CJP Qazi Faez Isa Advocates Quranic Guidance Over US Examples in SC Law Challenge

CJP Qazi Faez Isa Advocates Quranic Guidance Over US Examples in SC Law Challenge

CJP Qazi Faez Isa Advocates Quranic Guidance

While hearing the petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa made an important statement emphasizing the importance of seeking guidance from the Quran rather than following the examples set by the United States. The statement came in response to the arguments of the learned counsel contesting the petition.

Consultation as a Quranic Imperative

CJP Qazi Faez Isa highlighted the Islamic principle of consultation among the people, stating that Islam encourages people to consult with other stakeholders before making important decisions concerning the day-to-day issues of general public. He cited Surah Al-Imran, which explicitly promotes the practice of consultation before reaching conclusion.

Constitutional Insights

During the proceedings, CJP Qazi Faez Isa directed the PTI Legal Counsel, Uzair Bhandari, to read the first page of the Constitution to stress upon a point. Bhandari pointed out that the Constitution stipulates that authority must be exercised within the limits prescribed by Allah, referring to it as “a sacred trust.” CJP Qazi Faez Isa questioned whether the Holy Quran could be a source of guidance in interpreting this point.

Right to Appeal and Consultation

CJP Qazi Faez Isa questioned the harm in allowing the right to appeal, drawing parallels with the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s practice of consultation. While arguing the case, Hon’ble Chief Justice Isa also noted that the parliament emphasizes in their amendment that the Chief Justice should decide matters through consultation rather than unilaterally taking decisions.

Full Court Bench & Final Hearing Date

The hearing was conducted by a full court bench, chaired by CJP Isa and comprising 14 Supreme Court judges. CJP Qazi Faez Isa announced that the final hearing on the SC law would be held on October 9, 2023 stressing upon the need for a prompt resolution due to the backlog of cases in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. CJP Qazi Faez Isa highlighted the backlog of cases to be one of the prime issues with courts of the Pakistan, needing immediate sorting.

Distribution of Powers

CJP Qazi Faez Isa clarified that the proposed law doesn’t curtail the powers of the Chief Justice but rather distributes them among his fellow judges, particularly affecting the Chief Justice and the two senior-most judges. This point has been a bone of contention between all the previous Hon’ble Chief Justices and Senior Puisne Judges. With the arrival of CJP Qazi Faez Isa, it is breath of fresh air to witness Supreme Court Hon’ble Judges not fighting for powers rather opts to distribute the powers among the top three judges specifically dealing with SUO MOTO issues falling within the ambit of Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

Parliament’s Role

While arguing the case, Petitioner’s lawyer, Advocate Supreme Court Ikram Chaudhry, argued that parliament had compromised judicial independence through the Act, but CJP Qazi Faez Isa questioned whether the parliament’s actions were grounds for legal arguments.

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Access to Justice

During the course of arguments, Justice Athar Minallah also jumped in and pointed out that the Act passed by the parliament aimed to make access to justice easier and inquired how it affected fundamental rights related to access to justice. The PTI Counsel, Advocate Supreme Court Uzair Bhandari, argued that rules took precedence over laws as per judicial precedents, leading to discussions on the hierarchy of laws and rules.

Right to Appeal Debate

CJP Qazi Faez Isa questioned whether the right to appeal, introduced by the SC law, should have been discussed and debated in parliament. The Supreme Court had earlier stayed the implementation of the law, which sought to limit the Suo Moto powers of the Hon’ble Chief Justice.

The Law’s Provisions

The SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 outlined changes, including the power to take Suo Motu notice being granted to a committee of senior judges. It also addressed the constitution of benches and the right to appeal in Suo Motu cases.

The hearing on the challenge to the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 remains a crucial moment in Pakistan’s legal landscape, with CJP Qazi Faez Isa emphasizing the need for consultation and Quranic guidance in judicial matters. The outcome of this case is expected to have far-reaching implications for the country’s judiciary and its pursuit of justice and independence, considered to be need of the hour.

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