The legislature short of the opposition voices on Tuesday passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 which aims to ‘clip wings’ of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) over suo motu jurisdiction.
Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar tabled the bill in the National Assembly.
During his speech, the minister ruled out that ‘there was a need for a constitutional amendment’.
The bill read that it is expedient to make a law providing for certain practices and procedures of the Supreme Court.
The provisions of the bill include:
Constitution of benches: Every cause, appeal or matter before the Supreme Court shall be heard and disposed of by a bench constituted by the Committee comprising the Chief Justice of Pakistan and two senior most judges, in order of seniority.
Exercise of original jurisdiction by the Supreme Court: Any matter invoking exercise of original jurisdiction under clause (3) of Article 184 of the Constitution shall be first placed before the Committee constituted under section 2 for examination and if the Committee is of the view that a question of public importance with reference to 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.
Appeal: An appeal shall lie within thirty days from a final order of a bench of the Supreme Court who exercised jurisdiction under clause (3) of Article 184 of the Constitution to a larger bench of the Supreme Court and such application shall for hearing, be fixed within a period not exceeding fourteen days.
Right to appoint counsel of choice: For filing a review application under Article 188 of the Constitution, a party shall have the right to appoint counsel (an Advocate of the Supreme Court) of its choice.
Application for fixation of urgent matters: An application pleading urgency or seeking interim relief filed in a cause appeal or matter, shall be fixed for hearing within fourteen days from the date of filing.
Act to override other laws etc: The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rules or regulations for the time being in force or judgment of any Court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.