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What are the implications of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 passed by the Senate?

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The Senate of Pakistan has passed the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, which proposes that the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) should be deprived of the power to take suo motu notice in an individual capacity. The bill was already approved by the federal cabinet and the National Assembly. However, the amendments proposed in the Supreme Court’s rules have sparked a fresh debate in legal and political circles, and it is expected that the bill may be struck down by the apex court.

The passage of the bill is being defended by the law minister who argues that excessive use of Article 184(3) of the Constitution has incurred losses worth billions of dollars to the state, and voices had arisen from various bar bodies and the Senate to restructure the jurisdiction of Article 106 of the Constitution to reflect “collective thinking.” The bill aims to solve the issue by curbing the “injustices” done in cases by giving respondents the right to appeal the verdict and to decide when a case has to be fixed for hearing, among other measures. However, there are reservations about the timing of the bill and how it was being passed in haste, and some senators called for parliament not to bulldoze the rules.

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