In a historic new, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday for the first time conducted a televised hearing of the much discussed Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, which was suspended by an 8-member bench headed by former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial.
The full court bench, headed by the incumbent Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, grilled the lawyers for several hours before adjourning the case till October 3 for next hearing despite earlier remarks by the CJ that he wanted the case concluded today.
Sharing his opinion on the subject, lawyer Waqqas Mir said on Naya Daur TV’s flagship show Khabar Say Aagay (Beyond the Headlines) that the act under discussion in no way limited the scope and authority of the Supreme Court.
“Some people have also objected that there’s no reason to hear this case since the Supreme Court could make the same rules for itself and the matter could be resolved without a debate. I believe that by taking up this case in full court, the chief justice has sent a clear message that he has decided to put his own house in order first,” Mir said.
Lawyer Muhammad Ahmad Pansota, who partly disagreed with Waqqas Mir, was of the view that constitution, and not the parliament, was supreme while the parliament only functioned as an institution sanctioned by the constitution.
If the parliament is allowed to interfere in the working of the Supreme Court in such manner, Pansota added, it could someday formulate a law that would directly challenge the independence of the Supreme Court. He agreed with the idea of regulating the powers of the chief justice but believed that the competent authority for the purpose was the Supreme Court, and not the Parliament.
Senior journalist Aijaz Ahmad said that the hearing today was a step in the right direction and would help deescalate the tensions among different organs of the state raging on for years.
“Some of the remarks by Justices Munib Akhtar and Ijaz ul-Ahsan gave the impression that the parliament had no right to legislate at all. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa on the other hand though had already implemented the decision by setting the date for next hearing after consulting the two senior most judges Sardar Tariq Masood and Ijaz ul-Ahsan.”