Supreme Court: Lawmakers can continue practising as lawyers
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, ruled that lawmakers can continue to practice as lawyers. Hearing a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking to ban MLAs, MPs, and MLCs from practising as lawyers, the apex court observed that the Bar Council of India's rules don't prohibit lawmakers from practising as lawyers. Thus, it dismissed the petition. Here are the details.
Details of Upadhyay's petition seeking the ban
Upadhyay, in his petition, argued that a public servant cannot serve as an advocate, and thus, allowing lawmakers to continue their legal practice during their tenures as legislators violated Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that grants equality in the eyes of the law. He added that salaried government employees are debarred by the Bar Council from practising in a court of law.
Why Upadhyay's petition held no merit
However, the Centre had earlier told Upadhyay that his petition held no merit as lawmakers were elected representative and not full-time government employees. During the hearing, a bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, told Upadhyay that employment suggests a master-servant relationship, and the government of India is not the master of MPs, MLAs, or MLCs.