ISLAMABAD: The coalition government led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has rejected an 8-member Supreme Court bench created to hear a petition challenging the Supreme Court (Procedure and Practice) Bill 2023.
The bench is led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and includes Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Muneeb Akhtar, Shahid Waheed, Muzahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, and Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi.
The ruling coalition opposed the plan and labeled it ‘controversial’ in a statement issued Thursday following a consultative meeting.
The move, according to the statement, has never been witnessed before in the history of Pakistan and the court. The government parties allege that it is an attempt to undermine the Supreme Court’s credibility and render the constitutional process of justice “meaningless.”
According to the statement, respectable Supreme Court justices have also expressed their opposition to such activities.
The ruling parties were disappointed that no judges from smaller provinces such as Balochistan or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were appointed to the bench. They described the measure as an ‘assault’ on the authority of parliament, which they will oppose.
On Thursday (today), an eight-member bigger bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial will hear constitutional challenges against the Supreme Court (SC) Practice & Procedure Bill.
The Joint Sitting of Parliament passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 on Monday, despite strong protests from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislators. The bill intends to limit the chief justice of Pakistan’s (CJP) suo motu powers of office.
Azam Nazeer Tarar, Minister for Law and Justice, introduced the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, which was approved by Parliament.
It is worth noting that, in accordance with Article 75 of the Constitution, President Dr. Arif Alvi returned the ‘judicial reforms’ bill to Parliament for review.
The legislative proposal was approved by the joint sitting of Parliament. Former Minister for Law and Justice and Senator Farooq H. Naek, as well as JUI-F Senator Kamran Murtaza, remarked on the various aspects of the bill and agreed that it was the proper moment for legislation to ensure judicial changes.