Published Sep 07, 2018 01:31pm

SC mulls jurisdiction of suo motu powers

Haseeb Bhatti

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday took up a case to assess the jurisdiction of its suo motu powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Article 184(3), which pertains to the the apex court's powers to take suo motu notice, reads: "Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 199, the Supreme Court shall, if it considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II is involved have the power to make an order of the nature mentioned in the said Article."

During hearing of the case by a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, the top judge told Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan that the court wishes to examine the scope of its powers with respect to Article 184(3).

"We wish to regulate our powers," the CJP remarked. "The court wants to know whether or not it is exceeding its jurisdiction with respect to Article 184(3)."

The court said it would appoint two senior lawyers to provide assistance to it in this regard.

The court ordered that notices be issued to the attorney general, the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association, and adjourned the case indefinitely.

Back in 2011, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan should exercise restraint in taking up suo motu proceedings because overuse of the provision could endanger the rule of law.

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