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.