Government Limits Chief Justice’s Suo-Motu Powers Through New Legislation, Expected to Pass in Parliament: Impact on Supreme Court Rules and Timing of Implementation
The Pakistani government has introduced legislation to limit the suo-motu powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The Supreme Court currently holds the power of suo-motu notices under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, which cannot be altered by any legislation. Therefore, amending the Constitution would be necessary, which requires a two-thirds majority.
The government’s new legislation is likely to face a challenge in the Supreme Court. According to the current Supreme Court Rules and Orders, any changes to them can only be recommended by the Supreme Court itself, and its approval is required by the President of Pakistan.
The proposed Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, would establish new rules for the composition of benches and the exercise of original jurisdiction by the Supreme Court. It would also allow parties to appoint their counsel of choice for filing a review application under Article 188 of the Constitution.
The legislation provides that all existing laws and court decisions related to Supreme Court procedures will lose their legal standing, and the proposed law will override them.
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