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SC adjourns hearing in Punjab polls case after suo motu review law ‘comes into effect’

ISLAMABAD:The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned for indefinite period the hearing on the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) petition against the apex court’s order of holding Punjab’s general elections on May 14.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, adjourned the hearing after it was apprised that a law for the review of suo-motu judgements had come into effect on Friday.

As the hearing commenced, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan told the court that a law for the review of suo-motu judgements had come into effect. He stated that under section 2 of the new law’, the orders issued under Article 184 (3) could be appealed against.

The attorney general further stated that this law will have retrospective effect. The chief justice noted that through the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, the government created a new “judicial jurisdiction”.

He said the rulers tried intervening with the court’s administrative matters. “But I am happy that this law [the review act] is only related to Article 184(3),” the chief justice remarked.

The Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Bill, 2023, came into force Friday after President Dr Arif Alvi’s assent. The law states that for reviewing a suo motu judgement, a larger bench – than the one that issued the order – will hear the case.

“In case of judgements and orders of the Supreme Court in exercise of its original jurisdiction under Article 184 of the Constitution, the scope of review on both facts and law, shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution,” the law states.