Legislators should not be stopped from practising law, recommends panel set up by Bar Council
The council will make a final decision on the matter only next week as one member of the panel had a differing view.
An expert committee of the Bar Council of India has recommended not barring Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies and Members of Legislative Councils from practising law, Live Law reported on Monday.
The Bar Council of India, which deliberated on the panel’s report at its General Council meeting on Sunday, will discuss the matter further and make a final decision next week, as one member in the committee opposed the recommendation.
Bar Council Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said three people of the four-member sub-committee – BC Thakur, RG Shah and DP Dhal – said in their report that legislators should be allowed to practise law. One member, S Prabhakaran, said they should be debarred on the grounds of conflict of interest and office of profit.
“The General Council is of the view that the matter needs thorough consideration, being a serious issue,” Mishra said.
The Bar Council was acting on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. He has argued that legislators “get a salary from the consolidated fund of India and are, hence, employees of the state, and the BCI’s rule 49 restricts a salaried employee from practising as an advocate”.
Based on Upadhyay’s complaint, the Bar Council had issued notices to MPs and MLAs who are practicing lawyers, asking them why they should not be debarred.
Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, KTS Tulsi, P Chidambaram are among the over 500 MPs and MLAs under the council’s scanner. They have till next week to submit their replies.