New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that there is no bar on MPs and MLAs doubling up as lawyers.The judgment by a three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud comes as a great relief for many sitting MPs across the political parties who are practising lawyers in the Supreme Court and various high courts.The bench had earlier taken note of the centre’s submission that an MP or an MLA is an elected representative and not a full-time employee of the government, hence the plea was not maintainable.
However, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Mr Upadhyay, had told the court that a lawmaker draws a salary from the public exchequer and a salaried employee is barred by the Bar Council of India from practising in the courts of law.To this, the bench had replied that employment postulates a master-servant relationship and the government of India is not the master of a Member of Parliament.The Supreme Court was hearing the petition which said that while a public servant cannot practise as an advocate, lawmakers are practising in various courts which was a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.The petition also pointed out that the MPs have the power of voting on the impeachment of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal had told the court during the hearing that the judiciary cannot get into law-making, which is reserved for the legislature. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Upadhyay, had told the court that a lawmaker draws a salary from the public exchequer and a salaried employee is debarred by the Bar Council of India from practising in the courts of law.