Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Divisions Emerge Among Pakistan’s Top Court as Proceedings Streamed Live

    The Supreme Court of Pakistan made history by broadcasting its proceedings live on state television for the first time. This move revealed divisions among the 15 judges of the court over a law that limits the powers of the chief justice. The law, known as the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, restricts the chief justice’s ability to take direct action on legal matters, hear appeals, and assign cases to other judges. Instead, it proposes a committee led by the chief justice to make decisions on these matters.

    Although the law was passed by the outgoing parliament in April, it was struck down by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who took office on Sunday, opened the live broadcast hearings on multiple petitions challenging the law. He emphasized that the case is about the constitution and the rights of the Pakistani people, rather than any individual’s rights.

    During the hearing, various judges expressed different views. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah supported the law, stating that it enhances the judiciary’s independence. Justice Athar Minallah questioned giving unlimited powers to the chief justice to form benches without consulting others, while Justice Muneeb Akhtar questioned whether parliament should legislate on judicial and administrative matters of the Supreme Court.

    The proceedings, which concluded on Monday, will resume on October 3. The live broadcast of the Supreme Court proceedings served as an introduction to Chief Justice Isa’s tenure. He is known for his hard-hitting judgments critiquing the role of the country’s powerful military in politics. One of his notable rulings in 2019 raised concerns about the military’s involvement in brokering a deal between religious activists and the government.

    In conclusion, the live broadcast of Pakistan’s Supreme Court proceedings uncovered divisions among the judges regarding the limitations on the chief justice’s powers. This landmark event marks the beginning of Chief Justice Isa’s tenure, which has garnered significant interest due to his reputation as a outspoken judge and his previous judgments challenging the military’s role in politics.

    Suo moto action: The power of a court to initiate legal proceedings on its own accord.
    Doctrine of division of powers: The principle that each branch of government should have separate and independent powers.
    Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency.

    – The source article