The tenure of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has seen resurgence in the debate surrounding judicial activism. While many of the initiatives taken by the country’s top judge have undeniably brought benefits – the increased awareness and activity surrounding water scarcity brought on by the dam fund being one example – some of cases have also courted controversy and criticism.

Considering the wide range of subjects touched by the Supreme Court (SC), there is an equally wide range of opinions on how effective this activism has been; with some political parties being especially critical in the past. However there is also widespread support for suo moto notices taken by the CJP, as it is felt that without these initiatives no one would take up several crucial issues that affect the public. In this fractured state of consensus, the only thing everyone does seem to agree on is that the powers of the SC need to be better defined.

It is in pursuance of that fact that the legal community itself has come forward to start deliberation on this subject. In a meeting presided over by Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has reiterated its demand for framing of rules by the Supreme Court for regulating the exercise of powers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution by the top court.

It must be noted that the resolution passed by the council does not call for removing or limiting the power wielded by the SC; rather it aims to both determine its procedures – such as the possibility of appeal and evidential requirements – and specify its jurisdiction.

With so much unnecessary confusion surrounding these powers – which inordinately contribute to the criticism – it would be in the interest of the judiciary and country if more clarity is brought to these rules.

The judiciary is mandated to be a part of this initiative, and its input is crucial.