ISLAMABAD: The country’s top judge said on Thursday that the Supreme Court had no issue with the new law, expanding the scope of review petitions under Article 184(3), but the problem lay in the way the law was enacted.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s remarks came while heading a three-member bench which heard a set of appeals challenging the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act, 2023 and the ECP review against the verdict fixing May 14 as the date for holding Punjab Assembly elections.

The chief justice observed that the government can enact any law which provides an effective remedy in case of the apex court’s decisions but the problem lies with the method and manner of enacting the law. He said changes should have been made through a constitutional amendment and not ordinary law.

While defending the law, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan highlighted the evolution and expansion of the Supreme Court’s review jurisdiction from time to time.

Justice Munib Akhtar, a member of the bench, observed that by enacting the law, the government has created a special class for decisions made under Article 184(3).

The court could decide appeals against the high courts’ decisions under Article 185 of the Constitution but the scope of review has been expanded into appeals on decisions made by the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan emphasised the need for understanding how and why the SC’s review jurisdiction has been expanded. He wondered what the scope of review would be if a case landed in the court under Article 184(1) of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2023

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