MPs, MLAs Can Practice Law: Supreme Court
Supreme Court on Tuesday, 25 September 2018, rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which sought a ban on MPs, MLAs and MLCs from practising as lawyers in courts because the elected people’s representatives take a constitutional oath to serve the people and are supposed to work full-time for public causes. They also draw their salary from the Consolidated Fund.
The three judges bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud dismissed the PIL filled by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and said legislators might be getting salaries and perks from consolidated funds of India but could not be termed employees of anyone to attract disqualification to practise as advocates.
It provided a big relief to senior advocates Kapil Sibal, A M Singhvi, P Chidambaram, Arun Jaitley, etc. who turned legislators .
While dismissing the PIL the court observed that the legislators draw salary and allowances from the consolidated fund in terms of Article 106 of the Constitution of India and the law made by Parliament in that regard, it does not follow that a relationship of a full-time salaried employee(s) of the government or otherwise is created. The legislators receive payment in form of salary, and allowances or pension from the consolidated fund is not enough to debar them from practising as advocates.
Further, the Supreme court held that the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 and the rules framed thereunder do not place any restrictions on the legislators to practise as advocates. The closest rule framed by the Bar Council of India is Rule 49 which, however, has no application to the elected people’s representatives as they do not fall in the category of full-time salaried employee of any person, firm, government, corporation or concern.