The Delhi High Court in the case of Tarun Saxena v. Union of India has declared Section 17 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 as ultra vires.
Section 17 of the said act had imposed a restriction on lawyers from representation of their clients in matters tried before the Maintenance Tribunals.
Justice Prathiba Singh relied on a division bench judgement of the Kerala High Court and opined that since Section 17 has been declared ultra vires Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961, it would obviously mean that an advocate would have the right to represent parties before the Tribunal under the Act. Ordered accordingly.”
Section 30 of the Advocates Act provides an advocate the right to practice in all courts and tribunals within the territory of India. Therefore, the Kerala High Court held that Section 30 overrides the restraint placed on advocates.
The court also undertook a constitutional exercise and declared that Article 19 gives freedom to practice a profession of choice and same could be applied in the case of Advocates.
The petitioner further claimed that the evidence produced by him is not being considered by the matrimonial tribunal.
In response the court said that Matrimonial Tribunals follow a system of summary procedure and can exercise discretion in case of recording an evidence.
The court also clarified that although the lawyers have a right to practice in matrimonial tribunals the nature of trail under matrimonial tribunal i.e. summary procedure should not be converted into a long adjudication case. If such a situation arises it would defeat the purpose of enacting a legislation.