The Supreme Court in Islamabad resumes hearings on the petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa leads the full-court bench, comprising all 15 judges of the Supreme Court. The proceedings are broadcast live on state-run PTV, marking the fifth live stream of the hearing.
All petitioners have presented their arguments, and now Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan is presenting his case, with expectations of concluding the proceedings today.
The Act under scrutiny grants a three-member committee, led by senior judges, including the chief justice, the authority to take suo motu notices. It aims to ensure transparent proceedings in the apex court and the right to appeal. The Act outlines the constitution of benches, with all matters heard and decided by a committee comprising the CJP and the two most senior judges. Decisions of the committee are reached by a majority.
In cases invoking Article 184(3), matters are first presented to the committee, while issues involving constitutional interpretation require a bench of no fewer than five apex court judges. Appeals against verdicts of benches operating under Article 184(3) must be filed within 30 days and heard within 14 days. The right of appeal extends retrospectively to cases decided before the Act’s commencement, provided the appeal is filed within 30 days.
The Act also grants the right to appoint legal counsel for review applications under Article 188 of the Constitution, and it ensures that urgent or interim relief applications are heard within 14 days of filing.
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