Bill on right to appeal against suo motu notice tabled in NA

Under bill on judicial reforms, three most senior judges to have the right to appeal against suo motu notice within 30 days
Mar 29, 2023


After the matter of elections to two provincial assemblies landed in the Supreme Court through a suo motu notice, and it ordered the election commission to hold the exercise within 90 days, the government presented a bill in the National Assembly to undertake major judicial reforms.

A draft of the proposed legislation, The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, had earlier been approved by a meeting of the federal cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, before being presented in the Lower House.

Sources said Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar drafted the bill, which was finalized by the cabinet that met for a special session in the Parliament House.

The bill has been tabled in the National Assembly. The assembly speaker then sent the proposed bill to the NA Standing Committee on Law and Justice.

A meeting of the standing committee is scheduled for tomorrow morning, the sources said, adding the committee meeting will be chaired by Mahmood Bashir Virk.

The standing committee is likely to approve the bill and submit a report to the House, which is then expected to accord it the final approval.

The proposed bill is then supposed to be tabled in the Senate for approval.

The law minister suggested limiting the absolute powers of the Supreme Court.

While tabling the bill in the assembly, the law minister said there have been discussions on the misuse of Article 184(3), adding privatization of national assets and international agreements were signed but halted through Article 184(3).

One person used his powers in such a way that fingers were raised on the reputation of the court, the minister claimed, adding the Supreme Court is the last destination for recourse and no appeal could be filed against a decision under Article 184(3).

“It was necessary to give the right of appeal. The bar and parliament always demanded it,” Tarar maintained.

He further said suo motu notice was taken on such cases that did not bring a good name to the judiciary.

The bill has been proposed in light of Monday’s decision of two judges against the SC’s suo motu notice on elections for two provincial assemblies.

He said there is a need to regulate the powers of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3).

The law minister also tabled the Lawyers Protection Bill 2023 in the National Assembly.

Under the bill, three senior most judges will have the right to appeal against the suo motu notice within 30 days.

The draft bill states that the appeal can be fixed for hearing in 14 days. Under the bill, three senior-most judges will look into the issue of suo motu notice.

The Supreme Court benches will be constituted by a committee consisting of the chief justice and two senior-most judges, the draft states.

The three-member committee will make a majority decision. The issue of taking suo motu notice will be referred to a three-member committee for a review.

If the committee declares it an issue of fundamental rights, a three-member bench will hear the matter. The three-member bench may also include members of the committee that review the suo motu notice.

Under the proposed amendment, the right of appeal has been allowed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

The aggrieved party will be able to file an appeal within 30 days. In the revision petitions, the petitioner has been empowered to engage a counsel of their choice.

Under Article 188, the parties will be able to appoint lawyers of their choice.

Requests for expedited hearings will be fixed for hearing within 14 days, the proposal suggests.

The amendment bill will take precedence over court decisions or other laws.

Once the bill is approved, no decision of the higher courts or any other law shall affect it.

The cabinet members reiterated their commitment to the strength and supremacy of parliament.

Earlier, sources said legislation was on the cards on the right to appeal against suo motu notices.

Under the proposed legislation, the chief justice of Pakistan will not be able to exercise the power of suo motu notice alone.

The proposal considered authorizing the full court to use the power of suo motu.

Another proposal suggested altering the method of forming the Supreme Court benches, the sources said.

The authorities say that if the president returns the bill, it will be taken up in a joint session.

Meanwhile, the sources said the National Assembly is set to pass important legislation today.

The assembly session that started earlier in the day will resume after Iftar.

Federal govt’s legal team mobilized

The federal government had earlier joined heads to review the Supreme Court proceedings in the case of elections in Punjab and KP.

The government’s legal team met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The meeting was also attended by Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan and Kamran Murtaza.

The legal team briefed the meeting on the SC hearing.

The government’s legal team also consulted various constitutional and legal experts on the matter.

AGP Mansoor Usman Awan and Barrister Akram Sheikh met Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar in this regard.

The law minister floated proposals on important legislation related to the powers of the Supreme Court.

Barrister Kamran Murtaza also participated in the meeting, where the AGP briefed the gathering on the day’s hearing in the apex court.


Supreme Court



federal cabinet

suo motu


draft law


Tabool ads will show in this div