Tag Archives: #CJP

Shocking! More than 2 million cases pending in courts

ISLAMABAD: In a proactive effort to enhance transparency and streamline judicial processes, the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan has released its bi-annual report of judicial statistics for the period from July to December 2023. Despite a slight increase in the overall pendency of cases, the report highlights a significant milestone in the disposal of cases across various levels of the judiciary.

According to the report, the overall pendency of cases in courts has increased by 3.9%, reaching a staggering number of 2.26 million during the second half of 2023. However, this increase is attributed to the continual filing of new cases, with 2.38 million new cases filed during the period.

Despite the rise in pending cases, the courts managed to decide 2.30 million cases, reflecting a commendable effort in case disposal. The Law and Justice Commission revealed that 82% of the pending cases (1.86 million) were at the district judiciary level, with the remaining 18% (0.39 million cases) at the upper tier, including the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court, and high courts.

The report further highlighted the distribution of pending cases, indicating that civil cases constitute 81% of the cases pending in the high courts, while criminal cases account for 19%. Similarly, at the district judiciary level, civil cases constitute 64% of the pending cases, with the remaining 36% comprising criminal cases.

In a separate development, the Supreme Court released its quarterly report from September to December 2023, revealing a significant milestone in case disposal. The apex court disposed of more than 5,000 cases in four months, surpassing the number of cases filed during the same period.

Read more: Court issues Haleem Adil Sheikh release order

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa emphasized the importance of fulfilling the people’s right to information as enshrined by Article 19-A of the Constitution. The expedited handling of cases by the Supreme Court underscores its commitment to better serve the people of Pakistan, ensuring timely justice and judicial efficiency.

Overall, the proactive approach of the judiciary in case management and disposal reflects a concerted effort to address the backlog of cases and uphold the principles of justice and accountability in Pakistan.

SC holds judgement on former IHC judge Siddiqui’s appeal of his dismissal

Chief Justice says, “Half the judiciary will go home if a judge is removed for giving a speech.”

ISLAMABAD: In response to an appeal by former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukt Aziz Siddiqui contesting his removal from the position, the Supreme Court postponed its decision on Tuesday.

Proceedings on the plea were held by a five-member bench consisting of Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, under the leadership of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa.

Read More: CJP Faez Isa emphasizes citizens’ Right to Information for Accountability

Following the verdict’s reservation, CJP Isa ruled out the order for today’s open court proceedings.

The written ruling asked the parties involved in the case to address issues brought up during the court hearings.

The SC also questioned if the SJC carried out an investigation in the order.

“What would happen if the investigation wasn’t conducted in accordance with the law and the Constitution?” the directive said.

The former judge has already attained the age of superannuation, which is June 30, 2021, as per the court’s ruling mentioning his date of retirement.

Read More: The speech is not the issue; rather, it is the text: In the dismissal case of Shaukat Siddiqui, CJP Isa remarks

The SC posed the following queries in its order:

Should Shaukat Siddiqui’s appeal be granted, what kind of relief would be granted?

Is it possible for the Supreme Court to return the case to the Supreme Judicial Council?

If council action is not necessary, is the judge’s speech itself not in violation of the code of conduct?

The parties were given three weeks by the court to turn in their responses to the aforementioned inquiries.

It said, “The Supreme Court may take further judicial action if necessary.”

CJP Faez Isa emphasizes citizens’ Right to Information for Accountability

The Chief Justice stated that information on all significant decisions of the Supreme Court is available on the court’s website.

Islamabad – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Faez Isa, highlighted the importance of citizens’ access to information, stating that the process of accountability will only commence once the public has the necessary information. According to the Chief Justice, the right to information is a legal entitlement of citizens, and providing information upon request is not the discretion of the institution but its obligation.

During a workshop in Islamabad, Chief Justice Isa asserted that the right to access information is fundamental, and information from court decisions reaches the public through court reporters. He explained that there are two aspects of the constitution: Article 19, which addresses the freedom of the press, and Article 19A, which grants the right to information.

Chief Justice Isa shared that a common citizen, Muktadar Ahmed, filed a request in the Supreme Court, seeking details of government employees. In response, the Supreme Court directed the Supreme Court registrar to provide the information within seven days.

He emphasized that federal government institutions are obligated to provide information to citizens, not just under the law but also under the constitution. Therefore, the registrar was instructed to provide the requested information to the citizen.

The Chief Justice stated that information on all significant decisions of the Supreme Court is available on the court’s website, allowing every citizen to access it. He underscored that those seeking information will not be questioned about why they need it; rather, they have the right to access information, and it is the institution’s responsibility to provide it.

Read more: Justice Qazi Faez Isa appointed 29th CJP

Justice Faez Isa affirmed that the commencement of accountability will only occur when citizens have access to information. He also mentioned that there had been no full-court meetings for four years before he became Chief Justice of Pakistan. Now, the Supreme Court is actively engaging in direct judicial proceedings, enhancing the standard of judicial actions.

Regarding the Supreme Court’s performance, he informed that the court has issued its first report in history, with the purpose of providing information on judicial decisions available on the website. The report indicates that 4,466 cases have been registered, and 5,305 cases have been disposed of, demonstrating the court’s efforts to handle as many cases as possible.

Read more: JIT formed to stop social media campaign against Supreme Court judges

Justice Isa highlighted that the Supreme Court has presented itself for accountability, appointing the first female District and Sessions Judge as the registrar of the Supreme Court. He stated that they are creating a monument of fundamental rights, and the purpose of establishing this monument is to make information accessible to the general public.

CJP issues strong warning after alleged attack on PTI Chairman’s House

CJP Isa, expressing displeasure, ordered the IG Islamabad to investigate the matter promptly.

Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa has issued a stern warning, stating that “heads may roll” following an alleged attack on the residence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Gohar Ali Khan in Islamabad.

The incident came to light while Gohar was attending a hearing at the Supreme Court regarding the allotment of PTI’s bat symbol. He was informed that law enforcement had raided his house and assaulted his family members, leading to the confiscation of a computer.

Expressing concern over the situation, CJP Isa summoned the additional attorney general and directed an immediate inquiry. Gohar, visibly distressed, later informed the court about the attack, emphasizing that his family members, including sons and nephews, had been beaten.

The Islamabad police claimed that they received information about a house search related to wanted criminals, but upon realizing it was Gohar’s residence, they retreated. The police insisted it was a routine operation with no violence or document seizure.

Read more: SC to stay out of ECP’s territory: CJP

CJP Isa, expressing displeasure, ordered the IG Islamabad to investigate the matter promptly. The IG assured that the police had acted on a tip about proclaimed offenders, and when they discovered it was Gohar’s residence, they withdrew.

The CJP directed the IG to personally visit Gohar’s house, inquire about the incident, and submit a report to the court. He warned that if heads needed to roll, they should, emphasizing the seriousness of the matter and citizens’ right to full protection.

The chief justice concluded by stating that if Gohar remained unsatisfied, the court should be informed promptly.

Read more: Justice Qazi Faez Isa appointed 29th CJP

The question, according to SC, is whether the PHC could overturn the ECP ruling

ISLAMABAD: The lead attorney for the PTI, Barrister Ali Zafar, contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was not authorized by the Election Act or the Constitution to assess intraparty polls as the Supreme Court continued to hear the party’s symbol matter on Saturday.

The arguments started when Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar noted that there were two issues at stake: first, was the ECP’s right to investigate the intraparty elections, and second, was the Peshawar High Court’s ability to intervene and reverse the ECP’s ruling.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa had earlier on Friday threatened to take action against the PTI should inconsistencies in its internal elections be discovered. He emphasized that the court should not get involved in the affairs of the ECP because it is a constitutional organization.

Furthermore, the chief stated on Saturday that the fundamental issue was one of democracy rather than the application of party constitution. He continued, saying that political parties should be democratic as well as the nation.

After the ECP contested the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) decision to overturn the nation’s highest electoral body’s decision to remove the PTI party symbol, or “bat,” earlier this week, the Supreme Court has convened to hear the case.

Barrister Ali Zafar withdrew the accusation of bias after the Chief Justice said, “You would have to prove ill intentions on the part of ECP.”

As the chief justice put pressure on the PTI lawyer to provide proof to support the allegations of malice and the establishment’s pressure on the ECP, the counsel withdrew.

He made these comments when Barrister Ali Zafar stated that the PTI’s loss of its party symbol violated Article 17 and that the intraparty elections were conducted in accordance with the party constitution.

The PTI counsel was also informed by the chief judge that his client had received notice from the ECP during their tenure in power. He noted that since no one had challenged the Election Act, the court would not address its constitutionality.

The top justice emphasized the necessity of fortifying the institutions while explicitly stating that the court lacked authority over the constitutional organizations.

In response to the lawyer’s claim that the ECP lacks the authority to control intraparty votes, the chief judge pointed out that the Constitution also included no mention of the nation’s highest electoral body providing political parties with insignia.

The chief justice said that he would have to demonstrate who has the power and whether no one does, as the counsel reiterated the position that the ECP lacks the ability to examine the intraparty votes.

Read More: While one party demands a fair playing field for itself, CJP disputes PTI’s equal playing field

“You’re saying that the ECP can only impose fines, but on the other hand, you’re not accepting its authority?” In response to the PTI counsel’s argument regarding the maximum penalty in the event of intraparty elections, he brought up a discrepancy.

Additionally, Barrister Ali Zafar contended that the Election Act required the ECP to give a certificate no later than seven days following the intraparty polls. The three-member bench’s Justice Musarrat Hilali noted that the document’s release was contingent upon elections being held in accordance with the party constitution.

Justice Mazhar once reminded Barrister Ali Zafar that the ECP hadn’t acted on its own initiative—rather, it had only taken action in response to complaints.

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar said, “You ask for a level playing field, you must also give one to your members.” He also questioned the party’s transparency in its polling and the definition of who was eligible to run for office.

Whenever the PTI lawyer was pressed for evidence to support his claims, Justice Hilali was had to respond that he lacked any documentation.

Read More: PTI could contest polling on a different symbol because of their own “mistake”: Bilawal

The judges questioned the wisdom of fielding candidates through a panel, indicating that no one can run for PTI seats in an individual capacity. This brought up another problem related to candidates during the hearing.

The Chief Justice asked whether it was not against democratic norms to allow anyone to declare their candidacy in his remarks. “Why a person cannot challenge the results of a poll for [party] chairman.”

In response, Barrister Ali Zafar stated that while the PTI constitution called for a panel, that should not have been the case.

While one party demands a fair playing field for itself, CJP disputes PTI’s equal playing field

Judge comments made at the hearing of ECP’s appeal against PHC’s decision in favor of PTI in the bat symbol issue.

ISLAMABAD: The PTI was questioned by the Supreme Court on Saturday over its desire for a level playing field, especially in view of concerns expressed by party members regarding the absence of one.

“You ask for a level playing field, you must also give one to your members,” Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar stated.

Speaking to Barrister Zafar, the SC court stated that the ECP acted upon receiving allegations regarding PTI’s intra-party polls rather than acting independently. In addition, he inquired as to the transparency of the party’s surveys and the definition of who was eligible to run for office.

During the hearing of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) appeal against the Peshawar High Court ruling that reinstated the PTI’s electoral symbol, the SC justice made the following remarks.

A three-judge panel led by Chief Justice Isa and made up of Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Musarat Hilali is presiding over the hearing.

Makhdoom Ali Khan is the attorney for ECP, and Barrister Ali Zafar is defending the PTI in the case at the SC.

The commission filed a petition before the supreme court on Thursday, requesting the annulment of PHC’s order, citing dissatisfaction with the ruling. The PTI then petitioned the PHC to hold Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and other officials of the ECP accountable for their failure to abide by the PHC’s ruling.

Read More: Election 2024: Shahzada Gustasap of the PTI will contest Nawaz Sharif in NA-15

Zafar stated in response to Justice Mazhar’s remarks, “The Election Commission has not found any such impropriety. I will provide documentation for each question.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa had earlier warned that criticizing the ECP on social media or in other media platforms is insufficient. The electoral commission had previously informed the party that it had issued a show-cause notice regarding intra-party polls when the PTI was still in power. However, the party then gave various excuses for why it had not conducted the surveys.

Read More: “PTI bat symbol”: SC hears ECP’s appeal of the PHC ruling

“When the PTI was in government, the Election Commission paid attention to it,” he said.

He questioned the PTI attorney, “Was the Election Commission an independent constitutional body in your government, which has now become subordinate to someone?”

During the hearing, the chief justice said that since the Election Act hasn’t been challenged, the court won’t discuss it.

The PTI, according to Barrister Zafar, is not contesting the Election Act.

SC revokes lifetime disqualification, paves the way for key political figures

The court declared that individuals disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) cannot be permanently barred from contesting elections.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has overturned the lifetime disqualification of lawmakers, bringing a ray of hope for political heavyweights eyeing participation in the upcoming polls on February 8.

The court declared that individuals disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) cannot be permanently barred from contesting elections. This pivotal ruling set aside the court’s earlier judgment in the Samiullah Baloch case and emphasized that no one should face a lifetime ban from running for office.

The seven-member larger bench, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, conducted live-streamed hearings on the case, culminating in a 6-1 majority verdict, with Justice Yahya Afridi dissenting from his colleagues.

The legal intricacies emerged following amendments to the Elections Act 2017 by the parliament, limiting the disqualification period for politicians to five years instead of a lifetime, contrary to the previous Supreme Court order.

The latest decision carries significant implications, allowing figures like Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Jahangir Tareen, chief of the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), to participate in the electoral process, having faced lifetime disqualification.

Read more: The Supreme Court investigates the bleak realities of enforced disappearances

Chief Justice Isa highlighted the urgency of the release of the order, considering the issuance of the election schedule. In a previous hearing, he emphasized that a lifelong ban from parliament was “against Islam,” citing a verse from Surah Sajdah, which emphasizes that individuals are not inherently bad, but their deeds define them.

This development not only marks a significant shift in the legal landscape but also opens doors for broader political participation and representation, setting the stage for a more inclusive democratic process in Pakistan.

Read more: CJP Isa seeks to revise history in ZA Bhutto’s reference

“It is Supreme Court, We are not running anyone’s political campaign” CJP tells PTI councel

CJP-led three-member bench instructs PTI counsel to submit response to ECP report and adjourns hearing until Monday.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa stated on Monday that the Supreme Court does not run anyone’s campaign.

The CJP’s statements came during a hearing on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) contempt of court petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for allegedly failing to create a level playing field for the party ahead of the February 8 polls.

“We are the Supreme Court, not the government, and we are not running anyone’s campaign,” the CJP stated after PTI counsel Latif Khosa protested that party members were being politically targeted ahead of the February 8 elections.

Read More: Level-playing field hearing resumes today

The case was considered by a three-member bench chaired by Chief Justice Isa and including Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Musrat Hilali.

The proceedings in the case were streamed live on the Supreme Court’s website and YouTube channel.

PTI lawyer Latif Khosa argued on behalf of Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, who filed the appeal in court.

Read More: Live telecast of cases to increase transparency in the justice system: CJP

At the last hearing, the Supreme Court issued letters to the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP), Chief Secretary, and Advocate General, requesting a response to the PTI’s charges of harassment of its candidates and party leaders.

On December 22, the Supreme Court asked the ECP to address PTI’s concerns about the equal playing field in the former ruling party’s case.

In accordance with the court’s ruling, ECP representatives met with the PTI team and told them that their issues will be addressed in the run-up to the February 8 national election.

However, on December 26, the party filed a new lawsuit seeking contempt of court proceedings against the ECP for allegedly failing to maintain a level playing field.

The ECP had responded to the PTI’s charges of a level playing field the day before.

Level-playing field hearing resumes today

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court resumed hearing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) appeal on Monday, seeking contempt proceedings against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for allegedly failing to provide the party with an equal playing field ahead of the February 8 polls.

The case is being heard by a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and consisting of Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musrat Hilali.

The proceedings in the case are being streamed live on the Supreme Court’s website and YouTube channel.

Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, who filed the appeal, is represented in court by PTI lawyer Latif Khosa.

During the previous hearing, the Supreme Court issued letters to the Punjab inspector general of police (IGP), chief secretary, and advocate general, requesting responses to the PTI’s allegations of harassment of their candidates and party leaders.

On December 22, the Supreme Court asked the ECP to address PTI’s concerns about a level playing field in the suit filed by the former ruling party.

In accordance with the court’s ruling, ECP representatives met with the PTI team and told them that their issues will be addressed in the run-up to the February 8 national election.

However, on December 26, the party filed a new lawsuit seeking contempt of court proceedings against the ECP for allegedly failing to maintain a level playing field.

Read More: The Supreme Court investigates the bleak realities of enforced disappearances

Dr Syed Asif Hussain, Special Secretary to the ECP, dismissed the PTI’s claims that it was not given a level playing field for the February 8 elections and asked the Supreme Court to “dismiss the contempt petition with a penalty” on Sunday.

The ECP official stated this in response to the PTI petition, which asked the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the ECP secretary, inspectors general of police (IGPs), chief secretaries of the four provinces, and the interior secretary for failing to comply with the apex court order issued on December 22, 2023.

According to the ECP special secretary, the commission met with the PTI delegation and heard their objections on the order of the Supreme Court. He stated that their issues had been handled and that they had been promised that all parties and candidates would be treated equally and without discrimination.

Hussain stated that the electoral authority had issued complaints-related orders to the Islamabad chief commissioner, all four chief secretaries, provincial election commissioners, and IGPs.

Read More: Live telecast of cases to increase transparency in the justice system: CJP 

He further stated that the orders were issued to the district and returning officers. According to the special secretary, the PTI filed 33 complaints between December 26, 2023, and all of them were investigated. The IGP, chief secretary, and ROs have submitted reports on the PTI allegations, he said.

Live telecast of cases to increase transparency in the justice system: CJP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa said on Saturday that live telecasting of Supreme Court proceedings would allow ordinary citizens to watch the administration of justice and bring more transparency to the system.

During a ceremony at the Federal Judicial Academy, the chief justice stated that those studying law could benefit greatly from watching court hearings, emphasizing the importance of technology as an effective tool for accessing knowledge.

Read More: SC has no authority to compel Parliament to pass legislation: CJP

He added that the use of technology has also saved previous sources, referring to projects launched in Punjab and other regions.

Chief Justice Isa emphasized the importance of restoring the common man’s trust in the delivery of justice, recalling that he was the first to order live transmission of a Practice and Procedure Act case after taking office.

“Justice should not only be delivered, but also seen,” said the chief justice, urging the audience to treat all parties fairly.

Read More: No room for lifetime disqualification in constitution: CJP

He regretted that the court staff had not previously received the respect they deserved. The Supreme Court staff, on the other hand, would now receive training at the Federal Judicial Academy.

Pakistan’s top judge praised Supreme Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah for instituting changes in the academy, where judges receive training in stages.

He reminded the audience that civil judges are the first in the legal system to hear from applicants. The chief justice stated that better trained civil judges would reduce the burden of cases on the courts.

The comments about transparency and trust came as the top judiciary has been heavily criticized in the past for “judicial activism” and its role in deposing elected prime ministers while strengthening dictators.

No room for lifetime disqualification in constitution: CJP

ISLAMABAD – On Friday, the Pakistani Supreme Court reopened its hearing in the case concerning politicians’ lifetime disqualification under Article 62(1)(f).

The case is being heard by a seven-member SC larger bench, which is led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and includes Justices Mansoor Ali Shah, Yahya Afridi, Aminuddin Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Musarrat Hilali.

The Chief Justice stated during the hearing that lifetime disqualification is not permitted by the Constitution. It’s merely a theory that I made up.

“Mistakes on nomination papers can’t make a candidate ineligible for lifetime,” the speaker continued.

Read More: CJP expresses his disapproval with the PHC’s order to remove RO

According to Justice Isa, parliament shouldn’t pass laws that are so difficult for the average person to understand. Sadly, he said, people weren’t taken into consideration. He clarified that the case’s hearing was about national issues rather than personal or political matters.

“The individual matters will be heard by another bench next week,” said the judge.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the Chief Justice made an observation regarding whether the legislation of 326 parliamentarians could be abolished by the wisdom of five people. He said that it was also against Islam to be disqualified for life.

He said it was impossible to view the laws that the elected members of parliament had introduced with hatred. He pointed out that the period of disqualification was not mentioned in Article 62(1)(f).

According to the CJP, the court intended to resolve the matter quickly in order to avoid any confusion among returning officers regarding the Election Act and in preparation for the general elections.

Read More: SC has no authority to compel Parliament to pass legislation: CJP

Attorney Ali Imran of the Supreme Court Bar Association announced that they were dropping their lawsuit. “The five-year disqualification and the Election Act are supported by the SCBA,” he continued.

We’ve halted the hearing to observe Friday prayers.

SC has no authority to compel Parliament to pass legislation: CJP

Islamabad:  According to Pakistan’s Chief Justice, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the Supreme Court is not authorized to order parliament to pass legislation on missing persons.

“Every institution is obligated to work within its scope. “The Supreme Court cannot request that Parliament legislate on any issue,” said CJP.

Read More: CJP expresses his disapproval with the PHC’s order to remove RO

The case of missing persons was heard by a three-member bench led by CJP Isa. The bench includes Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Musarrat Hilali.

The hearing was televised live.

According to Justice Mazhar, a commission for missing persons has already been established. Justice Isa inquired about the commission, and Khushdil Khan Malik responded that one had been formed, led by retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

Read More: Justice Sardar Tariq Masood takes the oath as Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan

Justice Isa questioned how a court could order parliament to pass legislation. “Which article of the Constitution gives the court the authority to order parliament to legislate?” “Every institution must operate within its mandate,” he stated.

Justice Mazhar stated that the court lacked the authority to legislate. Its only power is to declare a law null and void.

The chief justice inquired about Aitzaz Ahsan’s reservations. Shoaib Shaheen, his counsel, responded that the issue of people disappearing and then reappearing was raised.

CJP expresses his disapproval with the PHC’s order to remove RO

ISLAMABAD:  The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a Peshawar High Court (PHC) order suspending the appointment of the PK-91 returning officer (RO) – a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly constituency – was invalid.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa stated in his remarks that the tactics being used show that some people do not want elections to be held in the country, adding that he could not understand how and why such orders were issued.

Read More: Sirajul Haq Advocates Transparent Elections to Rescue the Country

He questioned why the appointment of a RO was relevant to the petitioner, on whose request the provincial top court had cancelled the appointment made by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which had filed a petition with the Supreme Court to have the orders declared null and void.

“Is he someone’s relative?” The chief justice inquired and observed why such petitions should not be subject to a hefty fine. “Do you want elections to be canceled?”

Another member of the bench, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, stated that the PHC orders would halt the scrutiny of 19 nomination papers submitted for PK-91 in Kohat, a district located just south of Peshawar, from which the southern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa begins.

Read More: ‘Bat’ in or out: the PHC reserves its decision on the ECP’s review petition

The chief justice, on the other hand, stated that the RO was appointed after the person who had previously been assigned the task became ill. He noted that the PHC did not even bother to notify the ECP before canceling its decision.

It is one of the most recent Supreme Court decisions to validate the authority of the ECP – a constitutional body tasked with managing election-related matters throughout the country.

Previously, the Supreme Court overturned a single-member bench Lahore High Court (LHC) order aimed at halting the appointment of administrative officers as returning officers and other election staff – a swift move followed by the ECP’s announcement of the February 8 polling date.

Later, the Supreme Court (SC) expressed its displeasure with a Balochistan High Court (BHC) decision to change the delimitation of two provincial assembly constituencies, claiming that the ECP was the sole authority to carry out the exercise.

SC Practice and Procedure Act detailed verdict issued

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday released detailed verdict on SC Practice and Procedure Act, 2023.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa has written detailed verdict of the case comprises of 22 pages.

The case was heard by 15-member full-court and a short judgment was announced in October.

Ten members of the full court bench comprised of 15 judges had declared the legislation passed by the Parliament with reference to the powers of the Chief Justice as correct.

According to the decision Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act has no impact over the fundamental rights, the constitution empowers the Parliament for legislation.

“There are constitutional requirements of mutual respect among the institutions,” the judgment read. “It is requirement of mutual respect that the supreme court not to replace the parliament’s opinion with its own opinion”.

“The Practice and Procedure Act has not been against the constitution or the freedom of judiciary”. “This law will assist in access to the transparency and justice,” verdict read. “Judiciary will be more empowered with the committee comprises of the Chief Justice and two senior judges of the court”.

Read more: US Supreme Court rejects expedited decision regarding Trump’s claim of immunity

“The Practice and Procedure Act offers right to appeal for the cases under Article 184/3. The right to appeal against a decision is a requirement under the laws worldwide as well as it is requirement of the Sharia,” according to verdict.

“Considering points raised by the petitioners and other points will be an academic debate.”

Read more: Objections raised against nomination papers of Imran, Maryam, Bilawal

“The court issued a restraining order before the Practice and Procedure legislation becomes an Act,” court said.

The constitution does not allow unlimited powers to the supreme court. “The constitution does not delegate any authority to chief justice to take lone decisions. The constitution not referring the chief justice as the ‘master of roosters’,” judgment read.

“‘Master’ will be a derogatory word in the constitution based on principles of democracy. ‘Master’ word depicts slave thinking, which is against the constitution and Sharia principles”.

Saqib Nisar’s home attacked with hand grenade

In a shocking incident, the residence of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, in Lahore faced an attack with a hand grenade on Wednesday. The explosion, which occurred in the garage of Justice Nisar’s home in Garden Town, resulted in extensive damage, including shattered windows.

Despite the gravity of the incident, the former Chief Justice and his family members are reported to be completely safe, as confirmed by Punjab Police Chief Dr. Usman Anwar. The resilience of Justice Saqib Nisar amid this act of violence stands as a testament to his strength and composure.

Two police officers, identified as Muhammad Amir and Khurram Shahzad, sustained injuries in the explosion while fulfilling their duty to protect the former Chief Justice’s residence. Their courage and dedication underscore the challenges faced by law enforcement personnel in ensuring the safety of public figures.

As the investigation into the attack unfolds, the incident highlights the need for robust security measures to safeguard the homes of prominent figures. The attack on Justice Saqib Nisar’s residence serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to uphold the principles of justice and ensure the safety of those who have served the nation in significant capacities.

Read more: Judge Ahsan is informed by CJP that special benches aren’t created for specific cases

The outpouring of support for Justice Nisar and condemnation of such acts of violence reflects the unity of the community against attempts to disrupt peace and stability. The former Chief Justice’s unwavering commitment to justice and the rule of law remains unshaken in the face of adversity, setting an example for resilience in the pursuit of a just society.

Justice Sardar Tariq Masood takes the oath as Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan

Acting Chief Justice is sworn in by Senior Judge Justice Ijazul Ahsan

ISLAMABAD – On Saturday, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, the most senior member of the Supreme Court, took the oath of office as Pakistan’s acting chief justice.

Acting Chief Justice Sardar Tariq Masood was sworn in by senior judge Justice Ijazul Ahsan. High court and supreme court judges were present at the event.

Justice Sardar Tariq Masood’s appointment as Pakistan’s acting chief justice was approved by President Dr. Arif Alvi one-day prior. A notification to this effect had also been issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Read More: In their meeting with the UNSG, COAS restates Pakistan’s position on the Palestinian issue

Earlier, during the supreme court’s winter break, Pakistan’s Chief Justice, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, departed the country for another country. In his absence, Pakistan’s chief justice will be Justice Sardar Tariq Masood.

CJP Isa-led bench to hear govt’s plea against SC verdict on NAB amendments

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa-led larger bench will take up the federal government’s intra-court appeal challenging the top court’s verdict to annul accountability law amendments on October 31 (Tuesday).

A three-member larger bench of the apex court — headed by then Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah — on Sept 15 by a majority of 2-1 had restored corruption cases against the public office-holders after striking down some of the amendments made by the PDM government to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, declaring it against the rights pertaining to the public interest enshrined in the Constitution.

Subsequently, the federal government filed an appeal under Section 5 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 against the apex court’s order.

The five-member larger bench headed by CJP Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Amin-Ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minullah and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi will hear the government’s appeal.

The top court has also issued notices to lawyers.

The government had contended that by setting aside the law passed by parliament and making amendments to the NAB law, the apex court had crossed its powers.

It was further contended that parliament was competent to legislate adding that it had enacted a law making amendments to the NAB law.

“If a legislation is repugnant to the fundamental rights of citizens, then the court can set it aside,” it contended but added that the amendments made to the NAB law did not affect the fundamental rights of citizens.

After the verdict, the NAB reopened cases against political bigwigs including the former prime ministers.

Read more: NAB Amendments case: Govt challenges SC verdict

Last year in June, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had filed a petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution praying for annulling the amendments for being “ultra vires to the Constitution”.

The amendments made to the NAB law were struck down by the court including the one which limited the NAB jurisdiction to cases involving over Rs500 million and one which allowed the accused to claim the amount of plea bargain deposited after being acquitted.

The judgment authored by former CJP Bandial declared the petition of Imran Khan as maintainable on account of violating Articles 9, 14, 24 (protection of property rights) and 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution and for affecting the public at large because the unlawful diversion of state resources from public development projects to private use leads to poverty, declining quality of life and injustice.

Bill limiting CJP powers ‘sustained’ with 10-5 majority

In a major development, the Supreme Court on Wednesday “sustained” the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 — which deals with the chief justice’s powers — as “constitutional” with a 10-5 majority.

The full court, comprising all 15 judges of the apex court, had reserved the verdict earlier today on the pleas challenging the law after conducting five marathon hearings.

While reading out the order, CJP Isa noted that five members of the bench — Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha A Malik, and Justice Shahid Waheed — had opposed the law.

The CJP also mentioned that by a majority of 8-7, sub-section 2 of section 5 of the act, which deals with granting the right of appeal retrospectively, has been declared ‘ultra vires’ or against the Constitution.

Read more:Intelligence Bureau moves SC to withdraw Faizabad sit-in review plea

What is the law?

The law gives the power of taking sou motu notice to a three-member committee comprising senior judges including the chief justice. It further aimed to have transparent proceedings in the apex court and includes the right to appeal.

Regarding the constitution of benches, the Act stated that every cause, matter, or appeal before the apex court would be heard and disposed of by a bench constituted by a committee comprising the CJP and the two senior-most judges.

It added that the decisions of the committee would be taken by a majority.

Regarding exercising the apex court’s original jurisdiction, the Act said that any matter invoking the use of Article 184(3) would first be placed before the committee.

On matters where the interpretation of the Constitution is required, the Act said the committee would compose a bench comprising no less than five apex court judges.

About appeals for any verdict by an apex court bench that exercised Article 184(3)‘s jurisdiction, the Act said that the appeal would lie within 30 days of the bench’s order to a larger SC bench. It added that the appeal would be fixed for hearing within a period not exceeding 14 days.

The Act additionally said that a party would have the right to appoint its counsel of choice for filing a review application under Article 188 of the Constitution.

Furthermore, it states that an application pleading urgency or seeking interim relief, filed in a cause, appeal, or matter, shall be fixed for hearing within 14 days from the date of its filing.

However, the law had the provision that this right of appeal would also extend retrospectively to those aggrieved persons against whom an order was made under Article 184(3) prior to the commencement of the Act, but the court has struck it down.

Parliament passed law to regulate top judge powers with ‘good intentions,’ CJP Isa observes

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa has observed that parliament passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 — the law seeking to regulate discretionary powers of the country’s top judge — with “good intentions”.

The CJP’s remarks came as the Supreme Court’s full court resumed hearing the petitions against the SC law on Monday. The hearing of the case is being broadcast live on state-run PTV.

During the hearing, the CJP expressed displeasure after a petitioner cited the US court’s verdict as precedent to challenge the amendments in the SC law.

CJP Isa-led full-court bench consists of 15 judges of the Supreme Court including Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijaz Ul 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.

After hearing today’s arguments, the CJP adjourned the hearing till 11:30am tomorrow and asked the lawyers to keep their arguments concise.

Can parliament correct CJP’s mistake?

At the outset of the hearing, the CJP told the petitioners’ counsels to conclude their arguments early as the top court wanted to conclude proceedings of the case today.

“At least cite the decision of the US Supreme Court. Our standards have stooped so low that we are now citing a verdict of a New Jersey court,” the CJP remarked after Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Zuberi quoted a verdict to defend his objections to the law.

“This is not even a decision,” CJP Isa added.

CJP Isa asked if the parliament could correct a mistake made by the country’s top judge.

The CJP directed his question toward the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Zuberi, while he presented his arguments pertaining to one of the pleas today on behalf of the association.

“If a Supreme Court chief justice made a mistake, can the Parliament correct it or not?” CJP Isa asked.

Responding to the chief justice, Zuberi said he was just coming to Article 184 (3) and agreed that it continues to be misused.

The CJP asked Zuberi if Article 184 (3) was used in the right or wrong way in the past, responding to which he said it had been misused and there should be an appeal against it.

The chief justice said that the court is hearing the current case under the same article.

“If the Supreme Court expands the scope of Article 184 (3) in cases, it is right, but it is wrong if the Parliament does the same?” CJP Isa asked.

Justice Mandokhail asked Zuberi regarding the fundamental rights that were being affected by the law.

Justice Minallah, in the course of the hearing, remarked that the Parliament has the power to expand or restrict the apex court’s jurisdiction.

“Can Parliament not legislate for fundamental rights?” he asked, addressing the SCBA president.

Justice Ahsan remarked that the question in the case is that of authority.

“Tell me, no matter how good the law is, does the Parliament have the power to make rules for the Supreme Court?” he asked Zuberi.

In his query, Justice Minallah asked if the Supreme Court is violating the right to access to justice, can the Parliament not intervene then?

“You have failed to argue the admissibility of this case,” he said, addressing the SCBA president.

‘Our past is very rotten’: CJP Isa

Addressing Zuberi, both CJP Isa and Justice Ahsan delivered back-to-back and contrasting remarks regarding the Parliament’s powers.

Justice Ahsan said there will be no end to the Parliament’s powers, once the door is opened for it to interfere in the Supreme Court’s matters.

“The constitution cannot operate like this,” he said.

The chief justice, on the other hand, said: “Look at the past, one person comes and turns the Parliament into a rubberstamp.”

He added that all this does not happen in the US.

“Our past is very rotten,” the CJP said.

Justice Hilali, meanwhile, said the door of legislation is being opened with such a clear majority.

“The door is being opened by directly amending the Constitution through simple majority,” remarked Justice Akhtar.

The CJP asked Zuberi to end his arguments before taking a 20-miute break.

‘CJP’s powers listed in Constitution’

After returning to the hearing, lawyer Adnan Khan, who was representing a petitioned named Amir Sadiq, began his arguments, rejecting the Parliament’s powers to make SC rules by act.

“The framers of the Constitution deliberately did not give Parliament the power to alter the rules of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Khan added that through the SC law, the chief justice’s office has been made redundant by the Parliament.

“The Supreme Court stands on two bases, one is the chief justice and the other is the rest of the judges,” he said.

“What is the need to call the full court in this case then, only the chief justice would have heard it,” Justice Mandokail remarked.

The CJP, addressing Khan, said the powers given to the chief justice are listed in the Constitution.

“Apart from the Supreme Court, where has the chief justice been given sole powers?” he asked the counsel.

“The Constitution says that the chief justice himself can form benches without any consultation,” Khan replied.

He added that the powers of the CJP will be useless if two judges refuse to form a bench and only want to do chamber work.

Justice Minallah asked Khan which of his fundamental rights were being affected by the law.

“Parliament has no power to legislate, all fundamental rights are affected by it,” he responded, adding that Article 4 of the Constitution pertaining to access to justice was being violated because of it.

The CJP asked Khan is there was any law or Sharia law regarding the lack of right to appeal.

“Where in the law or Shariah is it mentioned that the judge’s decision will be final? Give me a reference,” CJP Isa remarked.

“I will submit the reference,” Khan said, concluding his arguments.

‘SC should hear public interest cases’

In his argument, Muhammad Shahid Rana, the lawyer and petitioner himself, maintained who would the appeal go to if the 15 judges make a decision.

“If 15 judges will decide, then the appeal will not be [made] here, it will go to Allah,” the CJP remarked.

The lawyer then said that appeals to the Supreme Court are made under Article 185. “An appeal under Article 185 cannot be made under Article 184.”

“We will give you the answer to that in the decision,” CJP Isa remarked.

He asked if all the decisions made within the scope of Article 184 (3) are correct.

“The Supreme Court should hear cases of public interest, not special interest, under Article 184(3),” the lawyer replied.

‘Parliament can legislate on Federal Legislative Entries’

The CJP then summoned the attorney general to the rostrum. However, he told the SC that the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) counsel wanted to present his arguments, after which the lawyer Zahid Fakhruddin G Ibrahim took the rostrum.

“The legislative authority related to the Supreme Court comes from Article 142. The Constitution also does not empower the Parliament to legislate for the Supreme Court,” he said.

He asked the court to look at Article 191 with entries 55, 59 of the Federal Legislative List.

Justice Malik asked the counsel if the power to legislate on the rules been given. “There is a difference between Article 188 and Article 191.”

“In Article 191, the SC does not have the power to make its own rules, it only recognises the right to make rules,” he said.

Ibrahim said he wanted to present arguments regarding the right to appeal before the court took a lunch break.

“Parliament has the power to legislate on Federal Legislative Entries under Article 142 (2),” the lawyer said, after the hearing resumed.

“Article 191 under legislative authority says Supreme Court rules can be changed by law,” Justice Shah remarked.

‘Slave of the Constitution’

Justice Ahsan asked how was the scope of the law expanded by giving the right of appeal and how something can be added to the SC’s jurisdiction through legislation.

Justice Mazhar also inquired if the jurisdiction’s extension can be read in conjunction with Article 175 clause (4) or not.

“Is the appeal a matter of law or is it a fundamental right?” Justice Ahsan asked.

“Appeal is a fundamental right, Islam also grants it and the right should be given,” the lawyer said.

Read more: CJP Isa to develop ‘comprehensive policy’ on pending cases, formation of benches

Justice Minallah said lawyers have, several times in the past, talked about the SC misusing its powers under Article 184(3).

“Can the jurisdiction be extended by an act of the parliament or does it require a constitutional amendment? Can other articles of the Constitution be amended without constitutional amendment?” asked Justice Waheed.

The CJP asked Ibrahim what will happen if the parliament abolishes 184 (3) through a constitutional amendment.

The lawyer told the judges to not see the law as an attack on the independence of the judiciary.

Justice Ahsan said the “only way to agree to the act is to close one’s eyes”.

“This court should not convey the message that the Constitution and law depend on who the chief justice is,” CJP Isa said, adding that the Constitution and law do not depend on the intention of the country’s top judge.

“If this is accepted, it will be the destruction of the Constitution and law,” he added.

The chief justice maintained that he is the “slave of the Constitution”.

During the hearing, CJP Isa allowed just two lawyers to be present at the rostrum.

“A hearing has been ordered in open court on this application. If something sensitive comes up, then in-camera arguments will be held in consultation with lawyers,” he said.

Responding to which, advocate Shah Khawar said that the lawyers will assist the court and inform them about reading a certain part of the statement by itself.

The PML-Q lawyer completed his arguments, after which PML-Nawaz counsel Salahuddin Ahmed arrived at the rostrum.

Case background

On April 13, an eight-member bench of the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the law, which deals with the powers of the top judge in matters of public interest and seeks to limit the suo moto powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

During the previous hearing in June, the similarities between the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023 — which relates to the right of appeal in suo motu cases — and the SC Practice and Procedure Act were discussed with Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan saying that parliament could look into “harmonising” the two laws.

Then-CJP Umar Ata Bandial — while he welcomed the proposal — said that the federal government should take the top court into consideration when making any legislation related to the judiciary.

Full court to resume hearing pleas against SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 tomorrow

A full court bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising all 15 judges of the Supreme Court — will resume hearing petitions challenging the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act tomorrow (Tuesday).

The state television is all set to live broadcast the hearing of the closely followed case as PTV has installed its cameras inside Court­room No.1. The hearing will begin at 9:30am.

The full court bench is headed by CJP Isa and includes 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.

At the last hearing, the apex court’s full court had sought replies from all parties by September 25. However, the federal government submitted its written submission on September 28 as Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan was out of the country in connection with a case.

‘Law ensures freedom of judiciary’

In its written reply to the apex court, the Centre stated that the judiciary’s freedom was ensured by the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023.

In response to the question if the impugned law is sustained, what will be the fate of the cases heard by benches constituted by the chief justice after the enactment of the impugned Act? the Centre stated: “For the purposes of addressing the query it is important to draw a distinction between benches which were constituted and have rendered judgments and those benches which are still hearing petitions and have not rendered final judgments. In the event the impugned act is sustained, the former stands to be saved under past and closed transactions and the latter will merit for the benches to be reconstituted under Sections 2 and 3 of the impugned act and the proceedings in such cases be held afresh.”

It further said that the right of appeal has been accorded under Section 5 of the Impugned Act against judgments arising out of the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

“The original jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) is sui generis in nature, and cannot in the traditional sense be bifurcated into criminal or civil,” it added.

‘Enlargement of jurisdiction’

To another query, the government said: “We believe that there could not be any other view except that the Constitution favours enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and conferment of supplemental powers.”

Under the scheme of the Constitution, the top court is empowered to deal with the matters falling within various types of the jurisdiction conferred upon it, i.e., original, appellate, advisory and review, read the statement.

“Parliament has also enlarged the territorial jurisdiction of the SC and included within its jurisdiction the territories of Provincially Administered Tribal Areas of Chitral, Dir, Kalam, Swat and Malakand Protected Area, through the Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction A certain Tribal areas) Act, 1973.”

PML-N seeks dismissal of pleas challenging SC Act

In its concise statement, Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) pleaded with the top court to dismiss the petitions challenging the law clipping CJP’s powers.

On behalf of the PML-N, its counsel Salahuddin Ahmed submitted a written reply to the top court regarding to the matter.

“The PML-N contends the SC Act 2023 is intra vires the Constitution and is good law. As such, all the instant petitions challenging the same may be dismissed and the interim order passed by this court on April 4, 2023, may be vacated,” read the statement.

It further said that the interim order passed by the Supreme Court to the effect that “the Act that comes into being shall not have, take or b given effect nor be acted upon in any manner” is unprecedented and contrary to the jurisprudence of the apex court.

‘SC Act not an attack on CJP rights’

At the previous hearing, CJP Isa observed that parliament’s SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 was not an attempt to clip the top judge’s rights by devolving the suo motu powers to a three-member committee.

The hearing was seen as historic because, for the first time in the country’s judicial history, the Supreme Court allowed live telecast of proceedings on the petitions challenging the contentious law seeking to regulate suo motu powers of the country’s top judge.

‘Do not want absolute powers’

During the hearing, the CJP remarked: “This court runs on the taxes of the people.”

If this law is struck down, the chief justice will benefit, the CJP said. However, he added: “A judge takes an oath to abide by the Constitution and the law.”

He further observed that as the top judge of the country, he did not want absolute authority. “$6.5 billion were lost due to the court’s decision in the Reko Diq case, As chief justice, I do not want such authority,” the CJP remarked.

“I have not sworn to obey the judgments of the Supreme Court. I have taken oath to uphold the law and the Constitution,” he said.

‘Law not against SC’

After a brief hiatus, AGP Mansoor Awan appeared before the court and argued that the petitions were inadmissible.

He said that the law dealt with the powers of one office, not the entire judiciary, and aimed to bring “democratic transparency” to the institution.

He further contended that the law, au contraire to the claims of the petitioners, actually served in the public interest.

The AGP further argued that since no external check or institution was involved or imposed by the Act, it did not, in fact, curtail the power of the institution as a whole.

‘Mistake made in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto case’

During the course of proceedings, CJP Isa observed that there was also a public opinion that Article 184/3 was misused. The three-member bench nullified the Reko Diq agreement causing a loss of $6.5 billion to the country.

It was the opinion of the judges and it was not corrected, he added. The top judge admitted that they made mistakes. “Mistake was made in the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case.”

“We have a huge ego. We endorsed martial law,” the CJP remarked, adding that the judges should admit that they also made omissions.

CJP Isa continued, “We take suo motu notices over every matter then whey can’t on legislation about ourselves.”

In Bhutto’s case, the review petition was also heard by the same judges who handed him the death penalty, the top judge stated. “Our ego should not be so huge that we do not admit our mistake.”

At this, Justice Minallah asked if the masses filed petitions after the endorsement of martial law and said, “We should also be held accountable.”

Case background

On April 13, an eight-member bench of the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the law, which deals with the powers of the top judge in matters of public interest and seeks to limit the suo moto powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

During the previous hearing in June, the similarities between the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023 — which relates to the right of appeal in suo motu cases — and the SC Practice and Procedure Act were discussed with Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan saying that parliament could look into “harmonising” the two laws.

The then-CJP — while he welcomed the proposal — said that the federal government should take the top court into consideration when making any legislation related to the judiciary.

The law

The law gave the power of taking sou motu notice to a three-member committee comprising senior judges including the chief justice. It further aimed to have transparent proceedings in the apex court and includes the right to appeal.

Regarding the constitution of benches, the Act stated that every cause, matter or appeal before the apex court would be heard and disposed of by a bench constituted by a committee comprising the CJP and the two senior-most judges.

It added that the decisions of the committee would be taken by a majority.

Regarding exercising the apex court’s original jurisdiction, the Act said that any matter invoking the use of Article 184(3) would first be placed before the committee.

On matters where the interpretation of the Constitution is required, the Act said the committee would compose a bench comprising no less than five apex court judges.

About appeals for any verdict by an apex court bench that exercised Article 184(3)‘s jurisdiction, the Act said that the appeal would lie within 30 days of the bench’s order to a larger SC bench. It added that the appeal would be fixed for hearing within a period not exceeding 14 days.

It added that this right of appeal would also extend retrospectively to those aggrieved persons against whom an order was made under Article 184(3) prior to the commencement of the SC (Practice and Procedure), Act 2023, on the condition that the appeal was filed within 30 days of the Act’s commencement.

The Act additionally said that a party would have the right to appoint its counsel of choice for filing a review application under Article 188 of the Constitution.

Furthermore, it states that an application pleading urgency or seeking interim relief, filed in a cause, appeal or matter, shall be fixed for hearing within 14 days from the date of its filing.