Right to practice as advocate not an absolute right, says SC

Right to practice as advocate not an absolute right, says SC

Right to practice as advocate not an absolute right, says SC

The Supreme Court has held that the right to practice as an advocate is not an absolute right, but it is a statutory right subject to control and regulation.

The apex court said that the courts can supervise and regulate the right to practice in order to ensure administration of justice.

A bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice N V Ramana said the right to appear and conduct cases in the court is a matter on which the court must and does have major supervisory and controlling power.

Hence, courts cannot be and are not divested of control or supervision of conduct in court merely because it may involve the right of an advocate, the bench said.

The court explained the legal position while upholding the Allahabad High Court rules, which stated an advocate, who is not registered with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, is allowed to appear, act or plead in the said court only when he files his ‘vakalatnama’ along with an advocate  enrolled with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh and ordinarily practised in the Allahabad High Court.

It rejected a plea by Jamshed Ansari, who contended that the rules put unreasonable restriction on his fundamental right to practise his occupation and also violated Section 30 of the Advocates Act.

The petitioner also claimed that such rules were contrary to the provisions of Article 22 of the Constitution and Section 303 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which provided the citizens a right to defend themselves by a legal practitioner or pleader of their choice.
The court, however, said that the restriction was reasonable and done keeping in mind the public interest.

“The whole object of the rules in question is furtherance of the administration of justice and to ensure that the advocates who can be easily located or accountable to the courts are allowed to practice before the court,” the bench said.



Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox