Police officers walk past the Supreme Court of Pakistan building, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 6, 2022. — Reuters

Police officers walk past the Supreme Court of Pakistan building, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 6, 2022. — Reuters
  • Larger bench led by CJP Bandial will conduct hearing on May 2.
  • SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 seeks to curtail CJP’s powers.
  • All stakeholders including ruling, opposition parties issued notices.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will resume hearing the petitions challenging the controversial Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, seeking to curtail the powers of the chief justice of Pakistan.

An eight-member larger bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed — will conduct the hearing on the case on May 2 (Tuesday).

The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council have been issued notice in this regard.

Moreover, the apex court has also issued notice to nine political parties including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

During the last hearing of the case on April 13, the top court had stopped the implementation of the act observing that if the law received the assent of the president, 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 9-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. 

Despite the top court’s stay order, the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 was notified as an act by the federal government on April 21.

PTI-backed President Dr Arif Alvi returned it twice to the parliament, saying the law travelled “beyond the competence of parliament”.

However, it was notified as a law because it was deemed to have been assented to by the president (with effect from April 21, 2023) under Clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The bill was approved by the federal cabinet on March 28 and then passed by both houses of parliament — the National Assembly and the Senate only for the president to refuse to sign it into law.

However, a joint session of parliament passed it again on April 10 with certain amendments amid a noisy protest by PTI lawmakers. It was then again referred to the president for his assent; however, he once again returned the bill without signing it.

According to the Constitution, in case the president refuses to sign the bill a second time around after the joint parliament’s approval his assent would have been deemed granted within 10 days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *