An eight-member bench of the Supreme Court Thursday began hearing the pleas challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023.
The bench is led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and includes Justices Ijaz ul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Shahid Waheed.
The petitioners’ lawyers, Azhar Siddique advocate, and Imtiaz Siddiqui, as well as the Attorney General of Pakistan, came before the court.
Imtiaz Siddiqui claimed in his arguments that the political crisis arose upon the return of the National Assembly. The federal government and the ECP are not ‘interested’ in organising elections, thus the Supreme Court was forced to take suo moto action.
Following the ruling, the judges were chastised, for which the administration, ministers, and members of parliament were held responsible,’ he continued.
According to Imtiaz Siddiqui, the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 is anti-judicial independence. The bill was rejected, but it was eventually enacted by the joint session of parliament, he said, adding that under Article 191, the Supreme Court creates its own norms and procedures.
SC rules are available, which cannot be amended by the Parliament, he added. To this, the CJP remarked: “You mean to say that the freedom of judiciary is basic fundamental which is safeguarded by the constitution.”
Govt rejects bench hearing Supreme Court (Procedure and Practice) Bill
Govt rejects SC bench
The coalition government led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has rejected an 8-member Supreme Court bench created to hear a lawsuit challenging the Supreme Court (Procedure and Practice) Bill 2023.
The bench is led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and includes Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Muneeb Akhtar, Shahid Waheed, Muzahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, and Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi.
The ruling coalition opposed the move and labeled it ‘controversial’ in a statement issued Thursday following a consultative meeting.
The Joint Sitting of Parliament passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 on Monday, despite strong protests from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislators. The bill intends to limit the chief justice of Pakistan’s (CJP) suo motu powers of office.
Azam Nazeer Tarar, Minister for Law and Justice, introduced the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, which was approved by Parliament.
It is worth noting that, in accordance with Article 75 of the Constitution, President Dr. Arif Alvi returned the ‘judicial reforms’ bill to Parliament for review.