NA Passes Bill Seeking To Limit CJP's Suo Motu Powers

NA Passes Bill Seeking To Limit CJP's Suo Motu Powers
The National Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill that seeks to curtail the powers of the CJP to take suo motu notices in an individual capacity.

Earlier, the draft of the legislation was passed by the federal Cabinet, suggesting that the decision to take the discretionary notice shall rest with three senior-most judges of the top court.

The bill was tabled by Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, having been approved by the Standing Committee on Law and Justice earlier in the day.

'One-man show'

In his opening remarks, the law minister said, "For the past year or so, two senior Supreme Court judges have not been seen in any important bench. This should not happen.”

Pointing out that the suo motu notice was used as a "one-man show", Tarar added, "We have seen from every angle that there is no need for a constitutional amendment for this."

Read this too: ‘Dissenting’ SC Judges Say Punjab Elections Suo Motu Stands Dismissed

He further said, "Unfortunately, there has not been a full court session of the Supreme Court for the past three years. It is the federal government’s duty to fill the vacuum through legislation.”

Tarar observed that, "not having the right to appeal against a suo motu is contrary to fundamental rights.

Defending the government's move, he said that the decision of the legislation was made after there were "voices from within the Supreme Court".

The legislation

The bill, a copy of which is available with The Friday Times, suggests that, “every cause, appeal or matter before the Supreme Court shall be heard and disposed of by a bench constituted by the Committee comprising the Chief Justice of Pakistan and two senior most judges, in order of seniority.”

According to the draft legislation, any matter invoking exercise of original jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) shall be first placed before the committee of three senior-most judges.