The Law Ministry has filed a review petition against the Supreme Court's decision to invalidate the Review of Judgments and Orders Act.
The SC Registrar's Office gas given the Law Ministry 15 days to submit additional documents along with the petition.
The petition filed by the Ministry of Law in the Supreme Court has urged for a revision of the August 11 verdict of the top court.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court had declared the Review of Judgments and Orders Act null and void on August 11 deeming it ultra vires the Constitution being beyond the legislative powers of parliament.
The bench was headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprised Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar.
Justice Akhtar had even composed an additional note with the judgment.
The review petition requested for 15 days to file additional documents at which the Registrar's Office of the court granted time to the Ministry of Law.
In a detailed verdict issued on August 11, the Supreme Court declared the Review of Judgments and Orders Act 2023 as violating the Constitution, and rendered it legally invalid.
The court's ruling emphasized that any attempt, through ordinary legislative means, to infringe upon the powers and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, including its authority to review judgments, is an incorrect interpretation of the Constitution.
Moreover, the judgment highlighted that the Constitution lacked explicit authorization for parliament to extend the Supreme Court's review jurisdiction under Article 188. The law not only failed to expand review jurisdiction, but also introduced an entirely new appellate jurisdiction that lacked constitutional backing.
The verdict underscored that any legislative action that compromised the independence of the judiciary was inherently unconstitutional and thus devoid of legal effect.
Regarding the transformation of the court's review jurisdiction into an appellate jurisdiction, the court emphasized the necessity of a constitutional amendment. It firmly established that standard legislation cannot alter or introduce provisions to the Constitution.
The ruling firmly established that the alleged "enlargement" of the court's jurisdiction lacked constitutional legitimacy and did not find support in any section of the Constitution pertaining to the judiciary or the Supreme Court's functions.
Review of Judgments and Orders Act 2023
Titled as the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023, the legislation aimed at enhancing and fortifying the powers of the SC in revisiting its judgments. The act seeks to broaden the jurisdiction of the highest court, as outlined in Article 188 of the Constitution.
This empowered the apex court to reevaluate any judgment, ensuring that the fundamental right to justice is upheld through meaningful review of its judgments and orders, particularly those made under Article 184(3) in its original jurisdiction.
According to Section 2 of the Act, the review’s scope, encompassing both factual and legal aspects, mirrored that of an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution. Section 3 stipulated that a review petition shall be considered by a larger bench than the one responsible for the initial judgment or order.
Similarly, Section 4 granted the petitioner seeking review the authority to choose any advocate from the Supreme Court for this purpose.
In accordance with Section 5, the right to file a review petition was extended to an aggrieved party who was subjected to an order under Article 184(3) of the Constitution prior to the Act’s commencement. However, such a review petition, as per this section, must be submitted within 60 days of the Act’s commencement.
Section 6 dictated that the review petition must be lodged within 60 days of the original order’s issuance. Notably, the provisions of the Act held paramount significance and overrode any conflicting elements in other prevailing laws, rules, regulations, or judgments, even those from the Supreme Court and the high court.