A bill seeking to curtail the chief justice of Pakistan’s (CJP) powers to take suo motu notices and constituting benches became a law on Friday, despite a Supreme Court order halting its implementation.
The development was shared by the National Assembly’s official Twitter account.
However, it was notified as a law Friday because it was deemed to have been assented to by the president (with effect from April 21, 2023) under Clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 has finally ceased to exist after the National Assembly Secretariat notified that the bill of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) deemed to have been assented by the president (with effect from April 21, 2023) under Clause (2) of the Article 75 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The bill was approved by the federal cabinet on March 28 and then passed by the National Assembly and the Senate only for the president to refuse to sign it into law with the observation that it travelled “beyond the competence of parliament”.
However, a joint session of parliament passed it again on April 10 with certain amendments amid a noisy protest by PTI lawmakers. It was then again referred to the president for his assent; however, he once again returned the bill without signing it.
According to the Constitution, in case the president refuses to sign the bill second time around after the joint parliament’s approval his assent would have been deemed granted within 10 days.
On April 13, the Supreme Court barred the government from enforc ing the law, saying the move would “prevent the imminent apprehended danger that is irreparable” as soon as the bill becomes an act of parliament.
“The moment that the bill 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,” read an interim order issued by an eight-member bench.
“The court has great respect for parliament but it also has to examine if any constitutional deviation, violation or transgression has taken place while enacting the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Bill, 2023,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, was heading the bench, had observed. The copy of the act shared by the National Assembly Secretariat mentioned that the act shall come into force at once.