Bill restricting powers of Chief Justice gets National Assembly’s nod


ISLAMABAD – National Assembly on Wednesday approved a contentious bill dubbed Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, to dilute the powers of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP).

The bill, barring the country’s top judge from taking suo moto notice in an individual capacity, was passed by a simple majority after PPP, a key alliance of the federal government, agreed to withdraw its proposed amendments.

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar tabled the bill with Mehmood Bashir in chair and unanimously passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 with a few supplementary amendments that were suggested during the session.

Basic addition to the bill was the right to appeal against suo motu verdicts taken up to 30 days before the passing of the Lawyers’ Protection Act. The government also added the clause that involves interpreting the Constitution will not have a bench with fewer than five judges.

Ruling alliance leaders maintained that suo moto power was being misused, citing previous events as there has not been a full court session of the apex court for the past three years.

Law Minister maintained that the bar councils earlier called for tweaks over misuse of authority, saying the amendment aimed at regulating the modus operandi of the top court.

Features of Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023