New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its verdict on a plea seeking a ban on members of Parliament and legislative assemblies practising as advocates.
The attorney general of India, K.K. Venugopal, argued that such a prohibition did not exist in law and there was no ‘full time’ ‘employment’ between a government and MPs/MLAs. However, he added, that such a ban was present in case of a minister.
The Bar Council of India had, on a previous occasion, informed the court that they were not averse to legislators practicing law.
The plea brought by advocate and BJP spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay alleges that MPs/MLAs practising as advocates pose a “conflict of interest" under the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961, and the Bar Council of India Rules.
Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, K.T.S. Tulsi, P. Chidambaram, Pinaki Misra, Meenakshi Lekhi, and K. Parasaran are among MPs/legislators who also practise as advocates across various courts in the country.
Upadhyay has sought a bar on legislators practising as advocates for the period that they are occupying such positions. The dual role would also amount to professional misconduct when MPs and MLAs, who get salary and other benefits from public funds appear against the government as lawyers, the petition said.
Another instance would be counsel thinking about their clients’ interests while passing a bill in their capacity as legislators.