Supreme Court to hear review plea against bill on Chief Justice’s powers

SC Practice and Procedure Act an attempt to interfere in judiciary: CJP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will take up SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill review petition on Monday that limited the authority of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to individually take suo motu notice. The hearing is set for September 18.

Notifications have been issued to all relevant parties by the Registrar’s Office, and it is expected that a full court session will be convened to address the matter. Chief Justice-designate Qazi Faez Isa will lead the bench following his oath-taking.

The previous government, PDM, passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, with the intent of restricting the CJP’s powers to form benches and assign cases to himself. The bill had received parliamentary approval. However, its implementation was halted by an eight-judge bench, including the CJP, in response to three petitions challenging its validity.

The SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, serves various purposes, including delegating suo motu notice-taking authority to a three-member committee of senior judges, including the chief justice. The bill aims to enhance transparency in court proceedings and safeguard the right to appeal.

The bill outlines the formation 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, with decisions reached by majority vote.

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

Furthermore, the bill empowers the committee to establish 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.


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