- The lawmakers okay bill after hours long debate, terming it important amid the prevailing political crisis in the country
Islamabad: In a bid to curtain the suo motu powers of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the National Assembly approved the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023” with the majority of the votes on Wednesday.
The bill was approved after the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Law and Justice declared it okay for approval.
The development took place after two judges of the top court including Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandohail wrote a dissenting note on the powers of the top judge.
The house also carried out some amendments in the bill including right to appeal against the suo motu verdicts taken up to 30 days before the passing of the Lawyers’ Protection Act. It also included that a bench with fewer than five judges will not take up the case involving interpretation of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill, 2023, is currently under discussion in the National Assembly. The Minister for Law, Azam Nazeer Tarar, introduced the Bill and highlighted its people-friendly nature. The bill has also received support from the office bearers of bar associations. The relevant standing committee has cleared the Bill after a detailed discussion.
Opposition Leader Raja Riaz expressed his belief that the Bill would help strengthen the judiciary and provide better access to justice for the common man. He also noted that the Bill reflects the aspirations of the legal fraternity.
The impression of a confrontation between parliament and the judiciary was dismissed by Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, who emphasized that the enactment of legislation is the right of the parliament.
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif expressed his support for the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill, stating that it is not aimed at usurping the powers of the judiciary but rather devolving the powers of one person to the three judges of the Supreme Court. He also noted that the mandate of the people and the constitution gives the parliament the right to legislate.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called the Bill historic and stated that it would empower the country’s judiciary. He urged unity in dealing with the multiple crises facing the country.