Govt tables bill in NA to amend CJP’s suo motu powers

Prime Minister Nazir Tarar speaks on the floor of Parliament in Islamabad on March 28, 2023, in a video still. — YouTube/PTV News
  • 3-3 member committee will decide the matters automatically.
  • The automatic notice decision can also be challenged.
  • The minister says that the automatic notice has damaged the reputation of the Supreme Court.

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to curb the discretionary powers of Pakistan’s top judge to take suo motu notices, Prime Minister Nazir Tarar on Tuesday presented The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023.

The development came a day later Two judges of the Supreme Court Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandukhel raised questions on the powers of the Chief Justice and said that the Supreme Court cannot depend on the decision of a single man, the Chief Justice.

Justice Shah and Justice Mandukhel wrote that “this Court cannot depend on the solitary judgment of one man, the Chief Justice, but is governed by a principled system approved by all the Judges of the Court under Article 191 of the Constitution.” Should go.” 27-page dissenting note for Supreme Court’s March 1 Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Spontaneous Notice.

In his address on the floor of the House during the session of the National Assembly Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif Terming the controversial note as a “ray of hope”, he also demanded parliamentary action in this regard.

The prime minister – whose party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, has accused the judiciary of “bench-fixing” – said, “The voices of change coming from the judiciary itself are certainly a ray of hope for the country.”

Speaking in the House, the Law Minister said that the steps taken in the name of automatic notice have damaged the reputation of the Supreme Court.

“We have also seen the era when trivial matters were automatically noticed. […] Also, in the past, several revision cases were delayed and not scheduled for hearing,” the minister said.

On the basis of the argument, he noted that the dissenting note of the two judges raised further concerns. Tarar added that the decisions taken under the automatic notice could not be appealed earlier.

“It is important to give an opportunity of appeal against an order and Parliament has always demanded that the right of appeal be given,” the law minister said.

The House has sent the proposed bill to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice for further approval.

The committee will send it back to the lower house. After the approval of the bill by the National Assembly, it will be sent to the Senate for approval.


The Bill includes transferring the power of taking automatic notice from the Chief Justice to a three-member committee comprising three senior judges.

Additionally, the bill includes a provision regarding the right to challenge the decision which can be filed within 30 days and then scheduled for hearing within two weeks.

According to the bill – a copy of which was witnessed by Geo News – Every clause, appeal or matter before the Supreme Court shall be heard and disposed of by a Bench constituted by the Chief Justice and a Committee consisting of two senior Judges in order of seniority.

The bill also said that the decision of the committee will be by majority. However, two judges of the Supreme Court in their detailed notes have associated majority rule with “dictatorship”.

He said: “Taking all decisions by majority rule alone is no less authoritarian, and an absolutist attitude on controversial issues is the hallmark of extremists.”

The Bill also provided that any matter of exercise of original jurisdiction under clause (3) of Article 184 of the Constitution shall be placed before the Committee constituted under Section 2 and if the Committee is of the opinion that A question of public importance relating to the enforcement of any fundamental right conferred by Chapter I of Part II of the Constitution shall constitute a Bench of at least three Judges of the Supreme Court including members of the Committee. can be included. , for the decision of the matter.

Meanwhile, in cases involving the interpretation of a constitutional provision, the committee will constitute a bench comprising at least five judges of the Supreme Court.

The Bill also allows the party to appoint counsel of his choice to file a revision petition under Article 188 of the Constitution. It should be noted that for this purpose advocate shall mean advocate of the Supreme Court.

The Bill reads, “An application, application or matter for immediate application or application for interim relief shall be fixed for hearing within fourteen days from the date of filing.

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