Bill curtailing powers of Pakistan’s Chief Justice becomes law


ISLAMABAD – In an open show of ‘defiance’ of the Supreme Court’s ruling, National Assembly notified that the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, which curtails the powers of the chief justice, has become a law.

The country’s top judge had the power to initiate suo moto action, which means taking action on their own initiative, in cases of public interest or when there is a violation of fundamental rights but the Sharif-led government passed the bill, which now becomes law, after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet members alleged that it was creating political instability.

The contentious law restricts senior-most judges of the apex court to intervene in parliamentary affairs as it stemmed from suo moto action on elections delay case. Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023 further specifies that a committee consisting of the CJP and the two senior-most judges will form a bench to hear and settle every case, matter, or appeal brought before the apex court.

In a statement, the National Assembly spokesman said the secretary of the National Assembly had issued a Gazette notification to Printing Corporation in that regard. “After completing all stages of approval, the National Assembly Secretariat has officially issued the notification. The Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill is now enforced as law,” it further said.

Earlier, a larger bench of the top court spearheaded by the Chief Justice directed to stop the implementation on the bill, it somehow notified as a law.

President Dr Arif Alvi also refused to give his assent to the bill, saying that the matter was sub judice before the Supreme Court. If President refuses to pass any bill within 10 days, his assent would have been deemed granted.

In a notification, the president said the “competency of legislation and validity of the bill is subjudice before the highest judicial forum of the country.

The bill was passed by both the National Assembly and the Senate last month amid a standoff between the government and the judiciary over elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after which it was sent to the president for assent.

President refuses to sign SC bill again