Mon, 02 Oct 2023

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - On Monday, Pakistan's Chief Justice (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa vowed to ensure accountability and transparency, saying he does not want absolute powers that make him unaccountable.

A full court of the Supreme Court's 15 judges, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard identical petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practise and Procedure) Act 2023.

For the first time in the country's judicial history, the court proceeding was broadcast live from Courtroom No. 1 on state television, carried by all private TV channels.

During the hearing, CJP Qazi Faez Isa stated his determination to ensure accountability and transparency, stating that he did not want such powers that would make him unaccountable.

The petitioners want to make the office of chief justice unaccountable, but I don't need such powers," the CJP said, questioning whether the court that runs on public funds would function according to his wishes.

"Although I dislike some laws, that does not mean they are wrong," the chief justice said, adding that whether Parliament passes good or bad legislation, the legislature's sanctity must be protected.

The CJP observed that the power of suo moto jurisdiction delegated to a three-member committee under the Supreme Court (Practise and Procedure) Act 2023 was not an attempt to limit the chief justice's powers.

"Had there been a significant attack on the independence of the judiciary, we would have taken suo moto notice of it," the chief justice said.

After hearing from counsel for some of the petitioners and the attorney general of Pakistan, the court adjourned further proceedings until October 3. It directed the parties' counsel to submit their written arguments and responses to the full court by September 25.

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