The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday adjourned the hearing on the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) petition against the top court’s order of elections in Punjab on 14th May upon being informed by the court that a legislation regarding the reconsideration of suo motu judgments had been implemented.
The Supreme Court Review of Judgments and Orders Bill 2023, came into effect on Friday after President Arif Alvi’s approved it.
According to the newly enacted law, in order to review a suo motu judgment, a larger panel of judges will be convened to hear the case, than the one that issued the order — will hear the case.
“In case of judgments and orders of the SC in exercise of its original jurisdiction under Article 184 of the Constitution, the scope of review on both facts and law, shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution,” the law reads.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar is heard he plea.
At the outset of the hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Usman Awan raised objection over the bench. After approval from the president, the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 has been enforced.
He added that under the new law’s section 2, the orders issued under Article 184 (3) could be appealed against.
While responding to AGP, CJP remarked “New law has been enforced, we are aware of it,” added that now the situation will become ‘interesting.’
Through the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, the government created a new “judicial jurisdiction”, the CJP noted, adding that the rulers tried intervening with the court’s administrative matters.
“But I am happy that this law [the review act] is only related to Article 184(3).”
The CJP added that “everyone” should reconsider their stance.
“After the May 9 incidents, try to find a silver lining. Try to bridge the differences. Try to bring balance and peace to the system and hold elections through the right procedure.”
Remember that, Supreme Court in its 4th April verdict declared the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone elections to the Punjab Assembly till October 8 “unconstitutional” and fixed May 14 as a new date.
In a 14-page review petition filed by the ECP on 3rd May, the electoral watch dog pleaded with the Supreme Court to suspend its May 14 decision until a verdict on the revision petition on the issue.
“SC should review its decision as the judiciary doesn’t have the authority to give the date of elections,” the ECP petition read.
“If the decision is not suspended, the election commission will suffer an irreparable loss,” the petitioner pleaded.
The electoral watchdog further requested the apex court to “accept the instant Review Petition by revisiting, reviewing, reconsidering and recalling its April 4 order”.