The highest court in Pakistan, the Supreme Court, has struck down the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023. The Chief Justice of Pakistan stated that the law went beyond the powers of parliament and could potentially undermine the authority of the apex court. The act had been challenged on the grounds that it allowed the Supreme Court to appeal against its own judgments, a power which does not exist in the Constitution. The Chief Justice observed that the Constitution does not provide for an expanded review or appeal process, so this cannot be added through normal legislation. The court emphasized that the power to regulate its own practice and procedure lies with the Supreme Court, and these rules cannot be changed by ordinary legislation. The judgment also suggested that the law infringed upon the independence of the judiciary. The fate of another law, the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023, which limits the powers of the Chief Justice to constitute benches and fix cases, may also be affected by this ruling. The Court has already suspended the operation of this amendment. A hearing on an Election Commission of Pakistan review petition is also expected to be resumed following this verdict.
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