New law equates review with appeal, says CJP


ISLAMABAD: Chief Jus­tice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday observed that by enacting the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023, the government had equated the right to appeal with the review against court orders, thus obliterating the distinction created by the Constitution.

The observation came during the hearing by a three-judge SC bench of a set of challenges to the law and Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) review against the April 4 verdict fixing May 14 as the date for holding elections to the Punjab Assembly.

CJP observed that the apex court would like to know the depth of the petitions moved to challenge the law, though the review petition will remain pending during the hearing of the pleas.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, representing PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan, argued that the law was against the Constitution, adding that in fact, the government had actually amended Article 188 that deals with the review jurisdiction through a simple law when it required a constitutional amendment. They have provided a new court within the Supreme Court and that too through an ordinary law.

The counsel argued that the Constitution did not contemplate appeal on the judgements of the Supreme Court, adding that when the framers envisaged the concept of review by inserting Article 188 into the Constitution, they intended to give the idea of finality in cases.

The counsel recalled how a full court consisting of heavyweight judges like Justices Anwar-ul-Haq, Dorab Patel, Afzal Zullah, Nasim Hassan Shah, and many others, the acumen of those and their knowledge of the law cannot be doubted, developed the Supreme Court Rules by giving Order 26 which specifically dealt with the review jurisdiction of the apex court.

These judges, while formulating the rules, were absolutely clear about what they meant with the review jurisdiction, he said, adding that the provision was not a curtailment of the jurisdiction of the court.