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President Alvi returns Bill on Supreme Court to Parliament

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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has returned to the Pakistani Parliament the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023 for reconsideration, per Article 75 of the Constitution.

The president observed that the Bill ‘prima-facie travels beyond the competence of the Parliament and can be assailed as a colourable legislation’. He said that he thought it fit and proper to return the bill, in accordance with the Constitution, with the request for reconsideration in order to meet the scrutiny about its validity (if assailed in the Court of Law), President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release on Saturday.

The president said that after an in-depth consideration of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, “to provide for the practice and procedure of the Supreme Court of Pakistan”, the following aspects required due consideration: –

Article 191 of the Constitution empowered the Supreme Court ‘to make rules regulating the practice and procedure of the Court’.

 “These time-tested Rules are being followed ever since the year 1980 – any tinkering with the same may tantamount to interference with the internal working of the Court, its autonomy and independence,” the press release added.

The Constitution was founded on the concept of trichotomy of power – three pillars of the State whose domain of power, authority and functions were defined and delineated by the Constitution itself. The Parliament has also been given the power under Article 67 that stated “subject to the Constitution, a House may make rules for regulating its procedure and the conduct of its business….”. Article 191 stated that “subject to the Constitution and law, the Supreme Court may make rules regulating the practice and procedure of the Court”.

Articles 67 & 191 are akin to each other and recognize the autonomy and independence of each other respectively – barring interference of one into the other’s domain.

“Supreme Court of Pakistan is an independent institution as visualized by the founding fathers that in the State of Pakistan ‘independence of judiciary shall be fully secured’. With such an objective in view, Article 191 was incorporated and the Supreme Court was kept out of the law-making authority of the Parliament,” the president cited another aspect.

The fourth aspect said that the competence of the Parliament to make laws stemmed from the Constitution itself. ‑‑APP

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