SC to say if MPs, MLAs can practise as advocates

SC to say if MPs, MLAs can practise as advocates

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will decide if MPs and MLAs can practise law.

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pronounce its judgement on a plea that seeks to ban lawmakers from practising as advocates.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud will deliver the verdict on a PIL filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

In his plea, he claimed the parliamentarians and legislators, practising as lawyers, posed a "conflict of interest" and violated the provisions of the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India Rules.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, however, sought dismissal of the PIL.

The petitioner contended that while a public servant cannot practice as an advocate, legislators are practising in various courts which was a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, among others.

Congress MPs like Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Abhishek M Singhvi, Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP, and Kalyan Banerjee of the TMC continued to practice as advocates even after becoming parliamentarians.

"Such legislators take a fee from litigants and salary from the public exchequer, which is professional misconduct," the plea said.

The petitioner also said the issue was a matter of concern for both the judiciary and the legislature as most of the lawmaker-advocates are involved in an active practice of law, despite receiving salaries and other perquisites drawn on the public exchequer.