SC: MLA, MP, MLC not barred from Practice Law

SC: MLA, MP, MLC not barred from Practice Law

Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking a declaration that a MLA/MP cannot be permitted to practice law. 

The Supreme Court made it clear that Rule 49 of the the Bar Council of India Rules is applicable only to full-time salaried employees, and does not cover legislators within its ambit.

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The  Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud in a petition filed by advocate and BJP Spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) had also issued notice to MPs, MLAs and MLCs who practice law, following Upadhyay’s “submission that since the legislators are being paid salary by the government, they cannot be allowed to practice, as per the Advocates Act and BCI Rules.” 

Petitioner had relied on the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of Dr. Haniraj L. Chulani v. Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa, 1996 AIR 1708, wherein it was held that an “Advocate would not be admitted as one if he is in full-time or part-time service or employment, or is engaged in any trade, business or profession.” It had further cited Section VII, Chapter-II of Part-VI of the Bar Council of India Rules, which list down restrictions on other employments.

Interestingly, the Central government,  Attorney General KK Venugopal had opposed the petition. 

     “They are doing a public service in their capacity as an MP. You can’t stop a person from practising a profession. It is a fundamental right to carry on a profession”, Venugopal had argued.

Senior Counsel Shekhar Naphade had represented the petitioner.

Source: LiveLaw, Barandbench

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