), the bill stipulates that they must first be presented to the aforementioned committee for consideration.

Moreover, the bill grants the committee the authority to form a bench comprising at least three judges from the Supreme Court, which may include members of the committee itself, to adjudicate on matters of significant public importance relating to the enforcement of fundamental rights.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Johnny Walker Oct 11, 2023 01:07pm
Munsif's at each others throat... What justice can one expect. None.
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Parvez Oct 11, 2023 03:54pm
....so the CJ appears to be sitting on the fence.
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Johnny Walker Oct 11, 2023 07:53pm
Seven munsif's wanted to give relief to some influential people by enacting a law that would be applicable retrospectively. It was clean bowled by eight munsif's who are not indebted to any person's.
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Parvez Oct 11, 2023 09:45pm
In a country where the Parliament lacks credibility and the guardian of the Constitution is always the SC ..... if even this basic truth is undermined to accommodate person specific laws, then truly we are doomed.
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Lubna Oct 12, 2023 12:52am
As if SC delivers justice. It does not matter as CJ would do anything.
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