A full court meeting was held on Monday ahead of a range of appeals being heard from the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023.
After his appointment as the 29th Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Qazi Faiz Isa constituted the Full Court to hear petitions challenging the Code of Practice of the Supreme Court.
A 15-member full bench comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Syed Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandukhil, Judge Muhammad Ali. The case will be heard by Mazhar, Judge Aisha Malik, Judge Athar Minallah, Judge Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Judge Shahid Waheed, and Judge Masrat Hilali.
Meanwhile, Justice Issa refused to receive a guard of honor upon his arrival at the Supreme Court. He was warmly welcomed by the employees of the Supreme Committee.
The enforcement of the Supreme Court (Practices and Procedures) Act, 2023 was suspended on August 11 by order of an eight-judge bench of the apex court, headed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Omar Atta Bandial.
The court declared this act null and void.
The National Assembly passed the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Bill 2023 on April 15, which aims to provide a right of appeal under Article 184 of the Constitution – a right that was not available in the past.
The previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Ordinance, 2023, in an attempt to curtail the powers of the Chief Justice to constitute judicial bodies and reform any case before him.
Parliament passed the bill earlier this year.
However, an eight-judge panel, including former Criminal Justice Commission Chairman Omar Ata Bandial, stayed the implementation of the bill after a batch of three petitions challenging it.
The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 serves multiple purposes, including delegating the power to automatically receive notices to a three-member committee comprising senior judges, including the Chief Justice.
The draft law aims to ensure transparent procedures within the Supreme Court and protect the right to appeal.
The draft law specifies the composition of the courts, specifying that a committee consisting of the Chief Justice and two senior judges will be responsible for forming courts to deal with cases, and decisions will be reached by a majority vote.
With regard to cases that call for the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184 (3), the draft law stipulates that they must first be submitted to the aforementioned committee for consideration.
Furthermore, the Bill grants the Commission the power to constitute a bench consisting of at least three judges of the Supreme Court, which may include members of the Commission itself, to adjudicate on matters of significant public importance relating to the enforcement of fundamental rights.