Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa on Monday observed that parliament’s SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 was not an attempt to clip the top judge’s rights by devolving the suo motu powers to a three-member committee.
The new CJP passed the remarks during a full court hearing on the petitions challenging the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023.
The hearing was seen as historic because, for the first time in the country’s judicial history, the Supreme Court allowed live telecast of proceedings on the petitions challenging the contentious law seeking to regulate suo motu powers of the country’s top judge.
During the hearing, CJP Isa said arguments in the case will begin afresh because the new bench has been formed.
There were three applications to make a full court, which had been approved, CJP Isa observed.
Ahead of the hearing today, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan submitted the federal government’s response in the matter, requesting the court to reject the petitions against the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act.
“Petitions against acts of parliament are inadmissible. [Therefore,] the petitions against the Practice and Procedure Act should be dismissed,” the response submitted by the government contended.
Sources confirmed to Geo News that the decision was made in the full court meeting ahead of the proceedings.
To this end, five cameras were installed in the courtroom number one. Four cameras were installed in the visitors’ gallery and one was installed for the lawyers’ rostrum in front of the judges’ docks.
The full court was constituted by newly-appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and includes Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Musarrat Hilali.
Prior to this, a full court meeting was held to consider live broadcasting of today’s proceedings and ponder over guidelines for effective hearing of cases. According to the sources, instructions for the live broadcast were issued yesterday (Sunday) — hours after Justice Isa took oath as the CJP.
Upon his arrival, CJP Isa — who reached the apex court in his personal car without protocol — said to the SC staff: “People come to the Supreme Court to solve their problems. Treat visitors like guests.”
He further said that the doors to justice should be kept open.
The historic hearing, which was held almost throughout the day, has been adjourned till October 3.