Political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have welcomed the Supreme Court’s (SC) verdict, saying that the decision not only enhances transparency but also democratises the apex court’s workings.
The SC’s full court — comprising all 15 judges — sustained the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, which deals with the chief justice’s powers, as “constitutional” with a 10-5 majority.
The verdict acknowledges the parliament’s right to legislation under Article 191, which states that the SC rules are subject to the Constitution.
Terming today’s verdict as a “welcome step” PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that the development reflects’s judiciary’s respect for the parliament.
“The Supreme Court’s verdict regarding the Practice and Procedure Act 2023 is a welcome step. It not only democratizes the workings of the Supreme Court itself but also shows due respect to the Parliament, which represents the people of Pakistan,” the former Punjab chief minister said on X.
However, Shehbaz — addressing the possible effect of the verdict on party supremo Nawaz Sharif — said: “It is important to mention that, according to legal experts, the specific clause under discussion concerning appeals against past judgments does not affect Mian Nawaz Sharif.”
Meanwhile, PPP senator Sherry Rehman termed the decision as an “important step for parliament’s supremacy”.
“Today’s proceedings and verdict in the Supreme Court have certainly enhanced the transparency and faded image of the superior court. It is also an important step forward for Parliament’s supremacy in its first obligation of making laws.”
“Good also on CJ Issa on sharing his powers to a collegial framework of 3 judges. Appeals for suo moto cases being allowed are long overdue,” the senator added.
Commenting on the apex court’s verdict, PTI said that the decision was a disappointment for those who had political hopes associated with the top court, in a jibe at the PML-N.
The party’s future plan of action will be put into place after a thorough evaluation of today’s verdict, PTI said in a statement on its X account.
The SC law gives the power of taking sou motu notice to a three-member committee comprising senior judges including the chief justice. It further aimed to have transparent proceedings in the apex court and includes the right to appeal.
Regarding the constitution of benches, the Act stated that every cause, matter, or appeal before the apex court would be heard and disposed of by a bench constituted by a committee comprising the CJP and the two senior-most judges.
Regarding exercising the apex court’s original jurisdiction, the Act said that any matter invoking the use of Article 184(3) would first be placed before the committee.
On matters where the interpretation of the Constitution is required, the Act said the committee would compose a bench comprising no less than five apex court judges.
About appeals for any verdict by an apex court bench that exercised Article 184(3)‘s jurisdiction, the Act said that the appeal would lie within 30 days of the bench’s order to a larger SC bench. It added that the appeal would be fixed for hearing within a period not exceeding 14 days.