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September 08,2018

SC decides to regulate suo motu powers

Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Friday decided to regulate its suo motu powers exercised under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and issued notices to the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Attorney General for Pakistan.

The top court exercises its suo motu powers while dealing with important public matters. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the case.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen are two other members of the bench. The chief justice said the top court wanted to regulate its suo motu powers granted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.

He said the court also wanted to know whether or not the apex court was exceeding its jurisdiction while exercising its [suo motu] powers. Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan appeared before the court.

Addressing the attorney general, the chief justice said they wanted to examine the scope of court powers with respect to Article 184(3). The chief justice said they will take the assistance of two senior lawyers as amici curie (friends of court) to assist it in this importance matter.

Article 184(3) reads, "Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 199, the Supreme Court shall, if it considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II is involved have the power to make an order of the nature mentioned in the said Article."

The hearing was adjourned for an indefinite period. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in 2011 had said that the Supreme Court should exercise caution and restraint in taking suo motu notices, explaining that the rule of law could be threatened due to its overuse.

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