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Pakistan President raises questions over timing of bill aimed at curbing Chief Justice powers

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Islamabad | March 30, 2023 8:05:55 AM IST
Pakistan's President Arif Alvi on Wednesday admitted that there was "some need to streamline" Supreme Court's internal matters but he questioned the timing and manner of Pakistan's government's bid to curb the power of the Chief Justice to take suo moto notice in an individual capacity, Dawn reported.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan National Assembly passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure), Bill 2023. The bill was passed after Pakistan's Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar tabled the bill in the assembly.

While speaking about the matter on Geo News show Capital Talk, Arif Alvi said, "I think the timing could have been better. [Perhaps], it should have happened before as [passing this bill during a political] crisis raises a question mark on its timing," according to Dawn report.

Alvi said that "the timing could have been better." However, he said that according to the analysis he had heard, "there was some need to streamline how the Supreme Court conducts itself." He stressed that opinions to this effect started from within the Supreme Court.

He said, "This discussion was taking place within the Supreme Court for many days so this matter should be settled by taking it (apex court) into confidence." He stressed that the apex court should have been involved in the process, as per the Dawn report.

Arif Alvi said that questions are raised when such changes are made "by force." He expressed hope that the judges will cooperate with one another as there does not appear to be consensus in their verdicts when their internal circumstances come to light.

In response to a question about whether he will give his approval to the bill, Alvi stated that he has just seen the draft of the bill and it would be "premature" for him to say what he will do. Pakistan's President said that he wants to play a "positive role" in the country and added that there are many crises and he does not wish to create more, as per the Dawn report.

The bill, presented by Pakistan Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar in National Assembly, was passed hours after the Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved the cabinet's proposed amendments.

Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf presided over the session where the report of the standing committee on the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill was presented in the House by PML-N member of the National Assembly Bashir Mehmood Virk, The Express Tribune reported.

The bill suggested that a committee comprising three senior-most judges of the Supreme Court would decide on the suo moto notice and there would be a right to file an appeal within 30 days of the suo moto decision, as per The Express Tribune report.

According to the bill, the appeal has to be fixed for hearing within 14 days of filing and after taking a suo moto notice, as per the news report. The hearing will be conducted by a three-member bench and the decision of the majority in this regard will be acceptable. (ANI)

 
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