The ruling alliance on Thursday rejected the eight-member bench constituted earlier in the day to hear petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023.

In a harshly worded statement, the coalition government vowed to resist attempts to remove parliament’s authority and interfere in its constitutional scope. The ruling parties further said, “such a move was never seen in the history of Pakistan and the Supreme Court”.

The statement mentioned that top court judges — Justice Faez Isa and Justice Aminuddin Khan  — had in their earlier judgments openly expressed their objection to the “one-man show”, biased and dictatorial behaviour and the formation of special benches, while criticising the unchecked powers the Chief Justice of the apex court holds.

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“The constitution of the controversial bench in haste and fixing the bill for hearing, apart from the will and intent, also clearly expresses the decision to come, which is sad and tantamount to murder of justice,” the ruling alliance maintained.

“With the formation of the eight-member controversial bench, the facts stated in the judgments of these honourable judges have become clearer,” the statement read.

“The constitution of the controversial bench in haste and fixing the bill for hearing, apart from the will and intent, also clearly expresses the decision to come which is sad and tantamount to murder of justice,” the ruling alliance maintained.

The bench set to hear plea against the bill comprises of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bnadial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Ayesha A. Malik, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed.

The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, is aimed at depriving the office of the CJP of powers to take suo motu notice in an individual capacity. It was initially passed by both houses of parliament and sent to the president for his assent. However, President Dr Arif Alvi had sent it back, saying that the proposed law travelled “beyond the competence of parliament”.

The formation of the bench was met with surprise from the legal fraternity as the bill is yet to become law.