What is the issue ?
- Supreme Court admitted a PIL petition to ban MPs and MLAs from doubling up as lawyers.
What is the problem according to the petitioner ?
- Legislators donning the lawyers robes was a “matter of serious concern to both the judiciary and the legislature”.
- “They also utilise their position as MPs/MLAs to be visible in the public domain, including on television where they give interviews or participate in shows. This essentially amounts to advertising, as their ‘brand’ is promoted among the public, many of whom are potential litigants".
- "This virtually seamless transition between the two spheres by these legislators is causing irreversible harm to both the profession and public interest."
What does the law say ?
- Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Act, forbids an advocate to be “fulltime salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practice".
- Petitioner contended that MPs and MLAs drew their salaries from the Consolidated Fund of India, and hence were "employees of the state".
- Under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 2(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, MLAs and MPs are considered to be public servants.