oppn parties Legislators Can Practice Law, Says SC

News Snippets

  • Government planning a loan mela to cover 400 districts in two phases
  • PM Modi says Kashmiris need a hug from all Indians
  • NPA tag will not be put on any MSME till March 20
  • Government likely to announce another economic stimulus package today ahead of the GST Council meet in Goa
  • Air Marshall RKS Bhadauria, slated to retire just a few days from now, to be the next chief of IAF
  • PM Modi slams politicians from his own party who are making irresponsible statements on the Ayodhya case and tells them to wait for the Supreme Court order
  • Telecom panel says resident welfare associations (RWA) cannot give monopoly access to any one service provider and infrastructure in public spaces and residential complexes will have to be shared by all
  • Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah, tells him there is no need for an NRC in Bengal
  • After 14 days, there is no hope left for reviving Vikram, the moon lander
  • CBI teams search for elusive Rajeev Kumar
  • Union minister Babul Supriyo assaulted at Jadavpur University
  • West Bengal governor's convoy not allowed to enter Jadavpur University following a blockade by Left students' union
  • ABVP supporters create ruckus at Jadavpur University in Kolkata
  • The Army conducts an operational alert exercise in eastern Ladakh
  • The IAF reopened the Vijaynagar advance landing ground, an airstrip in Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
Government announces cuts in corporate income tax, stock markets welcome the decision with a massive jump
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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.