Lawyers can now appear before university and college tribunals, which decide service matters of college teachers. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court last week struck down a proviso in the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994 that prohibited legal practitioners from appearing before college and university tribunals.
Acting on two petitions, the division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice PB Varale held the right of an advocate to appear before any court, other than high courts and the Supreme Court flows from section 30 of the Advocates Act The bench held section 64 of the [Maharashtra Universities] Act, which prohibited legal practitioners from appearing before the tribunals, was repugnant to section 30 of the Advocates Act and consequently declared it void.
The petitions were filed by practicing advocate Mohan Sudame and Sanjivan Shikshan Sanstha from Bhandara district. They had approached the high court after the University and College Tribunal of Nagpur University refused permission to an advocate, representing the educational institute, to appear before it in view of section 64 of the Universities Act.
Sudame contended the provision in the Maharashtra Universities Act was contrary to section 30 of the Advocates Act, since the latter, enacted by Parliament, empowered and conferred the right on advocates to practice before any tribunal or person legally authorised to record evidence.
The court accepted his contentions and declared the proviso in Maharashtra Universities Act as invalid. The court also struck down the order refusing permission to the Nagpur University’s lawyer to appear before it.