Ruling coalition rejects eight-member SC bench

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Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) furthered the rifts between the coalition government and the higher judiciary on Thursday by rejecting the eight-member bench appointed to hear petitions contesting the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023.

The coalition administration issued a statement rejecting the bench and calling the eight-member panel “controversial” with just a few hours till the hearings got underway.

The statement said, “The coalition partners vowed to resist attempts to take away parliament’s authority and to interfere in its constitutional scope.”

Earlier, an eight-member bench was established to consider petitions claiming that the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, was “conceived, prepared, endorsed, and passed in an act tainted with mala fide.”

The bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, will start hearing cases at 11:30 a.m. The other members of the bench are Justices Ijaz ul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Shahid Waheed.

Considering that the requests were accepted even before the legislative procedure was finished, the development was described as “unprecedented”.

Earlier this week, the bill was approved by a joint session of parliament. Following that, four different applications were submitted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution by various parties, including Raja Amer Khan, Chaudhry Ghulam Hussain, Mohammad Shafay Munir, and Khwaja Tariq Rahim, requesting that the top court strike down the measure.