Legislators as advocates: SC to consider review plea

A bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi would take up the review petition filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The Supreme Court is to consider on Wednesday a plea seeking review of September 25 judgement that had dismissed the petition for banning the legislators from practising as advocates.

A bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi would take up the review petition filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The petitioner contended that the MPs and MLAs are public servants. They are given salary, life time pension and other benefits.

Allowing them to practice as advocates and restricting all public servants viz district collectors, magistrate and judges etc from practising is the violation of the Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution, he said.

"Legislators require full-time for serving their constituencies faithfully and it is impossible for a person to look after the nation on one hand and cater to the needs of his client (as advocates) on the other hand, simultaneously," he stated.

"Taking salary pension and other lifetime benefits from public fund and fee from private litigant and appearing against the state is not only a professional misconduct but also a bribery and illegal gratification," the petitioner contended.

His petition stated that there has to be purposive interpretation of the Bar Council of India Rule 47, particularly the first sentence which stated “an advocate shall not personally engage in any business".

Upadhyay further stated that the BCI rules are unambiguous on restriction on any other employment. Even for part-time employment, an advocate has to seek permission from respective Bar Council, he added.

On September 25, a bench of Chief Justice (since retired) Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had held that the Bar Council of India has framed rules under the Advocates Act, putting restrictions on those employed elsewhere from practising in court, but the MPs and MLAs do not fall under the category of full-time salaried employees.

Congress MPs Kapil Sibal, Abhishek M Singhvi, P Chidambaram and Vivek Tankha, and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee and BJD MP Pinaki Misra, among others, practised as advocates in courts.

The top court had then declined to go into a contention by the petitioner that the country needed dedicated and full-time legislators who will sincerely attend Parliament on all working days.

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Legislators as advocates: SC to consider review plea

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