Saturday, July 20, 2024

President Alvi Returns Bill Limiting Chief Justice Powers

The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, has returned a bill that aimed to limit the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The Judicial Commission Modification Bill 2023 was delivered to the president for signature after receiving approval from both houses of parliament. The president, however, has declined to approve the legislation because of doubts about its constitutionality.

The Judicial Commission, which is in charge of selecting judges for the higher courts, was to be reduced in size as part of the bill’s attempt to curtail the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s authority. Also, the law aimed to increase the influence of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on judicial selection.

In his letter to the parliament, President Alvi expressed his concerns over the bill’s constitutionality, stating that it would undermine the independence of the judiciary and violate the separation of powers. He also noted that the legislation had been passed hastily without proper consultation with the stakeholders, including the court.

Legal professionals and civil society organisations, which had denounced the law as an effort to politicise the judiciary and undercut its independence, have applauded President Alvi’s decision to return the bill. The president’s move, however, has been met with criticism within the ruling party, with several lawmakers charging that he exceeded his constitutional authority.

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