In a letter addressed to the Chairman of Bar Council of India, Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra, BJP leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought debarment of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from practicing as Advocates.
The letter relies on the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of Dr. Haniraj L. Chulani v. Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa, 1996 AIR 1708, wherein it was held that a person qualified to be an Advocate would not be admitted as one if he is in fulltime or part-time service or employment, or is engaged in any trade, business or profession.
Mr. Upadhyay cites Section VII, Chapter-II of Part-VI of the Bar Council of India Rules, which list down restrictions on other employments. He then highlights the fact that members of the Executive and the Judiciary are not permitted to practice while MPs and MLAs are, contending that this is against the spirit of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.
He also alleges that several MPs and MLAs appear as Advocates during the Parliament and Legislative Assembly Sessions, contending, "Legislator enjoys better salary, allowance and post-retirement benefits than members of Executive and Judiciary. It is a honorable and fulltime profession but does not remain noble merely by calling it as such, unless he is dedicated for welfare of people. Legislators are expected to put fulltime service to public and their constituents ahead of their personal interests. Nobility of the profession of Law also has to be preserved and protected. Therefore, provisions of the Advocates Act and BCI Rules must be given effect in letter and spirit to maintain clean and efficient Bar to serve the cause of justice."
These MLAs, he says, defend "lawbreaker clients" in the Court of law, a situation which has been contended to be "not only immoral and unethical" but also in violation of Rule 49 of the BCI Rules.