Apex Court Declares Judgements Review Law Unconstitutional

Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen would have had the chance to challenge their disqualifications if the decision today had been in favor of the petitions

Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Caption: Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023 was declared "unconstitutional" by the apex court's unanimous verdict on Friday, shattering the aspirations of former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen, who sought to appeal their lifelong disqualifications.

Nawaz and Tareen were both ineligible in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution. Both leaders would have had the chance to contest their disqualifications if the decision today had been in favour of the petitions.

After six hearings, from June 7 to June 19, on several petitions contesting the law that was passed in late May, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and including Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Munib Akhtar, announced the verdict reserved on June 19.

The Supreme Court Review Act is against the Constitution, CJP Banidal said, adding that the verdict was passed unanimously and a detailed order will be issued later.

The lengthy 87-page ruling stated in great detail that the Ais is "repugnant to and ultra vires the Constitution, being beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament."

The order said that it was "therefore struck down as null and void and of no legal effect."

The constitutionality of the legislation was challenged by Ghulam Mohiuddin, Zaman Khan Vardak, the Jurists Foundation, represented by CEO Riaz Hanif Rahi, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

During the hearing of the case, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan requested that the court reject the legal challenges since the law expands the court's authority rather than limiting it.

PTI lawyer Ali Zafar had argued that a change to the apex's authority could not be achieved by legislation alone but rather required a constitutional amendment.