Law curtailing CJP's powers: PBC to raise objections on SC bench today

Sohail Khan
Building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File
Building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File
  • PBC to demand that stay order given by bench against bill be vacated.
  • Eight-member bench to resume hearing of SC bill at 12:30pm today.
  • CJP issued notices to AGP, SCBA, PBC and major political parties.

ISLAMABAD: In the hearing at the Supreme Court (SC) today of the petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 — aimed at curtailing the powers of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) — the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) is set to raise objections today on the bench.

The eight-member larger bench of the apex court — headed by CJP Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed — will resume hearing on the matter today at 12:30pm.

Speaking to The News on Monday, PBC Vice Chairman Haroon ur Rashid said: “We will strongly resist the bench from hearing the matter and will stress the constitution of a full court for hearing this constitutional matter.”

He said that as per their earlier demand — made in Quetta Convention — they will also ask that the stay order given by the said bench against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 — a legislation curtailing the CJP powers of suo motu jurisdiction as well as the constitution of benches — be vacated.

“If the court fails to withdraw its earlier order, suspending the operation of Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, we will start a countrywide protest campaign,” he added.

He further said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Bar Council has also convened a lawyers' convention on May 13 where representatives of the Bar councils from across the country would participate.

Chief Justice Bandial had fixed the hearing for today (Tuesday) and had issued notices to the respondents besides issuing notices to the attorney general for Pakistan, Supreme Court Bar Association through its president, and the PBC through its vice chairman.

Similarly, the court had also issued notices to the political parties with the direction that if they desired may appear through their duly instructed counsels. 

Advocates Muhammad Shafay Munir, Raja Aamir Khan, and Chaudhry Ghulam Hussain challenged the constitutionality of federal legislation, the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023.

The attorney general for Pakistan (AGP), Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council have been issued notice in this regard.

Moreover, the apex court has also issued notice to nine political parties including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

During the last hearing of the case on April 13, the top court had stopped the implementation of the law observing that if the law received the assent of the president, the bill would not be acted upon in any manner till further order.