The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday September 25, dismissed the plea seeking ban on lawyers elected as lawmakers to practice in courts. It stated that “The Bar Council of India rules does not prohibit legislators from practicing as lawyers.”
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had on July 9 reserved the order on the PIL filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking to bar lawyer-lawmakers (MPs, MLAs, MLCs) from practising in courts during their tenure in legislature.
Earlier, the bench had stated that an MP or an MLA is an elected representative and not a full-time employee of the government to which, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Upadhyay, had told the court that a lawmaker draws a salary from the public exchequer and a salaried employee is debarred by the Bar Council of India from practising in the courts of law.
In his response, the bench had said that employment postulates a master-servant relationship and the government of India is not the master of a Member of Parliament.
The apex court was hearing the petition which said that while a public servant practicing as lawyers are violating Article 14 of the constitution which does not allow legislators to practice law in courts.