Supreme Court declares review of orders and judgements act unconstitutional

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme court on Friday delcared the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act, 2023 null and void on petitions filed against law.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, had reserved its decision on June 19.

The Supreme Court approved the constitutional petitions against the new law granting right of appeal against the apex court decisions. The chief justice remarked that parliament had no power to enact such a legislation. The CJP further remarked that the act was against the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a detailed judgement containing 87 pages. Justice Munib Akhtar’s additional note is also a part of the verdict.

Both Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen were disqualified under Article 62 of the Constitution. Had the verdict today been in favour of the petitions, both leaders would have gotten an opportunity to challenge their disqualifications, keeping in view their political ambitions amid the upcoming general elections in the country following the completion of the tenure of the National Assembly.

On Thursday, the court had sent electronic notices to the parties to the case for announcement of judgement on Friday. Ghulam Mohiuddin, Zaman Khan Vardak, the Jurists Foundation, through its CEO Riaz Hanif Rahi, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had challenged the vires of the act.

The apex court held six hearings from June 7 to 19 on petitions challenging the law, enacted in May.

The court had also clubbed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) review petition against the Punjab Election Order with this matter since the two were directly linked.

The petitions were clubbed as the same three-member bench under Article 184(3) had issued the Punjab polls order and, under the new law, it could not hear the review plea.

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan had asked the court to dismiss the pleas against the law, explaining that it broadens the court’s jurisdiction and does not curb its powers.

However, PTI lawyer Ali Zafar had argued that a change in the Supreme Court’s powers could not be made through legislation alone and required a constitutional amendment.


The Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023 aims to amend rules to allow convicts/aggrieved to file review (appeal) against the apex court’s orders.

The statement of the objects and reasons of the law mentions that it is necessary to ensure fundamental rights to justice by providing for meaningful review of judgements and orders passed by the Supreme Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction under Article 184.

In case of judgement and orders of the Supreme Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction (suo motu powers) under Article 184 of the Constitution, the law states that the scope of review on both facts and the law shall be the same as an appeal under Article 185 of the Constitution.

Article 184(3) sets out the apex court’s original jurisdiction and enables it to assume jurisdiction of matters involving a question of “public importance” with reference to the “enforcement of any of the fundamental rights” of the citizens.

Earlier, a bench that had issued the original order heard the review petition, but under the review law, it can no longer do so.

“A review petition shall be heard by a bench larger than the bench which passed the original judgment in order. The review petitioner shall have the right to appoint any advocate of the Supreme Court of his choice for the review petition,” the law states.

The right to file a review petition shall also be available to an aggrieved person against whom an order was made under clause (3) of Article 184 of the Constitution, prior to the commencement of this act, provided that the review petition “be filed within sixty days of the commencement of this Act.”