‘Colourable legislation’: President Alvi returns bill curtailing CJP’s powers to parliament

On Saturday, President Arif Alvi sent a bill to parliament that would have removed the chief justice of Pakistan’s authority and granted the right to appeal in all suo motu cases with retrospective effect. He said that the proposed law is outside the legislative body’s purview and could be challenged as a false law.

In his response, the president stated, “The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023 travels beyond the competence of the parliament and can be assailed as a colorable legislation.”

The bill, which aims to deny the office of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) the authority to take individual suo motu notices, was approved by the Senate on March 30.

On March 28, the federal cabinet approved the bill, and the National Assembly also passed it with a few changes from the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. It was approved by the Senate on March 30.

Some lawyers have criticized the proposed changes to the Supreme Court’s rules, while others have said they were a necessary bill. This has sparked a debate in political and legal circles.

The president responded in detail, which he also shared on Twitter, and said that, in accordance with the Constitution, he thought it appropriate to return the bill with “the request for reconsideration in order to meet the scrutiny about its validity (if assailed in the court of law).”

Alvi emphasized the significance of taking into account a few aspects after “vetting” the bill.

He emphasized that the Supreme Court had authority under Article 191 of the Constitution to “make rules regulating the practice and procedure of the Court.”

That’s what the president noticed “Under such empowering arrangements of the Constitution, the High Court Rules 1980 have been made and in force appropriately approved – and took on by the actual Constitution.” This suggests that the Constitution itself has approved and validated these regulations.

He added, “These time-tested Rules have been followed ever since the year 1980 — any tinkering with the same may tantamount to interference with the Court’s internal workings, its autonomy, and independence.”

Alvi warned that any attempt to alter or tamper with these rules could be interpreted as an intrusion into the court’s internal operations, which could jeopardize the court’s autonomy and independence.

He continued by stating that the trichotomy of power—three pillars of the state whose domains of power, authority, and functions were defined and delineated by the Constitution itself—was the foundation of the Constitution.

“The parliament has likewise been given the power under Article 67 that states — dependent upon the Constitution, a house might make rules for managing its strategy and the lead of its business.”

According to Article 191, “the Supreme Court may make rules regulating the practice and procedure of the court subject to the Constitution and law.”

He explained that Articles 67 and 191 recognize each other’s autonomy and independence, respectively, and prohibit one from interfering in the other’s domain.

The head of state went on to say that the top court is a separate entity because “the founding fathers visualized that in the state of Pakistan independence of the judiciary shall be fully secured.”

He emphasized that “with such an objective in view, Article 191 was incorporated and the Supreme Court was kept out of the parliament’s authority to make laws.”

He claimed that the Constitution itself gave the parliament the authority to pass laws.

“Article 70 relates to ‘introduction and passing of Bills’ with respect to any matter in the Federal Legislative List—enumerated in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution,” the president emphasized.

He added, “followed and further affirmed are the provisions of Article 142(a) that Parliament can — make laws ‘with respect to any matter in the Federal Legislative List,'” in his explanation.

“Entry 55 of Part I of Fourth Schedule while empowering the parliament to make laws in respect of ‘jurisdiction and powers of all courts except the Supreme Court’ especially excluded the Supreme Court,” the president stated.

The president concluded his observation by asking, “Can such a purpose be achieved without amending the provisions of relevant Articles of the Constitution?” He questioned the idea’s viability.

He also emphasized that the Constitution is not just another law; rather, it is the embodiment of fundamental principles, a higher law, and a law that is superior to other laws.

Alvi adheres to party guidelines: Senator Sherry Rehman, Climate Change Minister, criticized Alvi for adhering to the PTI’s policy in response to the president’s move.

She wrote, “By returning the Supreme Court bill (to the parliament) for review, President Arif Alvi has proved that he is not the country’s president but the PTI’s secretary general even now” in a tweet today.

Rehman emphasized that Alvi had already stated his position on the subject in an interview before even receiving the aforementioned bill, stating that he had looked at “every decision of the Parliament with the perspective of the PTI.”

She went on to say, “He is following the policy of his party, not his constitutional role as president.”

“The president is saying that this bill is outside the parliament’s power? For three and a half years, he kept running the President House like an ordinance factory. How could he be aware of the powers granted by the parliament? She stated, “President, do not teach legislation to the parliament.”

In the meantime, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry urged the coalition government to “take a breath [and] think” rather than attempting to amend laws based on the wishes of “a few people.”

“The government should not make laws that are dependent on the wishes of a few people. After endeavors to revise the High Court rules, diminishing the president’s powers by correcting the Races Act (2017) is absurd regulation.”

Tending to the public authority, he said, “You ought to slowly inhale [to] think and make changes in your legislative issues. Changes made in such a hurry will not be accepted.

‘SC authority can’t be changed by any standard regulation’
Lawyer Asad Rahim Khan, a reporter and legitimate pundit, let DawnNewsTV know that the issues with the bill were exceptionally clear. ” He stated, “The authority of the Supreme Court cannot be altered by routine legislation.” However, in their belief that this law would be correct, parliamentarians overruled that.

Barrister Khan also questioned the timing of the legislation, claiming that it would jeopardize the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. Except if the Constitution is altered, such far reaching changes can’t be acquainted with change the central equity’s and the High Court’s powers.

“The president acted appropriately.”

At the point when asked what choices the public authority has after the bill was returned, Lawyer Khan said that the parliamentarians will presently examine the bill in a joint meeting, and assuming that they send it back to the president for his consent, he has 10 days to sign it. [ He also stated that the bill would be considered to have been passed if he did not sign it within the stipulated ten days.

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