oppn parties Legislators Can Practice Law, Says SC

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Legislators Can Practice Law, Says SC

By Linus Garg

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.
The Supreme Court has allowed members of parliament and legislative assemblies to practice as lawyers and advocates. The court said that although they drew salaries from the government, there was no employer-employee relationship. Hence, the court found that they could neither be called public servants as per section 21 of IPC nor could their act of working for litigants be likened to holding an office of profit. The court refused to bar them for appearing in courts or otherwise giving advice to litigants and charging a fee for the same. The court also said that nothing in the Bar Council of India rules prevented them for doing so.

This is a sensible judgment. If a businessman can continue to operate his business after being elected as a member of any legislature, a painter can continue to paint, an actor can continue with his profession, why can’t a lawyer do the same? Among other things, Article 102(1)(a) expressly says that a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder.” Section 3 of The Parliament (Prevention Of Disqualification) Act, 1959 lists the offices of profit which the member can hold without being disqualified.

Hence, the question before the court was whether by drawing salaries as members of legislatures, were MPs and MLAs public servants and whether by working for litigants for a fee, lawyers could be held to be holding an office of profit. The added question was that was there a conflict of interest in as much that they were lawmakers as well as law practitioners. The court found that there was no existing law that barred legislators from practicing law, charging fee from litigants or appearing in court.