Kerala High Court: Restriction on Advocates to attend Maintenance Tribunals unconstitutional

Kerala high court law insider)


Kerala High Court bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly declared the bar on layers representing their parties before the Maintenance Tribunals as unconstitutional.

Kerala High Court relied on Section 30 of Advocates Act and held, “By virtue of Section 30of the Advocates Act, 1961, coming into force from 15.06.2011, the restriction imposed is taken away and, in such circumstances, Article 19 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees the freedom to practice any profession, enables the Advocates to appear before all the Courts and Tribunals, subject to Section 34 of the Advocates Act, 1961”.

The petitioner, advocate KG Suresh instituted a Public Interest Litigation seeking Section 17 of the Maintenance Act to be declared unconstitutional in light of Section 30 of the then-newly introduced legislation, Advocates Act.

The Court held that Section 30 has an overriding effect on Section 17 of the Maintenance Act.

The Court agreed with the submissions of the petitioner’s advocates as well as the Bar Council that the parties appearing before the Maintenance Tribunal are not expected to know the evidences that needed to be produced in the Tribunal.

Court further underscored that in maintenance issues, ‘Legal Aid is a constitutional right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and legal assistance cannot be confined only to legal advice, which, in our view, would not be sufficient, in the interest of the parties’.

Related Post