Sunday Jun 27 2021
Web Desk

Grant used to try and pressure LHC bar association to speak against Justice Isa, claims secretary

Web Desk
Grant used to try and pressure LHC bar association to speak against Justice Isa, claims secretary

Secretary Lahore High Court Bar Association Khawaja Mohsin Abbas has claimed that there was an attempt to exert pressure on the bar to pass a resolution against Justice Qazi Faez Isa in exchange for grant-in-aid cheques.

Abbas claimed that he was told directly as well as indirectly by the law ministry that if the bar issues a statement against Justice Isa, then it will get grant money.

"The bar made it clear that it will not be blackmailed," said the secretary.

He added that "a cheque of Rs4 million was being offered in exchange for a statement against Justice Isa, but the cheque was turned down".

The secretary said that prior to this, the 43,000 members of the bar association would get grants worth "tens of millions".

In response, Minister for Law Farogh Naseem said that Abbas' allegations are "absurd" and "baseless".

Grants to the bar are given "unconditionally and on the basis of equality", he said.

"There is no political discrimination of any kind involved in the distribution of grants," the minister added.

A ceremony for cheque distribution to lawyers’ bar associations was held earlier in the day at the Law Ministry.

The minister handed over grant-in-aid cheques to the 110 bar associations and the bar councils of the country.

Reference against Justice Isa

Proceedings against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court began in July 2019, after a presidential reference was forwarded to the Supreme Judicial Council.

The reference was filed over Justice Isa's alleged non-disclosure in wealth returns of three London properties acquired on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015.

In June 2020, the Supreme Court dismissed the presidential reference against Justice Isa in the Supreme Judicial Council and accepted his petition seeking the reference's dismissal.

"[The reference] is declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever and stands quashed, and in consequence, thereof the proceedings pending in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against the Petitioner in CP 17/2019 (including the show-cause notice dated 17.07.2019 issued to him) stand abated," read the court's short order.

However, the court authorised the Federal Board of Revenue to probe the matter further and compile a report of its findings after investigating Justice Isa's wife and her financial dealings.

This year, the Supreme Court accepted several review petitions filed against the apex court verdict allowing a further probe by the FBR.

A 10-member full court bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, wrapped up the case and issued a short order, setting aside the June 19, 2020 judgment on the matter and nullifying all proceedings that came as a result of it.