Law officers not entitled to get fees from govt departments, ministry tells SC

Published: June 22, 2018
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Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The law ministry has apprised the top court that under the set rules, no law officer is entitled to receive any professional fee from the public exchequer even if he is on the panel of any government department.

The ministry submitted a reply in the suo motu case pertaining to it being at the receiving end of millions of rupees in fees to law officers by government departments.

“Additional attorney general, deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general are appointed under the central law officers Ordinance 1970 and their terms and conditions are regulated under the Rules 2011. In terms of rule 4 (2) of the Rules clearly put prohibition on the law officer to get professional fee other than retainership fee”, says the reply submitted by secretary law.

The reply states that being the principal law officer of the federal government, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) is required to take appropriate action in the matter.

Attorney-general’s office split from law ministry

“After hearing of this case on May 18, the ministry has issued letter to all ministries and attached departments to inform the ministry about the engagement of any law officer privately. Most of the ministries have submitted their nil report. However some government departments paid professional fee to the law officers”

It is also stated that the country’s president has already removed Muhammad Waqar Rana as Additional Attorney General back on June 2.

The law ministry in its reply said that on August 1, of last year, the Ministry of Textile moved a case seeking engagement of Abdul Raheem Bhatti at a fee of Rs750,000 payable by the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) for preferring CPLA before the Supreme Court.

Under the rules, the case was transferred to the AGP who decided that Rana has expertise in such matters therefore PCCC should employ him on the said fee.

The ministry also apprised the top court that cases pertaining to the petroleum ministry in which it was decided that gas companies would engage private counsel for contesting petitions on GIDC cases pending in the high court as well as supreme court.

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