For the first time in Pakistan’s judicial history, Supreme Court proceedings go live

ISLAMABAD – A full court bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa is hearing the review petitions [clubbed together] against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 – a legislation introduced by the former coalition government.

This is the first time in country’s history that the hearing in a case is being live telecast.

In this way, the new chief justice will hear one of the most important cases currently pending with the Supreme Court on his very first working day.

Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa is presiding over the full court on the first court day. The full court comprising 15 judges of the Supreme Court is hearing the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act.

The federal government requested the apex court to reject petitions against the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act.

The federal government submitted its written response in the case through the attorney general, in which the federal government requested to reject petitions against the Act.

In its response, the federal government said that petitions against the law of parliament were inadmissible. The government urged the court to dimiss petitions against the Act.

It should be remembered that the eight-member bench of the Supreme Court had stopped implementation of the Practice and Procedure Act on April 13.

The Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act deals with distribution of powers of the Chief Justice in cases of public interest. According to the Act, the decision to take suo motu notice will be taken by the chief justice and a committee consisting of two senior judges.

The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 has curbed the chief justice’s powers to take suo motu in individual capacity and vested the same to a three-member committee comprising the chief justice and the next two most senior judges.

Moreover, the legislation also says that the three-member committee would also responsible for constituting benches to handle cases with the majority vote being the mode of making a decision in case there is a disagreement.

Last month, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah suggested that the chief justice should halt proceedings of cases instituted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, until a final decision on the fate of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023.

His remarks were part of the two-page note he issued during the hearing of a petition filed by the PTI chairman challenging the amendments in the NAB laws.

However, the three-member bench headed by the then chief moved ahead and later struck down the changes introduced by the coalition government by accepting the petition.

But Justice Shah wrote a scathing dissenting note in which he advocated the parliament’s supremacy and its powers to make or unmake laws.