Current Affairs

PDM Asserts: No One Can Halt Parliament’s Lawmaking Authority

Leaders from the ruling coalition in Pakistan have criticized the formation of a Supreme Court bench that is currently hearing pleas against pending legislation aimed at curtailing the powers of the country’s chief justice. The leaders described the move as “premature” and called for the bench’s dissolution due to the ongoing legislative process.

In a joint statement, the ruling coalition denounced the composition of the bench, citing previous cases where similar concerns were raised, and urging the apex court to reconsider its decision to form the current bench. They said that such a move was never seen in Pakistan’s history.

An eight-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by the chief justice, is currently hearing three petitions that challenge the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023. The bill seeks to strip the office of the CJP of the power to take suo motu notice in an individual capacity, and was passed by parliament and sent to the president for his assent. However, it was returned for being “beyond the competence of parliament”.

The bill was later passed by a joint sitting of parliament with certain amendments on Monday, amidst a noisy protest from PTI lawmakers.

In a press conference, the leaders of the ruling coalition, which included members of the PML-N, PPP, MQM-P, ANP, and other allied parties, united against the bench, which they alleged was in defiance of legal principles.

Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar insisted that a “selective bench” had been formed in disregard of the rules, expressing concern about the lack of representation from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan among the judges on the bench.

Tarar said that a “conflict of interest” exists as the case involved the chief justice’s own powers, and all propriety rules prohibited Justice Bandial from leading the bench.

“All provincial bar councils have unanimously expressed their disagreement with the current bench and that this matter should not be made a matter of ego,” he added.

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira expressed surprise that the matter had been taken up by the court even though the president had not given his final opinion on the bill. He urged the chief justice to dissolve the bench, emphasizing that the ruling parties would not tolerate its existence.

The leaders clarified that their demands were not intended as an intervention in the chief justice’s powers but rather a necessary balance. They emphasized the importance of maintaining a balance and preserving the reputation of the Supreme Court.

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