The top judge’s remarks came during a hearing of the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, a law that aims to curtail the suo moto powers of the CJP.
An eight-member larger bench of the apex court — headed by CJP Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed — heard the petitions.
While discussing the similarities between the Supreme Court Review of Judgments and Orders Act 2023 — which relates to the right of appeal in suo motu cases — and the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan had said that Parliament could look into harmonizing the two Acts.
In response to this, the CJP — while he welcomed the proposal — said that the federal government should take the top court into consideration when making any legislation related to the judiciary.
Moreover, Justice Mazhar observed: “If the laws are similar, it will be a waste of time to hear the applications related to the full court.”
When the AGP suggested that the matter be referred to Parliament, the top judge rejected the idea. Instead, he offered two alternatives — working together or working separately.
“One way is that you think about both laws and we will also consult. Otherwise, Parliament can take its own action and we will take ours. Let’s see who is faster.”
He said that if the parliament and government make suggestions, the court would consider them.
Furthermore, the issue of parliament’s refusal to provide the bench with the NA’s records of the proceedings on the judicial reforms was brought up — the request was put forward by the court on May 8.
However, the CJP seemed unperturbed by the refusal and said that the proceedings had been taken from the parliament’s website.
The hearing was then adjourned till next week.