Hyderabad: Advocates practising in the Hyderabad High Court and members of the Bar Council of AP are looking forward to the final decision of the Bar Council of India (BCI) on banning MLAs and MPs from practising as lawyers.
The BCI called for its general council meeting on Sunday to ascertain the views of its members on a petition seeking to ban elected representatives, who have law degrees and are enrolled as advocates, from legal practice as they fall under the definition of public servants and draw salaries for this.
Ashwini Upadhyay, a BJP member and an advocate in the Supreme Court, has petitioned the Bar Council of India to stop MPs/MLAs from practising as lawyers.
His contention is that Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India states that any full-time salaried employee, whether he or she belongs to a corporation, private firm, or the government, cannot practise as a lawyer before a court of law. No public servant can engage in the pursuit of any other vocation and certainly cannot offer his or her services as a lawyer while in service.
A. Narasimha Reddy, chairman of the AP Bar Council, said that the work of a lawyer is a full-time activity and MPs and MLAs also work full-time in Parliament and Assemblies. He said as per the Rules of the Bar Council, an advocate who enrols with the Bar Council has to be a fulltime practitioner; there is no provision under the Rules for part time practice.
As such, the Rule bars part time practice, but there is no proper procedure to ban such part time practice. The Bar Council has no inherent power to initiate action against part-time practitioners.
N. Ramachandra Rao, BJP MLC and member of the Bar Council of India, during the first round of hearing of the BCI on the petition of Mr Upadhyay, said that a majority of members opposed it on the ground that MPs and MLAs cannot be equated with public servants on the sole ground of drawing a salary from the government because as such it is not a salary but is an allowance to the elected representative to meet his expenses for touring in his constituency to meet the people to resolve their problems.
Mr Rao said very few members supported the petition for banning on the ground that elected politicians are not offering legal aid for free or as a charity, but are charging huge amounts, besides enjoying perks of public money as salary. He said the BCI would likely take the decision based on the views of its members....