The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MPs and MLAs) cannot be barred from practicing law.

The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud in a petition filed by advocate and BJP Spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The apex court also dismissed a petition seeking to ban lawmakers from practicing as advocates, saying that the Bar Council of India rules do not prohibit them.

1580 MPs, MLAs facing criminal charges

According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released in April this year, a total of 1,580 MPs and MLAs in the Parliament and state assemblies have declared criminal cases against them.

The ADR report was based its analysis of the affidavits submitted by the legislators. There are a total of 4,896 MPs and MLAs in the country. The ADR analysed affidavits of 4,845 of them. These include 768 of 776 affidavits of MPs, and 4,077 of 4,120 MLAs.

Out of the 541 MPs whose affidavits were analysed, 186 lawmakers had declared criminal cases against them. Of 282 BJP MPs in 2014, 98 had criminal charges against them. Eight out of total 44 candidates of Congress faced criminal charges while six of 37 AIADMK MPs had criminal cases against them and 15 of 18 Shiv Sena MPs had criminal charges against them.

An analysis by ADR in April 2018 found that 48 legislators had criminal cases filed against them for crimes against women. In another report released in April 2018, ADR found 58 legislators have cases registered against them on charges related to hate speech.

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