The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz-Quaid (PML-Q) sought on Monday the dismissal of petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023.
In a concise statement submitted before the Supreme Court, PML-Q lawyer Zahid F Ebrahim stated that Section 3 of the said Act provides an in-built safety valve mechanism for exercise of original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
“This Court under the leadership of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed have actively supported the exercise of the original jurisdiction of the Court under Article 184(3).
“That each of the above chief justice’s legacy in many ways has been affected from the fallout respectively from the Steel Mill’s Case, the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI Hospital) Case and the Nasla Tower Case.
“Each have had significant impact on their legacies, unfortunately not salutary. Hamid Khan’s “A History of the Judiciary in Pakistan” provides a scathing indictment in relation to many aspects of these tenures.
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“Yet, undoubtedly, perhaps if Section 2 and 3 of the 2023 Act had been legislated earlier, we could have avoided consequences of the exercise of jurisdiction in these cases by the then Chief Justices.”
Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act 2023
The law seeks to curtail the suo motu powers of the CJP and introduces changes in the proceedure of constituting benches.
A full court is hearing petitions filed against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, a piece of legislation that seeks to regulate the powers of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP).
CJP Qazi Faez Isa will be consulting with his two senior most colleagues with regard to constitution of benches and listing of cases according to the law whose operation was suspended by a larger bench led by former CJP Umar Ata Bandial on April 13.
Last week, the apex court issued a brief written order with regard to its eight-hour long proceedings – on September 18 – on petitions filed against the law. These proceedings were live telecast for the first time in the country’s history.
The order noted that in view of the challenges thrown to the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 and the fact that the matter is pending adjudication, CJP Isa will be consulting with his two senior most colleagues with regard to constitution of benches and listing of cases.
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“Both of them [Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan] have agreed [to this consultation],” it added.
The order stated that as a full court has been formed to hear the petitions, the applications seeking formation of a full court “have borne fruit” and are, therefore, disposed of.
The court stated that on September 18, it partially heard the counsel for the petitioners as well as Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan regarding the question of the petitions’ maintainability.
The order said the AGP informed the bench that he had to attend a very important meeting in Vienna with regard to the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, requesting the court to hear his arguments on the merits of the case later, upon his return to the country.
“During the hearing a number of queries were made by different members of the bench and the learned counsels and the AGP sought time to submit written replies. They and the other counsels/[parties] may submit their replies/submissions by or before September 25, 2023.”
The apex court is to resume hearing on petitions challenging the Act on October 3.