Pak National Assembly Adopts Bill To Curtail Chief Justice Powers


Islamabad: Pakistan’s National Assembly on Wednesday adopted a bill aimed at curtailing the discretionary powers of the Chief Justice, a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that “history would not forgive us” if parliament did not enact laws to curtail the powers of the country’s top judge.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar presented ‘The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023’ in parliament on Tuesday night, which was approved by the Cabinet earlier in the evening.

“The National Assembly passes ‘The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023′,” the lower house announced in a tweet.

The development comes two days after two Supreme Court judges questioned the suo motu powers of the country’s top judge.

“It is being said that a constitutional amendment should be made,” Law Minister Tarar said. “I want them to know there is no need for a constitutional amendment.” North Waziristan lawmaker Mohsin Dawar introduced amendments which were accepted.

Earlier in the day, the Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved the cabinet’s proposed amendments.

Additional amendments included the right to appeal against the suo motu verdicts taken up to 30 days before the passing of the Lawyers’ Protection Act were included in the bill along with the amendment that any case that involves interpreting the Constitution will not have a bench with fewer than five judges, Dawn newspaper reported.

Regarding suo motu powers, the draft states that any matter invoking the exercise of original jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) shall be first placed before the committee of three senior-most judges.

“..If the Committee is of the view that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II of the Constitution is involved, it shall constitute a bench comprising not less than three judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan which may also include the members of the Committee, for adjudication of the matter,” it adds.

The legislation also allows appeals within 30 days of a verdict being issued on a suo motu case and enforces that a bench be constituted to hear such an appeal within 14 days.

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