ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court rendered a thorough decision in the matter concerning the legislation that would have removed the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) on Wednesday. The court said that, although a traditional idea, the “Master of Roster concept is alien to the Constitution” and that it cannot be regarded as superseding the charter.
In October, the SC (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 case was determined by the top court. A full court bench, consisting of all 15 judges of the highest court, upheld the statute as “constitutional” by a majority of 10 to 5.
The Supreme Court’s ruling invalidated a portion of the law that addressed its retroactive application.The law was rejected by five members of the bench in their rulings on the pleas contesting it: Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Muneeb Akhtar, Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, Ayesha A. Malik, and Shahid Waheed.
A majority of 8–7 ruled that sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Act, which grants a right of appeal retroactively, is ultra vires the Constitution. CJP Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah, and Justice Musarrat Hilali are dissenting.
Subsection (1) of Section 5 of the Act, which grants a right of appeal, was approved by a majority of 9–6 (with Justice Ahsan, Justice Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Naqvi, Justice Malik, and Justice Waheed dissenting).The 22-page thorough ruling, written by Chief Justice Picha Isa, declared that the top judge is not authorized by the Constitution to act entirely at his discretion and that the title “Master of the Roster” is not included in any statute or even in the rules.