Full Court hears petitions against SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 in live broadcast n Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa says we should take guidance from Holy Quran instead of American laws n It is specifically written in Quran to make decision with consultation n Asks lawyer why PTI did not raise issues before the Parliament.
ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa Tuesday questioned that how the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 could diminish the powers of the Apex Court.
A Full Court, headed by Chief Justice, and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Musarrat Hilali conducted hearing of the petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act,
2023. The proceeding was live telecast on Pakistan Television Corporation. During the hearing, the Chief Justice said that the Preamble of the 1973 Constitution starts with “Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him”. He said that in ‘Surah Al Imran’ and Ash-Shu’ara , it has been specifically written to make decision with consultation. He said that instead of taking guidance from the American laws we should take guidance from the Holy Quran.
Justice Athar Minallah questioned that is this law (Act) ensures Access to Justice and the internal independence of the Court? He further asked whether the Parliament is not competent to legislate. Hassan Irfan contended that they (PDM government) had amended the constitution in the garb of this law. Justice Minallah then said what makes it whether Access to Justice is provided through legislation or amending the constitution.
Justice Ijaz said that the basic question is not that there should be an appeal or no appeal, but the Court has to see which entity providing the appeal against the SC judgement delivered under Article 184(3). He said when the constitution has not provided an appeal against the judgement rendered under Article 184(3) then how it could be provided through an ordinary law. Justice Shahid Waheed inquired whether the ill-intention of the Parliament can be condoned because it is good law.
The Chief Justice said that in Zafar Ali Shah’s case the apex court had given power to an individual power to amend the Constitution. Last time, the apex court passed a judgement in Reko Diq, due to that Pakistan was asked to pay $6 billion to the mining company. However, in advisory jurisdiction the matter was resolved. He further said that in Dosso, Maulvi Tameez Ud Din and Nusrat Bhutto case the Court empowered an individual to play with the destiny of country and make mockery of the constitution. He added, “Now we will not allow any dictator to make mockery of the constitution and we should respect the Parliament.”
Justice Faez told that a President of a lawyers’ body had complained to him that so and so case had not been fixed. He added, “Let Pakistan be run in accordance with the Constitution and the law as the individuals, whether it was military dictator or anyone else, have destroyed Pakistan as they did not believe in making decisions in consultation.” He inquired from the counsel what problem does he have if the Chief Justice decides about fixing cases and the benches constitutions with consultation. He also advised the counsel to broaden his vision.
Justice Munib Akhtar remarked that for the first time the Martial Law was endorsed in Dosso case. However, later on when the Supreme Court in Asma Jillani case it (judgement) was corrected. He said if the Court wanted to correct its path then it can do it.
The Chief Justice said that the constitution was trampled many times. At one time the Supreme Court validated the Martial Law, but another time corrected. “This means it depend on the Court mode to like or dislike certain acts. In Maulvi Tameez Ud Din and Dosso case it validated Martial Law, but after some time in Asma Jillani case declared it bad. Is the Supreme Court ‘King of the ring’? Justice Minallah stated that the Chief Justice’s power to pick and choose regarding fixing the case is not right. Justice Faez questioned if three senior judges of the apex court with consultation decide about fixing the cases and constitution of benches then how it affects the petitioners. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawyer Uzair Bhandari argued that the Supreme Court can legislate if it is expressly and implicitly given in the Federal Legislative List. Justice Minallah asked him that you wanted to say that the Parliament is bereft of making law regarding Access to Justice or Fundamental Rights. The Chief Justice then said if the Parliament can provide appeal against the sentence awarded under Article 6 of the constitution, and an appeal against the punishment under Article 204 then why not it could provide appeal against the judgement passed in Article 184(3). He asked the counsel that was it not better for your client to raise these issues before the Parliament, instead of bringing them before the apex court.