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PM Shehbaz sharif chairs cabinet meeting on Punjab polls

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a federal cabinet meeting on Sunday to address the country’s “current political and constitutional crises.”

The meeting was held in Lahore, with the prime minister in charge, to devise a strategy to address the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 and the provision of funds for Punjab elections.

The majority of cabinet members participated in the cabinet meeting via video link.

According to sources, the federal cabinet meeting also approved the decisions made at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting on Friday.

It is worth noting that President Arif Alvi had just returned the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure), Bill 2023, which limits the chief justice’s suo motu powers in an individual capacity.

According to the provisions of Article 75 of the Constitution, the president returned the bill to the legislature for reconsideration after it sailed through the National Assembly and Senate amid loud protests by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislators.

According to Arif Alvi, the Bill goes beyond the competence of the Parliament and can be criticized as colorable legislation.

The President stated that he thought it was appropriate and proper, in accordance with the Constitution, to return the Bill with a request for reconsideration in order to meet the scrutiny about its validity (if assailed in the Court of Law).

The president stated in his letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that several issues needed to be addressed.

To begin, “Article 191 of the Constitution empowers the Supreme Court ‘to make rules regulating the Court’s practice and procedure.” The Supreme Court Rules 1980 were made and are in force under such enabling provisions of the Constitution – and have been adopted by the Constitution itself. Since 1980, these time-tested Rules have been followed – any tinkering with it may amount to interfering with the Court’s internal workings, autonomy, and independence,” he stressed.

The legislation

The decision for suo motu notice will be made by three senior Supreme Court judges under the new legislation (SC).

Furthermore, the bill includes a provision for the right to appeal the decision, which must be filed within 30 days and scheduled for a hearing within two weeks.

It also stated that the party will be allowed to change its lawyer on its own initiative. The case will be heard by a judge’s committee under Article 184. The committee will review the case and then form a five-member committee to interpret the constitution.

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