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Supreme Court Invalidates 2023 Review Act

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In a groundbreaking verdict, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has rendered a significant judgment, deeming the Review of Judgments and Orders Act 2023 unconstitutional. This pivotal decision comes mere months after the National Assembly passed the controversial Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Bill 2023, aimed at extending the right of appeal under Article 184 of the constitution, an avenue previously unavailable. The bill set a two-month window for the submission of a review petition subsequent to the issuance of the original order.

However, in a bold assertion of its authority, the Supreme Court has invalidated the legislation, contending that it falls beyond the purview of the parliament’s legislative competence. The court ruled that the law holds no legal validity and is void, as it infringes upon matters intrinsic to the court’s jurisdiction and powers.

The legislative journey that ushered the bill into law was steered by the coalition government, predominantly composed of members from the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). After securing approvals from both the National Assembly and the Senate, the bill successfully navigated the legislative process.

The pivotal judgment was delivered by a triad of justices, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, accompanied by Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. The heart of their decision rested on the absence of explicit constitutional authorization permitting the Parliament to expand the Supreme Court’s review jurisdiction, particularly under Article 188.

The court’s ruling definitively expressed that the 2023 Act lacks any foundational basis within the constitution, rendering it devoid of endorsement, legitimacy, or authorization. This verdict underscores the court’s determination to safeguard its autonomy and its role as the upholder of the Constitution.

The ramifications of this decision are anticipated to resonate profoundly across Pakistan’s legal landscape. It emphasizes the intricate equilibrium of powers between the legislative and judicial branches and serves as a precedent-setting reminder that the Parliament’s powers are not boundless, especially when they intersect with the judiciary.

The Supreme Court’s monumental decision to strike down the Review of Judgments and Orders Act 2023 reverberates through Pakistan’s legal and political domains. The court’s assertion of its exclusive jurisdiction over matters of judicial review is poised to delineate the trajectory of legal proceedings and the separation of powers within the nation.

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