A BMC official and an advocate Neeta Rajani filed a petition before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking permission for persons employed with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to appear before the court as advocates if they have taken the 'Sanat' (oath) as done by every lawyer.
The petitioners contended that any person who had acquired a degree in law and has taken the oath under the Bar Council could practice law. This is even if that person is employed full time with the corporation. However, the court was reluctant stating that the Bar Council Act may not permit a person employed with the MCGM to also practice as a lawyer.
A division bench of Justice RM Lodha and Justice Nishita Mhatre stated that rule 49 of the Bar Council Act defines a lawyer as 'someone who provides his services to someone else for a full salary'. The court observed, "The question is whether we can extend the rights of a lawyer to a person who is permanently employed with the MCGM."
Senior Counsel KK Singhvi argued that rule 33 of the Act says that the bar council cannot stop a person having taken the oath of practicing.
The court has adjourned the matter to February 2.