In furtherance of the suit, DHCBA vs SDMC &Ors, the Delhi High Court Bar association approached the Delhi High Court. The petition filed by the Bar Association through Advocate Nikhil Mehta was against the classification of law offices as "commercial activity" for the purposes of calculation of property tax under the Delhi Municipal Act.
The DHCBA asserted that offices of advocates must be treated under the category, “or residential purpose and public purpose”. Furthermore, it has also been submitted that classifying these law offices as a commercial establishment violates the fundamental rights enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The petition read, “Lawyers appear before the Hon'ble court to represent their clients but in effect assist the Hon'ble court to dispense justice, and this cannot be a business or any commercial activity. Professional activities of lawyers are done purely on the strength of their knowledge and skills… even those who have separate offices have to carry briefs home for reading and necessary preparations for the next day's hearing... their residences are an inevitable part of their offices, always.”
The petition also submitted that if the law offices were treated as commercial units, the Assessing Authorities would also ignore the Supreme Court’s rule of the profession of advocates not being a “commercial enterprise, industrial, mercantile, shop or business venture” Hon’ble Justice Najmi Waziri presided over the petition. Since the nature of the petition is similar to a PIL, the matter will be directed to an appropriate Bench having jurisdiction of September 30, 2020. [READ PETITION]