Pakistan’s Senate has approved the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, which would prevent the Pakistani chief justice from using suo motu notices. This is an emergency legal order used by the country’s supreme court for cases of significant public importance. The bill has been approved by the Federal Cabinet, with the National Assembly also passing the bill after a few amendments. However, there is concern that the bill may be struck down by the Supreme Court. The amendments to the Supreme Court’s rules have sparked a debate in legal and political circles. The bill’s Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar defended the measures, stating that the opinion of various stakeholders in the country has led to the restructuring of Article 106 of the Constitution to better reflect “collective thinking.” Tarar also bashed the excessive use of Article 184(3) of the Constitution, leading to losses for the Pakistani state. The salient features of the bill detail that any matter involving the use of Article 184(3) would first be placed before the committee before the question of the public importance involving the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II of the Constitution may be examined. The bill also included the provision that any matter invoking the use of Article 184(3) will be fixed for hearing not more than 14 days. Furthermore, the decision of the committee will be taken by a majority.
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