Pakistan: SC reserves verdict on review judgements law case

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 19 (ANI): The Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday reserved its verdict on pleas challenging the recent act which expands the scope of the review petition, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

The case pertains to the recently-enacted Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023, which expands the scope of a review petition.
The three-member bench was headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

The bench heard a set of appeals challenging the review judgments law and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) review against the verdict fixing May 14 as the date for holding the Punjab Assembly elections.

At the previous hearing, the CJP had observed that laws like the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act, 2023 should have been enacted after taking advice from people like the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP), who have experience with litigation, Dawn reported.

The CJP said that the apex court would welcome any remedy provided in respect of its orders or judgements given under Article 184(3), which allows the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction in matters of public importance, but added that “we expect that such laws should be formulated carefully,” Dawn quoted the CJP as saying.

AGP Mansoor Usman Awan and PTI lawyer Ali Zafar concluded their arguments on Monday, after which the apex court reserved its verdict.

“We will announce the verdict after discussing it among ourselves,” Justice Bandial said, adding, “Let’s see what happens.”

The CJP clarified that the SC had not opposed extending the scope of the review. “The question is on the manner in which the scope of the review was extended,” he said.

The top judge further stated that lawmakers had the power to legislate but at the same time asked how review and appeal can be viewed as the same.

“The court has to keep facts in consideration,” Justice Bandial said, further adding, “If the power of review is extended, will it not be discriminatory?”

The AGP replied that there were several decisions of the Supreme Court regarding the legislative power of the Parliament.

“A separate jurisdiction has been kept for review in cases pertaining to Article 184(3),” he said.

Awan further stated that the impression that some people were being exploited by the right of review was incorrect. He also said that the facts of the case would not be altered by extending the scope of review.