Pakistan's SC broadcasts first-ever live proceedings with CJP Isa presiding over full court hearing

Justice Isa, 63, took oath as the 29th Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) on Sunday

PAKISTAN-JUDICIARY/ Lawyers, some of them look on television screen, dispaying the live broadcast of the proceeding from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, at the Sindh High Court Bar Association in Karachi, Pakistan September 18, 2023 | Reuters

For the first time in Pakistan's history, the Supreme Court on Monday began live streaming the hearing of cases on the first day of the new Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

Justice Isa, 63, took oath as the 29th Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) on Sunday after the retirement of Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

His tenure will span 13 months, ending on October 25, 2024.

Departing from the previous practice, Isa began with live streaming of a set of petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023  which requires the formation of benches on constitutional matters of public importance by a committee of three senior judges of the court.

The previous coalition government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) through this law passed in April this year tried to dilute the powers of the then chief justice Bandial on the issue of suo motu by curtailing his powers on the formation of judges panels.

Bandial had stayed the operation of the law until its final adjudication and the new chief justice on the first day set up a full court bench and began proceedings.

The law states that a three-member bench, comprising the CJP and the two senior-most judges of the apex court, will decide whether or not to take up a matter suo motu. Previously, this was solely the prerogative of the CJP.

Additionally, it adds to the review jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, giving the right to file an appeal within 30 days of the judgement in suo motu cases.

It is the same law which if upheld would allow former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to file an appeal against his disqualification by the Supreme Court in 2017.

Separately, Justice Isa also refused to receive a guard of honour upon arriving at the apex court for his first day as the new Chief Justice of Pakistan, another departure from the previous practice. 


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