Senate passes bill to allow right of appeal in suo motu case amid protest

ISLAMABAD    -    The Senate on Friday passed the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Bill, 2023 that gives the right of ap­peal in suo motu cases amidst protest by the opposition.

The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) strongly protested over the bill, which landed in the house through a supplementary agenda.

The party of the former prime minister accused the government that it had intro­duced the law that was aimed at reversing the disqualifica­tion of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The National Assembly has already passed the bill giving the right of review appeal to an aggrieved person against whom an order has been passed by the apex court in a suo motu notice prior to the commencement of this law.

The provisions in the law gives credence to the ru­mours that the ruling Pa­kistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has got it passed to reverse the lifetime disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Pana­ma Papers scandal.

The bill says that a larger bench would hear the review petition than the bench that passed the original order or judgment. It provides that a review petition­er shall have the right to appoint any advocate of the Supreme Court of its choice. The bill also sets the limitation of filing a review petition with­in 60 days of the original order’s passing.

PML Senator Irfan-ul-Haque Siddiqui intro­duced the private mem­ber bill in the house that was allowed for imme­diate consideration by a majority vote of 32-21 af­ter suspending the rules of business.

According to the gov­ernment, the bill is aimed at “facilitating and strengthening the Su­preme Court’ in exercise of its powers to review its judgments and orders.”

As a protest, the opposi­tion PTI gathered around the Chairman’s podium and tore apart copies of the agenda. The opposi­tion lawmakers demand­ed the bill be sent to the relevant standing com­mittee.

Law Minister Azam Na­zir Tarar while speaking in the house referred to Article 188 of the Consti­tution saying it empow­ers the Supreme Court, subject to the provision of any Act of Majlis-e-Shoo­ra and any rules made by the Supreme Court, to re­view any judgment pro­nounced or any order made by it. He claimed that the legislation in no way disrespected the ju­diciary.

“Parliament has not en­croached even a single inch and will neither step back an inch,” he said.

Leader of the Opposi­tion Dr Shahzad Waseem said that the government was trying to hide behind the parliament.

He said in the name of parliament’s supremacy, the ruling coalition want­ed to escape elections fearing a crushing defeat.

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