New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that MPs and MLAs cannot be barred from practising as lawyers as well. The apex court was delivering the verdict on a plea seeking to ban members of Parliament and legislative assemblies from practising as advocates.Also Read - 'Jab Paise Nahi The...': Thief Leaves Taunting Note After Not Finding Enough Cash at MP Official's Home
The three-judge bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, also had Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said there was no bar on MPs and MLAs from practising law and that Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Rules was not applicable to lawmakers as they were not “full-time salaried employees”. Also Read - Monkey Snatches Rs 1 Lakh From Man in Autorickshaw, Throws Currency Notes on Road
BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who had filed the PIL, said that many lawmakers hold corporate retainership and defend their clients in the court of law, which is the matter of conflict of interest. “It is not only immoral, unethical but also a violation of Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India (BCI) Rules,” the PIL had said. Following Upadhyay’s submission that legislators were paid a salary by the government so they shouldn’t be allowed to practise, as per the Advocates Act and BCI Rules, the BCI had also reportedly issued a notice to MPs, MLAs and MLCs who continue to practise law. Also Read - Madhya Pradesh: 3 Teenagers Drown in Fountain Near Halali Dam on Picnic
Meanwhile, the Centre, through Attorney General KK Venugopal, had opposed the petition, contending that a Member of Parliament (MP) is an elected representative, and is not a full-time employee of the Government of India, and hence cannot be stopped from practising law.
In another landmark decision on the day, the court said that MPs and MLAs won’t be disqualified before conviction in a criminal case. The apex court declined to interfere in the matter and left it to Parliament to frame relevant laws.