Lawyers on BMC rolls cannot represent others,a full bench of Bombay High Court (HC) ruled on Wednesday.
Responding to a petition by the civic body challenging a Bar Council of India (BCI) regulation,the bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud,V M Kanade and A A Sayed said,The reason why a full time salaried employee is handicapped in performing that role (of securing justice) is because as an employee,the paramount concern is to protect the interest of the employer…the difference between a professional who holds a brief and a full time salaried employee is not merely one of degree. A full time salaried employee is subject to the administrative control of the employer and is answerable to the employer for every aspect rendered in the course of employment.
HC said BMC lawyers appearing in private matters would create conflict of duties and interest.
The civic body has a full-fledged legal department that represents it in disputes in various courts and tribunals. The department also gives legal opinion to various BMC departments. Sharmila Modale,who is on the panel of the BMC,said,At present,we have a team of about 150 lawyers representing the corporation in various litigations,including about 40 junior lawyers. On account of being on this panel,it is not at present possible for us to appear as lawyers in other matters.
HC gave the corporation six months to comply with the BCI order of June 22,2001,restricting lawyers employed for a salary from private practice.
Public prosecutors cant be district judges
HC rejected on Wednesday a plea by six assistant public prosecutors of Maharashtra claiming eligibility to be appointed district judges.
The petitioners contended the BCI restriction on appointing them district judges violated principles of equality before law and equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
But HC said the objective of the BCI restriction was to protect independence and autonomy of lawyerss.
The district judiciary is a vital element in the dispensation of justice…The credibility of the institution of justice in society is,therefore,significantly determined by the perception of the role of the judge in the district judiciary, it said.