Section 17 Of Maintenance Act Not A Bar To Advocates Representing Parties Before Maintenance Tribunal: Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court has held that Section 17 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 will not come in the way of legal representation on behalf of the parties before the Maintenance Tribunal.
Section 17 states that- Notwithstanding anything contained in any law, no party to a proceeding before a Tribunal or Appellate Tribunal shall be represented by a legal practitioner.
The bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan were adjudicating upon a batch of petitions challenging the vires of Section 17 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
Advocates Amitabh Chaturvedi, Ankit Monga appeared for Petitioners whereas Senior Panel Counsel Bharathi Raju, CGSC Anil Soni appeared for Union of India. ASC Shadan Farasat appeared for the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The petitioners had challenged the constitutional validity of Section 17 of the Maintenance Act, alleging to be in violation of Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961 in so far as it prevented one of the petitioners who is a Lawyer from representing a woman before the Maintenance Tribunal.
It was also alleged that Section 17 of the Maintenance Act is also unconstitutional on account of being violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
The Court observed that the "The Division Bench of the Hon'ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in Paramjit Kumar Saroya and Ors v. The Union of India & Ors: MANU/0765/2014, after considering the Act and various judgments passed from time to time, interpreted the import of Section 30 of the Advocates Act,1961 in relation to the Maintenance Act, 2007. It was held that Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961 came into force on 15.06.2011 i.e., much after coming into force of the Maintenance Act in the year 2007. Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961 gives an absolute right to an Advocate to practice before all Courts and Tribunals and would prevail over the Maintenance Act."
The Court observed that the Punjab & Haryana High Court, by way of the said judgment, had requested the Central Government to have a re-look into the provisions of the Maintenance Act in the context of Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
The Court was informed that as of yet neither any decision has been taken in that respect nor any appeal has been filed against the judgment passed by Punjab & Haryana High Court.
Therefore, the Court held thus "We are in agreement with the view taken by the Hon'ble Punjab & Haryana High Court and direct that Section 17 would not come in way of legal representation on behalf of the parties before the Maintenance Tribunal."
Cause Title- Pawan Reley and Anr v. Union of India and Ors. with Ors.