In a dramatic development, the Bar Council of India has passed a resolution barring Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha from practicing in the court of Chief Justice of India. All three Supreme Court lawyers are also the Congress Rajya Sabha MPs.
The resolution was passed on 18 March, but released on Saturday. Speaking to reporters, the Bar Council of India chief, Manan Kumar Mishra, said, “The BCI has come to a final conclusion that we cannot stop or ban MPs from practising in the courts but there is an exception to it. The lawyer-MPs or MLAs, if they start any motion of impeachment or a removal proceeding against any high court or Supreme Court judge, they will not be allowed to practise in that particular court. This is the majority view of the council.”
This came just days after the three Congress MPs reportedly signed a petition seeking CJI Misra’s impeachment in an alleged medical scam case. Mishra, however, said that the decision was taken to to stop the “misuse of powers” and “privileges” of a lawyer and not of a member of Parliament.
The BCI chairman had joined the BJP on 25 January 2014, just months before the saffron party won a historic mandate in the Lok Sabha elections.
Incidentally, a BJP leader, Ashwini Upadhyay, had written to Mishra asking him to debar parliamentarians and legislators from practicing as advocates in December last year.
“Many MPs and MLAs appear as advocates even during the Parliament and Legislative Assembly sessions and participate in matters that affect financial interests of the country as well as financial interests of their spouse/children/blood relatives/partners/organisations in which they serve as officer/director/trustee/partner or employee, and person with whom they have an arrangement concerning prospective employment,” Upadhyay was quoted by IANS.