Now, only a larger bench can hear review petition, argues AGP n ‘This is interesting. Let’s meet on Thursday,’ Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial tells AGP Awan nCourt adjourns ECP's review petition regarding elections in Punjab n CJP urges AGP to adopt right course of action to bring stability in country.
ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday adjourned the hearing on the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP's) review petition against the top court's order of holding Punjab's general elections on May 14 till Thursday (June 1).
A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the case and adjourned hearing as the court was apprised that a law for the review of suo motu judgements had come into effect.
During the course of proceedings, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan said that the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Bill 2023 had become a law after the president’s assent. He said that the scope of review and appeal were the same now as per the new law. He said that the review appeal could only be heard by a larger bench.
The Attorney General also submitted a notification signed by the President to the court and according to the available copy of the notification President Dr. Arif Alvi approved the new law on May 26. The Attorney General also objected to the bench and said that the Supreme Court Review Act had now become a law and the scope of revision under the new act would be the same as an appeal, now only a larger bench could hear the review petition.
The AGP informed the top court that new law has been enacted, which has enlarged the scope of the review under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. The attorney general at the outset informed that the Supreme Court Review of Judgments and Order Act, 2023 has been passed after the President assented to it on Friday, “while I received the copy on Saturday and it will be notified today (Monday).”
He said that the Section 2 of the Act enlarges the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as the scope of review on both facts and law, shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution. Sajeel Sheryar Swati said, “I wish it would have happened earlier.”
The Chief Justice said that it means that now a larger bench will hear the review, adding that no minimum member is given. This is interesting, the CJP said, and added Entry 55 of the Legislative List talks to enlarge the jurisdiction. The Attorney General replied Entry 55 does not matter as the existing jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has been enlarged through this law.
The CJP observed that the other case [Supreme Court (Practices and Procedures) Act, 2023.] is fixed on Thursday. He asked the attorney general to get instruction from the government on it, and said the apex court is for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights, which is also the salient feature. He added, “We understand that the jurisdiction of Article 184(3) requires some form of substantive review. Swati and you (AGP) have cited the judgments of the apex court that there should be substantive review. Indian law is confined to proper hearing and the element of biased. He continued, “What is the scope of curative view, we are examining it.”
Justice Bandial asked that now they will hear the review petition under this law. He noticed that as no one from other side (PTI) was present therefore the case was adjourned indefinitely. The CJP asked the attorney general ‘let’s then meet on Thursday.’ Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said the judiciary and the executive must interact for preparation of the laws concerning its independence. He noted that the law is being made in secrete and coercive way, while it should be transparent.
According to the history, the chief justice nominates the judges for commission. He said there was time when the Court had chief justice and acting chief justice. He further said that no one should break the conventions that were set in Memo Commission, Abbottabad Commission and the Commission of Saleem Shehzad. In all these cases the chief justice had passed the order and nominated the judges for commission and then the government issued notifications. However, in the instant matter the government acted unilaterally. The question arises why to break the norm. “If you investigate the cases through normal course then do try to break the normal course.” The chief justice said had he been consulted he definitely not like to sit in the commission but would have recommended some other judge.
He said that let’s explore the silver lining. “Bring stability in the country. The temperature would not help the economy. Adopt the right course of action.” The CJP said that the law is assented by the President.
The SC Practices and Procedures does affect our work. He asked the attorney general that the government can enlarge the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court but cannot curtail it. You try to interfere in our management. Cleverly played in Section 5 of the Practice and Procedure law. He said aggressive attitude would not help. The Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Order) Act 2023 states that in case of judgement and orders of the Supreme Court in exercise of its original jurisdiction under Article 184 of the Constitution, the scope of review on both facts and law, shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution.
It proposes that a review petition shall be heard by a bench larger than the bench which passed the original judgment in order. It suggests that the review petitioner shall have the right to appoint any advocate of the supreme court of his choice for the review petition.
The Act states that the right to file a review petition shall also be available to an aggrieved person against whom an order has been made under clause (3) of the Article 184 of the Constitution, prior to the recommendation of this legislation. It suggests the petition shall be filed within sixty days of the commencement of this legislative piece. It asks that a review petition may be filed within sixty days of the passing of the original orders. It states that this legislation shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rules or regulations for the time being in force of the judgment of any court including the Supreme Court and High Court.
SC TO HEAR PETITIONS AGAINST JUDICIAL REFORMS ACT ON JUNE 1
An eight-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan will on June 1 conduct hearing of the petitions against Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023.
The bench is headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprises 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.
Senior journalists Chaudhry Ghulam Hussain and Sami Ullah Abraham, and advocates Raja Amer Khan, Malik Amir Abdullah and Muhammad Shafay Munir have filed petitions before the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution praying to set aside the Bill 2023.
The court has already issued notices to the Attorney General for Pakistan, Vice-chairman Pakistan Bar Council, President Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami, Awami National Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Balochistan Awami Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
On the last hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Usman Mansoor Awan, representing the federation, and Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed, appearing on behalf of the PML-N, had urged the apex court to constitute a Full Court for hearing the petitions against the Act. The bench on April 13 had declared; “The moment the 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.” The bill had become law on April 21, 2023.
The Chief Justice had directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to provide the material of the Parliament regarding passage of the Act.