Protests erupted in the parliament as the Senate passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, which aims to limit the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take suo motu notice in an individual capacity.
The bill was moved by Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, and strong opposition from PTI members was seen as they raised banners against “attacks on the judiciary.”
Suo motu notice is a legal term used to describe the power of the court to take notice of an issue on its own, without the need for a formal petition from any party. The CJP, as the head of the Supreme Court, currently holds the power to take suo motu notice in individual cases. This power has been used in the past to initiate action against public officials, politicians, and other individuals who have been accused of wrongdoing.
However, the new bill aims to limit this power of the CJP by requiring the court to receive a petition from a party before taking notice of any issue. This means that the court can only act upon an issue if it is brought to their attention by a party who is affected by it.
Proponents of the bill argue that it will help to prevent the misuse of judicial power by the CJP, and ensure that the court only acts upon issues that have a direct impact on the parties involved. They claim that the current system allows the CJP to act arbitrarily, without any accountability or oversight.
However, critics of the bill argue that it is an attack on the independence of the judiciary, and a violation of the principles of separation of powers. They claim that the CJP has an important role to play in protecting the rights of citizens and upholding the rule of law, and that limiting their power to take suo motu notice will make it harder for them to do so.
The protests in parliament reflect the deep divide between those who support the bill and those who oppose it. It is clear that the issue is not just about the powers of the CJP, but also about the broader questions of judicial independence and the balance of power between the different branches of government.
The controversy over the bill also highlights the ongoing challenges facing Pakistan’s judicial system. The country has a long history of political interference in the judiciary, and many judges have been removed from office or forced to resign for political reasons. The new bill raises concerns that the government may be seeking to exert even more control over the judiciary, and undermine its independence.
The protests in parliament are just the beginning of what is likely to be a long and contentious debate over the bill. It is unclear what the ultimate outcome will be, but it is clear that the issue is of great importance to the people of Pakistan, and to the future of their democracy.
The passage of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 in the Senate has sparked protests and controversy in Pakistan. The bill aims to limit the powers of the CJP to take suo motu notice in individual cases, and has raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the balance of power between the different branches of government. The protests in parliament reflect the deep divide between those who support the bill and those who oppose it, and it is likely that the debate will continue for some time to come.