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Supreme Court to Hear Review Petition on SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has scheduled a hearing for the review petition against the SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, which aims to limit the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take suo motu notices in an individual capacity. A full court session is expected to convene for this purpose on September 18. Chief Justice-designate Qazi Faez Isa will preside over the bench after taking the oath of office.

Practice and procedure

The outgoing government PDM passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, with the aim of restricting the CJP’s authority to form benches and assign cases personally. However, an eight-judge bench, including the CJP, temporarily halted the implementation of the bill in response to three petitions challenging it.

The SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, serves several objectives, including the delegation of suo motu notice-taking authority to a three-member committee composed of senior judges, including the chief justice. The bill seeks to ensure transparency in proceedings within the apex court and protect the right to appeal.

The committee comprising the chief justice and the two most senior judges will form benches to handle cases, and they will make decisions based on a majority vote, as outlined in the bill.

The bill specifies that, regarding cases invoking the apex court’s original jurisdiction under Article 184(3), they must first present them to the aforementioned committee for consideration.

Furthermore, the bill empowers the committee to establish a bench consisting of at least three Supreme Court judges, which may include members of the committee itself, to adjudicate on matters of significant public importance related to the enforcement of fundamental rights.

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