SC goes live as full court tackles controversial law.

ISLAMABAD -- In his maiden appearance as the chief justice, Justice Qazi Faez Isa did two things on Monday: he ordered live-streaming of the entire hearing by the full court bench consisting of all 15 judges inside the CourtAroom No. 1; and implicitly vacated the April 13 suspension of the enforcement of the Supreme Court (Practice and ProceAdure) Act, 2023.

Though the court order did not explicitly say that the stay on the implementation of the law regulating the powers of the top judge had been vacated, Justice Isa stated he would consult with two senior-most judges Sardar Tariq Masood and Ijazul Ahsan regarding the formation of benches - a key clause in the law.

The hearing has been adjourned till Oct 3. After the hearing, lawyers were in agreement that in practical terms, the court had vacated the stay granted earlier by an eight-judge bench.

'In view of the challenge thrown to the SupAreme Court (Practice and ProceAdure) Act 2023 and as the matter is pending adjudication. We will be consulting with two senior colleagues with regard to the constitution of benAches,' a short order by the CJP said, adding that senior puisne judges Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan agreed with him. In the late evening, the CJP also constituted benches for today.

'We will be fixing routine cases that concern lawyers mostly from Islamabad,' observed the CJP as he disposed of a plea raised by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) seeking the constitution of the full court to hear a set of nine challenges to the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023.

The entire hearing focused on questions about what rights of the citizens have been taken away by enacting the act, and that if no enforcement of fundamental rights was involved then how these petitions could be filed by invoking Article 184(3).

Televised proceedings

Before the commencement of the nearly seven-hour-long proceedings with two breaks, a full-court meeting of judges was held in which it was decided by a majority that the proceedings should be broadcast live.

Subsequently, the PakAiAsAtan Television CorporaAtAion was assigned the task of covering the proceedings by installing six digital camAeras: four in the gallery reserved for guests and one in front of the rostrum.

At the start of the hearing, the courtroom was full, but as time passed, lawyers as well as media representatives started leaving the courtroom to avail the benefit of live telecast of proceedings.

Though the live...

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