SC unveils verdict on petitions against judicial reforms bill today

ISLAMABAD   -  The Supreme Court of Pakistan will announce today its judgment on petitions against the Supreme Court (Review of Judgment and Order) Act, 2023.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar on June 19 after hearing the arguments of Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan and the petitioners’ counsels had reserved the verdict.

The attorney general had told the bench that Article 188 of the Constitution — which states that the SC has the power to review any judgment pronounced or any order made by it — did not limit the scope of a review. He said; “Extending the scope of review in cases pertaining to Article 184(3) is not discriminatory because the appeals were filed before the apex court against the judgment/order of the high courts or tribunals, while the cases under Article 184(3) are heard under original jurisdiction.” Three constitutional petitions were filed challenging the vires of the Supreme Court (Review Judgments and Orders) Act, 2023. The petitioners’ counsels contended that enlargement of the review jurisdiction is to the ambit of appellate jurisdiction under the provisions of Entry 55 of the Federal Legislative List.

They contended that the conferment of the appellate power in the review tantamount to enlarge the review jurisdiction. Such enlargement is not envisaged in Article 185 of the Constitution, therefore, the Constitution amendment is necessary with the respect of the Review Act that purportedly has the same effect as Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, which is already under challenged and suspended by this Court on April 13. An eight-member bench of SC on April 13 had suspended the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 and declared; “The moment Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023 receives the assent of the President or it is deemed that such assent has been given, then from that very moment onwards and till further orders, the Act that comes into being shall not have, take or be given any effect nor be acted upon in any manner.”

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