President Dr. Arif Alvi has returned the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, which curtailed the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), to the Parliament for reconsideration. He stated that the bill appears to be beyond the competence of Parliament and can be challenged as “colorable legislation.” The bill was approved by both houses of Parliament last month and sent to the President for assent amidst a deepening political and constitutional crisis in the country. The government has now decided to get this bill passed from a joint session of Parliament. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif criticized the President for returning the bill, calling him a worker of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and belittling the office of the President.
Unfortunately, the political and constitutional crisis in Pakistan seems to be deepening with this recent development. The bill in question, the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, has been a topic of much debate and controversy in the country. The bill aims to curtail the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, which has raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers.
President Arif Alvi’s decision to return the bill for reconsideration has been met with mixed reactions from different political parties. While the opposition parties have praised the move, the ruling party has criticized it, accusing the president of being biased toward the opposition.
The Prime Minister’s statement that President Alvi is acting as a worker of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and belittling his office has further escalated tensions between the ruling party and the opposition.
It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold, with the government now planning to get the bill through from a joint session of Parliament. The controversy surrounding the bill and the political and constitutional crisis in the country highlights the challenges of maintaining a balance between different branches of government and ensuring the independence of the judiciary in Pakistan.