Supreme Court held that,
A short but an interesting question falls for determination in the present case. It runs as under :
“Whether the respondent-State Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa was justified in refusing enrollment of the appellant as an advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961 as he is a medical practitioner who does not want to give up his medical practice but wants simultaneously to practice law.
The Court also made the following points for consideration:
1. Whether impugned Rule (l) framed by the State Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa suffers from the vice of excessive delegation of legislative power and hence is void and inoperative at law.
2. Whether the said rule is violative of Article 19(1)(9) and is not saved by sub-article (6) thereof.
3. Whether the aforesaid rule is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of The Constitution.
It is held as follows,
It is no doubt true that under Article 19, sub-Article (1)(g) all citizens have a right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business and any profession may include even plurality of professions. However, this is not an absolute right. It is subject to sub-Article (6) of Article 19 which lays down that nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause. It cannot be gainsaid that litigants are also embers of general public and if in their interest any rule imposes a restriction on the entry to the legal profession and if such restriction is found to be reasonable Article 19(1)(g) would not get stultified. It is true that the appellant as a citizen of India having obtained the qualification required for being enrolled as an advocate can legitimately aspire to be enrolled as an advocate but his aforesaid right is fettered by the impugned rule framed by the State Bar Council. We have to consider whether the said restriction imposed by the rule is in any way unreasonable. We have to keep in view the fact that the impugned rule restricts entry of a person who is otherwise qualified for being enrolled as an advocate if he is already carrying on any other profession. Question is whether such a person carrying on other profession can be validly told off the gates by the State Bar Council by resorting to the impugned rule. In our view looking to the nature of the legal profession to which we have made detailed reference earlier the State Bar Council would be justified in framing such a rule prohibiting the entry of a professional who insists on carrying on other profession simultaneously with the legal profession. As we have seen earlier legal profession requires full time attention and would not countenance an advocate riding two horses or more at a time. He has to be full time advocate or not at all. Learned senior counsel for the appellant submitted that, even though the appellant is a practising surgeon he undertaking, if given entry to the legal profession, not to practice medicine during the court hours. This is neither here nor there. It is obvious that even though medical profession also may be a dignified profession a person cannot insist that he will be a practising doctor as well as a practising advocate simultaneously. Such an insistence on his part itself would create an awkward situation not only for him but for his own clients as well as patients. It is easy to visualize that a practising surgeon like the appellant may be required to attend emergency operation, even beyond court hours either in the morning or in the evening. On the other hand the dictates of his legal profession May require him to study the cases for being argued the next day in the court. Under these circumstances his attention would be divided. We would naturally be. in a dilemma as to whether to attend to his patient on the operation table in the evening or to attend to his legal profession and work for preparing cases fur the next day and to take instructions from his clients for efficient conduct of the cases next day in the court. If he is an original side advocate he may be required to spend his evenings and even late nights for making witnesses ready for examination in the court next day. Under these circumstances as a practising advocate if he gives attention to his clients in his chamber after court hours and if he is also required to attend an emergency operation at that very time, it would be very difficult for him to choose whether to leave his clients and go to attend his patient in the operation theater or to refuse to attend to his patients. If he selects the first alternative his clients would clamour, his preparation as advocate would suffer and naturally it would reflect upon his performance in the court next day. If on the other hand he chooses to cater to the needs of his clients and his legal work, his patients may suffer and may in given contingency even stand to lose their lives without the aid of his expert hand as a surgeon. Thus he would be torn between two conflicting loyalties, loyalty to his clients on the one hand and loyalty to his patients on the other. In a way he will instead of having the best of both the worlds, have worst of both the worlds. Such a person aspiring to have simultaneous enrollment both as a lawyer and as a medical practioner will thus be like ’trishanku’ of yore who will neither be in heaven nor on earth. It is axiomatic that an advocates has to burn midnight oil for preparing his cases for being argued in the court next day. Advocate face examination every day when they appear in courts. It is not as if that after court hours advocate has not to put in hard work on his study table in his chamber with or without the presence of his clients who may be available for consultation. To put forward his best performance as an advocate he is required to give wholehearted and full time attention to his profession. Any flinching from such unstinted attention to his legal profession would certainly have an impact on his professional ability and expertise. If he is permitted to simultaneously practise as a doctor then the requirement of his full time attention to the legal profession is bound to be adversely affected. Consequently however equally dignified may be the profession of a doctor he cannot simultaneously be permitted to practise law which is a full time occupation. It is for ensuring the full time attention of legal practitioners towards their profession and with a view to bringing out their best so that they can fulfil their role as an officer of the court and can give their best in the administration, of justice, that the impugned rule has been enacted by the State legislature. It, therefore, cannot be said that it is in any way arbitrary or that it imposes an unreasonable restriction on the new entrant to the profession who is told not to practise, simultaneously any other profession and if he does so to deny to him entry to the legal profession. It is true as submitted by learned senior counsel for the appellant that the rule of Central Bar Council does not countenance an advocate simultaneously carrying on any business and it does not expressly frawn upon any simultaneous profession. But these are general rules of professional conduct. So far as regulating enrollment, to the profession is concerned it is the task entrusted solely to the State Bar Council by the Legislature as seen earlier while considering the scheme of the Act. While carrying on that task if the entry to the profession is restricted by the State Bar Council by enacting the impugned rule for not allowing any other professional to enter the Bar. When he does not want to give up the other profession but wants to carry on the same simultaneously with legal practice, it cannot be said that
the Bar Council has by enacting such a rule imposed any unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right of the prospective practitioner who wants to enter the legal profession.