ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has concluded hearings on the pleas challenging the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, which limits the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa has announced that the court will now discuss the matter and, if a consensus is reached, they will announce their decision; otherwise, the verdict will be reserved.
This law transfers the authority to take sou motu notice under Article 184(3) to a three-member committee, including senior judges, instead of resting solely with the Chief Justice.
All petitioners, including political parties, have presented their arguments. With the exception of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), political parties have voiced support for the act. The Supreme Court Bar Association has opposed the law, while the Pakistan Bar Association has expressed its backing.
The Chief Justice led the full-court bench, consisting of multiple esteemed judges. Before concluding the hearing, the Chief Justice emphasized the importance of not pitting Parliament and the Supreme Court against each other. He advocated for cooperation between the institutions, highlighting that both Parliament and the Supreme Court are not considered enemies of each other.
The SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, enacted on April 21, 2023, was temporarily suspended by an eight-member bench earlier under former CJP Umar Ata Bandial’s direction. The Supreme Court now awaits the verdict on this law before proceeding with any cases under Article 184(3).
The hearing has addressed various legal aspects, including the Parliament’s authority to legislate and the impacts of the law on the judiciary’s independence. The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict in the near future.