Supreme Court of Pakistan’s Challenge to the Practice and Procedure Act 2023

Supreme Court of Pakistan's Challenge to the Practice and Procedure Act 2023
Image Courtesy DAWN

As the Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. Qazi Faez Isa steps in office, a significant development has taken place. Justice Isa along with all 14 judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) have undertaken to hear a series of petitions wherein Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 were challenged.

During the tenure of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) headed by Shehbaz Sharif, instant bill was introduced wherein the government intended to curb powers of Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan pertaining to constitutional matters of public significance. In Instant article, we’ll discuss different facets of Supreme Court of Pakistan’s challenge to the Practice and Produce Act 2023.

A New Era with Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa

In a surprising move, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan has constituted a Full Bench headed by the newly sworn-in Chief Justice, Qazi Faez Isa. The bench constituted by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Supreme Court comprises of all 14 Hon’ble Judges, making it Full Court.

Prominent lawyers throughout Pakistan have been asking to amend the Practice and Procedure Act 2023 for the past 10 odd years, The main purpose to constitute full court for the Practice and Procedure Act 2023 is the evaluate the constitutionality of the Act.

Supreme Court of Pakistan’s Challenge to the Practice and Procedure Act 2023: A Shift in Power

Through this hearing, Act in question shall alter the dynamics of the Supreme Court of Pakistan by restricting the powers of the Chief Justice Pakistan. Prominent most provision to be altered via this hearing, is the establishment of committee of the senior most Hon’ble Judges to resolve constitutional matters of public importance.

Earlier Chief Justice Pakistan (CJP) had the sole authority to constitute bench pertaining to cases falling in these provisions, but no longer will Chief Justice of Pakistan enjoy this authority to take suo-moto notice of events in Pakistan.

The Act’s Suspension and Constitutional Scrutiny

The Former Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial suspended the enforcement of the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act 2023 on April 13, 2023, citing it be in need of examination, whether the legislation made by the Federal Government amounts to constitutional deviation and violation.

In this regard, petitioners of the case, prayed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan, that the Act was passed in bad faith, thus bound to be declared illegal and without lawful authority.

The Role of the Federal Government

The petitioners apprised the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan that the federal government lacks the authority to interfere with or regulate the daily functioning of the Supreme Court of Pakistan or its Judges under the Constitution of Pakistan. Through these hearings, questions like separation of powers and the limits of legislative authority will be answered.

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Chief Justice Isa’s Vision and Call for Cooperation

After taking oath, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa straight away declined a guard of honor stressing upon the importance of cooperation and accessibility within the court. Moreover, Chief Justice Isa urged his staff to show compassions to the visiting litigants and treat them as guests of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Isa further expressed the need to address issues currently faced by the people and keep the doors of the top court open for all.

The Supreme Court’s review under the supervision of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, of the 2023 Practice and Procedure Act is a crucial moment in Pakistan’s legal backdrop. It is imperative to consider the potential impact on the balance of power and rule of law in the country, while deliberating the constitutionality of this legislation.

Supreme Court of Pakistan’s Challenge to the Practice and Procedure Act 2023

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