Indexing 
 
Sheo Narayan Jafa v Judge Allahabad H.C. AIR 1953 SC 368 – Page 2 
 
In re; A an Advocate AIR 1962 SC 1337 – P...
Shiv Narain Jafa vs The Hon'Ble Judges Of The High ... on 15 May,
1953
Equivalent citations: AIR 1953 SC 368, (1953) IIMLJ...
propose to examine him in the Court of Session. In the application at No. 6 Himman was mentioned and
Hulasi was also added...
Advocate's conduct in obtaining the copy can be called a piece of sharp practice justifying suspension from
practice.
7. T...
In re A an advocate air 1962 SC 1337
25/09/1961 SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ) SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ)
SUBBARAO, K.
SHAH, J.C...
Advocate on Record.
Supreme Court, Office and Residence B.9, Model Town, Delhi-9.
Dated 19-1-61.
290 Dear Sir, Jai Hind.
Y...
to E, were brought on the record with a view to comparing his admitted hand- writing in those
documents with that of the p...
moral fibre. If he is ignorant of the elementary 295 rules of professional. ethics, he has
demonstrated the inadequacy of ...
Lalit Mohan Das vs Advocate-General, Orissa on 29 November, 1956
Equivalent citations: 1957 AIR 250, 1957 SCR 167
Bench: D...
14.
HEADNOTE:
The appellant pleader who already had strained relation with the Munsif made certain
objectionable remarks i...
With regard to disciplinary action against a member of the Bar, the Supreme Court would be
reluctant to interfere with the...
The Munsif wanted to take up the oldest suit for hearing, and the oldest suit being Suit No. 54 of
1952, it was taken up f...
date the appellant came to Court accompanied by his junior Shri P. N. Patnaik, for the purpose of
arguing the case on beha...
undesirable and affecting the prestige of the Bar and may cause apprehension in the mind of the
litigant public to get fai...
suggested by the Additional District Judge. On January 19, 1954, two resolution,% were passed
in the following terms: "No....
report which was submitted to the High Court. Under the provisions of s. 14 of the Legal
Practitioners Act, such a report ...
of the appellant was highly reprehensible. The appellant gave no evidence in support of his
version of the incidents, thou...
In Re: Shri 'M', An Advocate Of The ... vs Unknown on 17 October,
1956
Equivalent citations: AIR 1957 SC 149, 1957 CriLJ 3...
the normal course, and in view of the rather elaborate enquiry which was held by our learned brother,
Bhagwati J., we shou...
3. The undisputed facts are as follows. The complainant, Attar Singh, engaged a Senior Advocate of this
Court, Sardar Ragh...
reasonable fee would be paid later on. He denies that there was any understanding or arrangement that
only a sum of Rs. 10...
their evidence. The learned Attorney-General while fairly conceding that there is good deal of room for
comment about the ...
"Somebody asked me to get the money from the High Court to meet the expenses. Subsequently I wrote to
the High Court".
8. ...
11. The questions which require consideration under this charge are (1) whether Shri 'M' intimated Attar
Singh about the w...
balance was lying to his credit out of the said amount and requesting that the same may be remitted to
him. He received a ...
for the work done by him in connection with the appeal would be about Rs. 500. He denies the version of
Attar Singh that h...
was in fact available or was received. But it is unnecessary to dwell on this any further because we have
already noticed ...
appropriation of the amount on the basis of that bill. Learned counsel for Shri 'M' very strongly urges that
the evidence ...
the time of the hearing of the appeal. But even there he says that he did not at that time ask for anything
further. There...
"After I received this money (unspent balance) I appropriated it towards my fee. There was no settlement
of fees between m...
due to him to the good sense and the good will of the client on the termination of the case. It is urged that
on this view...
is all the greater where the moneys represent the unspent balance of what was given for a specific
purpose, such as for pa...
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Rajendra V Pai vs Alex Fernandes AIR 2002 SC 1808

In re; A an Advocate AIR 1962 SC 1337

In re; Mr G a Senior Advocate of SC AIR 1954 SC 557

In re; Lalit Mohan Das AIR 1957 SC 250

Sheo Narayan Jafa v Judge Allahabad H.C. AIR 1953 SC 368

P J ratnam Vs D kanik Ran AIR 1964 SC 244

In re; M an Advocate AIR 1957 SC 149

John D'Souza vs Edward Ani 1994 (2) SCC 64

In re: V C Mishra AIR 1995 SC 2348

L D Jaisingham Vs Narain Das N Punjabi 1976 (1) ACC 354

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Case

  1. 1. Indexing    Sheo Narayan Jafa v Judge Allahabad H.C. AIR 1953 SC 368 – Page 2    In re; A an Advocate AIR 1962 SC 1337 – Page 5    In re; Lalit Mohan Das AIR 1957 SC 250 – Page 9    In re; M an Advocate AIR 1957 SC 149 – Page 18    In re; Mr G a Senior Advocate of SC AIR 1954 SC 557 – Page 33    In re: V C Mishra AIR 1995 SC 2348 – Page  41    John D'Souza vs Edward Ani 1994 (2) SCC 64 ‐  Page 72    L D Jaisingham Vs Narain Das N Punjabi 1976 (1) ACC 354 – Page 75    Rajendra V Pai vs Alex Fernandes AIR 2002 SC 1808 ‐ Page ‐ 79    P J Ratnam Vs D kanik Ran AIR 1964 SC 244 – Page – 81    Contact  Piyush Gupta  8800‐360‐781  Manager Projects  TransWeb Educational    Student – KGK (PG) College  2nd  Year LLB (2013‐14)   
  2. 2. Shiv Narain Jafa vs The Hon'Ble Judges Of The High ... on 15 May, 1953 Equivalent citations: AIR 1953 SC 368, (1953) IIMLJ 238 SC Author: G Hasan Bench: Mahajan, B Mukherjea, G Hasan, Bhagwati, J Das JUDGMENT Ghulam Hasan, J. 1. Mr. Shiva Narain Jafa, an Advocate practising at Budaun, has appealed against the decision of a Pull Bench of the Allahabad High Court suspending him from practice as an Advocate for a period of six months under the provisions of the Indian Bar Councils Act. 2. It appears that in 1942 one Ganesh was prosecuted before Mr. N. P. Sanyal, Assistant Sessions Judge, Budaun, under Section 376, Penal Code, read with Section 511, Penal Code, for an attempt to commit rape upon a Chamar woman called Himman. His defence was a denial of the offence and the improbability of his attempting such an offence owing to his physical defect. He attributed his implication in the offence to his enemies. Ganesh was convicted and sentenced to 5 years' rigorous imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced on appeal by the High Court to one year's rigorous imprisonment. Mr. Jafa represented Ganesh at the trial. It was in connection with his conduct as an Advocate in the trial that Mr. Sanyal complained to the High Courts for taking disciplinary action against Mr. Jafa for professional misconduct. The High Court directed the District Judge, Budaun, under Section 10(2), Bar Councils Act to hold an inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Jafa with reference to the allegations made in Mr. Sanyal's complaint. The District Judge framed several charges and reported as a result of his findings that Mr. Jafa should not be allowed to continue as a member of tile Bar. 3. The main charges are stated to be three. Under the first charge there are eleven subsidiary charges indicated by letters A to K of which seven refer to the Advocate's conduct in connection with the trial of Ganesh in the Court of Mr. Sanyal. The second charge is to the effect that the Advocate was in the habit of putting scandalous and obscene questions to women witnesses and is based partly upon questions put to Himman in the witness box and to a witness in another case in which action proposed to be taken against the Advocate was subsequently dropped. The third charge is that he deliberately raised groundless personal issues between himself and his clients on the one side and the presiding officers of courts on the other so as to pick up quarrels with them with the object of bullying and brow-beating them. The High Court acquitted the Advocate of all the charges, save two, described as I-A & I-F. 4. The subsidiary charge I-A is that the Advocate made an application before the Assistant Sessions Judge asking for copies of the statements of certain witnesses examined by the Police under Section 162, Criminal P. C. Six of these had been produced before the Committing Magistrate and they were cited as witnesses to be produced by the prosecution at the Sessions trial. The seventh was Hulasi, the husband of Himman. Hulasi had been produced before the Committing Magistrate, but the prosecution did not
  3. 3. propose to examine him in the Court of Session. In the application at No. 6 Himman was mentioned and Hulasi was also added as a witness, but was not separately numbered. The application in the opening paragraph stated that the statements of the 'undermentioned witnesses' were required. The copies were supplied under the order of the Court. The charge against the Advocate was that Hulasi was not a witness who was called for the prosecution at the Sessions trial and therefore a copy of his statement could not under Section 162, Criminal P. C. be asked for or supplied but by misleading the Court into thinking that Hulasi was such a witness, the Advocate succeeded in getting a copy of his statement. This action of the Advocate is characterised by the High Court as a piece of sharp practice which was entirely unworthy of a member of the Bar and amounted to professional misconduct. The second subsidiary charge (I-F) which was held established by the High Court is that the Advocate had put a question to Babu Shiv Pershad, the Investigating Inspector in cross-examination in that case, whether he had been alone with Himman in her field till mid-night or till a late hour in the night. The Advocate denied having put the question but the Court held that he did put it and it was a most improper question. They held that the question was irrelevant as the charge had already been made before the Sub-Inspector began investigation and the suggestion that the Sub-Inspector was guilty of misbehavior with the woman was a scandalous allegation put forward in the form of a question without any real justification. They took the view that the Advocate's conduct was reprehensible and that it amounted to professional misconduct which would justify disciplinary action against him. The other subsidiary charges were held not proved. One of the subsidiary charges (I-C) referred to certain questions which the Advocate attempted to put to Himman in the course of cross-examination which were disallowed by the Court as being indecent and unnecessary. These questions related 'inter alia' to the physical condition and physical characteristics of the accused Ganesh. The learned Judges held that the attempt to put such questions reflected in some measure upon the Advocate's capacity as a lawyer but there was no sufficient reason for holding that he deliberately intended to put indecent questions to the witness merely to embarrass and annoy her. 5. As regards the first charge, it is true that under Section 162, Criminal P. C. the Advocate could not apply for and obtain a copy of the statement of Hulasi recorded by the Police as he was not called for the prosecution to give evidence in the Court of Sessions. His action was either due to his ignorance of the provisions of Section 162, a fact which is scarcely credible in view of his standing at the Bar for over 30 years, or it was a deliberate act on his part to obtain the copy with a view to using it, as he thought, for contradicting Hulasi in the witness box with reference to his previous statement and to make it conflict with the other prosecution evidence, should he be called at any stage of the trial. In the latter case he may well have acted in good faith believing, however erroneously, that he was serving the best interests of his client. 6. Regardless of the motive of the Advocate, it is clear that the Court failed to exercise its jurisdiction in not refusing the application in view of the express provisions of Section 162, which permits the furnishing of a copy to the accused only of a witness who is called for the prosecution at the trial. On the other hand, Mr. Sanyal ordered on the application 'Comply' whereupon the Court Moharrir issued the copy. Mr. Sanyal subsequently held the Court Moharrir guilty of gross negligence in issuing the copy but failed to realise that it was he who was to blame for neglecting to do his obvious duty. We do not think that the
  4. 4. Advocate's conduct in obtaining the copy can be called a piece of sharp practice justifying suspension from practice. 7. The second charge does not in our opinion merit any serious notice. The question no doubt carried a veiled insinuation about the Sub-Inspector's misbehavior but the Sub-Inspector did not object to the question being asked and the Court did not disallow it as it had ample jurisdiction to do if it regarded the question as being in decent or scandalous. The question was intended, as pointed out by the Advocate, to impeach the credit of the Sub-Inspector in the conduct of the investigation. The question was not intended to show that the Sub-Inspector was responsible for instituting a false charge against the accused but it could well be taken to impeach the credit of the Investigating Inspector in other respects such as employing questionable methods to obtain the conviction of the accused on the ground of his partiality towards the woman. The First Information Report was made on 29-1-1942, soon after the occurrence which took place at 11 a.m. The Sub- Inspector went to the village for investigation on February 1. The Sub-Inspector while denying that he remained with the woman for a long time in the night in the field, made conflicting statements about the time of his return. He said he did not remember that he had noted the time of his return in the diary at 11 p.m. but it was possible that the time may be correct. This lends some colour to the insinuation made in the question. At another place he stated that he returned at 7 p.m. In this state of the evidence it is not possible to say that the question which was intended to shake his credit was improper. 8. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, we are not satisfied on the materials before us that the case is one which deserves severe disciplinary action such as suspension of practice for six months as has been imposed by the High Court. We think the ends of justice will be served by letting off the Advocate with a warning. We cannot, however, part with the case without expressing our disapprobation of the conduct of the Advocate in not exercising proper discretion in putting certain questions to Himman. The subject-matter of the questions and the manner in which they were put do suggest that the Advocate exceeded the legitimate bounds of his privilege to some extent. We hope that the warning we have issued to him will serve to make him more careful in future. 9. Accordingly we set aside the order of the High Court suspending the appellant from practice and content ourselves with issuing a warning to him. We make no order as to costs.  
  5. 5. In re A an advocate air 1962 SC 1337 25/09/1961 SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ) SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ) SUBBARAO, K. SHAH, J.C. DAYAL, RAGHUBAR MUDHOLKAR, J.R. CITATION: 1962 AIR 1337 1962 SCR Supl. (1) 288 ACT: Professional Misconduct-Advocate on Record writing letters soliciting briefs-If guilty of professional misconduct Untruthful conduct is, court-Defect of character-Punishment-Supreme Court Rules, 1950 (as amended), O. IVA, r. 2. HEADNOTE: Mr. A, an Advocate on Record of this Court, wrote letters soliciting clients. One of such letters, a post-card was addressed to the Law Minister of Maharashtra and ended as follows,- "You might have got an Advocate on Record in this Court but I would like to place my services at your disposal is you so wish and agree". To the Registrar of this Court he admitted having written the post-card, but before the Tribunal stoutly denied having done so. The Tribunal found on evidence that the Advocate had written the post-card. When the matter came up before the court, the Advocate at first denied having written the post-card but on being pressed by the court to make a true statement admitted that he had written the postcard and had admitted that before the Registrar. ^ Held, that it is against the etiquette of the Bar and its professional ethics to solicit briefs from clients and an Advocate who does so must be guilty of grossly unprofessional conduct. There can be no doubt in the instant case that the Advocate concerned had written the post- card soliciting briefs. It makes no difference whether he did so in ignorance of this elementary rule of the profession or in disregard of it, since his conduct in court showed that he had no regard for truth and, consequently, he deserved no sympathy of the court and must be suspended. 289 DISCIPLINARY JURISDICTION: In the matter of Mr. 'A' an Advocate. The Advocate in person. H. N. Sanyal, Additional Solicitor-General of India and T. M. Sen, for the Attorney-General of India. 1916. September 25 and November 2. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by SINHA, C. J.-The Advocate proceeded against for professional misconduct was enrolled as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court in December 1958. In January 1961, he was enrolled as an advocate of this Court. The proceedings against him were taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in O. IV-A of the Supreme Court Rules. In March this year the Registrar of this Court received a letter, marked 'Secret', from Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra, in the Department of law & Judiciary, to the effect that the "Advocate on Record" of the Supreme Court had addressed a post-card, dated January 1, 1961, to the Minister of Law of the State of Maharashtra, which "constitutes a gross case of advertisement and solicitation for work." The original post-card was enclosed with the letter, with the request that the matter may be placed before the Chief Justice and the other Judges of the Supreme Court for such action as to their Lordships may seem fit and proper. The post-card, which was marked as Ex. A in the proceedings which followed, is in these terms: Mr. 'A'.
  6. 6. Advocate on Record. Supreme Court, Office and Residence B.9, Model Town, Delhi-9. Dated 19-1-61. 290 Dear Sir, Jai Hind. Your attention is drawn to the rule 20 of order IV of the Supreme Court Rules 1950 (as amended upto date) to appoint an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court as according to this rule 'no advocate other than an advocate on Record shall appear and plead in any matter unless he is instructed by an Advocate on Record.' You might have got an Advocate on Record in this court but I would like to place my services at your disposal if you so wish and agree. Hoping to be favoured. Thanks, Yours sincerely, Sd: 'A' To The Minister of Law, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay." When the matter was placed before the Chief Justice, he directed the Registrar informally to enquire from the Advocate concerned whether the post-card in question had been written by him and bore his rubber stamp and signature. The Registrar called him, and in answer to his queries, the Advocate admitted that the post-card bore his rubber stamp and signature and that it bad in fact been dispatched by him. He also informed the Registrar that he had addressed similar post-cards to other parties. The Advocate added that he did not realise that in addressing those post-cards he was committing any wrong or breach of etiquette. The Chief Justice, on receiving the aforesaid information, placed the matter before a Committee of three Judges of this Court, under r. 2, O. IV- A. The Committee considered the matter referred to it, and 291 on receiving its opinion, the Chief Justice constituted a Tribunal of three members of the Bar, Shri Bishan Narain and Shri A. Ranganadham Chetty, Senior Advocates, and Shri I. N. Shroff, Advocate, with Shri Bishan Narain as its President, for holding the necessary enquiry into the alleged conduct of the Advocate proceeded against. In reply to the notice served on the Advocate, he chose to behave in a most irresponsible way by alleging that the complaint in question by the Government of Maharashtra "is false, mala fide and misconceived". He denied that he had written the letter in question, which he characterised as "the work of any miscreant". He added further that even if it were proved that the letter in question had been written by him, a mere perusal of it would show that there was nothing unprofessional or otherwise objectionable in it, and he added further that certainly it is not solicitation of work if one inquires from any person whether it requires or wishes and agrees to have the services of another advocate". The Advocate was examined as witness on his own behalf and the Tribunal put the post-card to him. The following questions by the Tribunal and answers by the Advocate will show the determined way in which he denied what he had admitted to the Registrar. "Tribunal: This post-card which has been brought to the notice of the court purports to be from you. Is this the post-card which you have written ? Witness: No. Tribunal: Has it not gone from your office ? Witness: No. There is no doubt it bears the seal of my office, but it has not been affixed by me. 292 Tribunal: You say it does bear your name and that the rubber stamp which appears is of your office but that it has not been affixed by you. Witness: Yes. Tribunal: Is the hand-writing which one find on this Postcard your hand-writing ? Witness: No. Tribunal: And the signature which is at the foot of the letter, you say, is not your signature. Witness: No, it is not mine" The Tribunal pursued the matter further to find out as to how the post-card had purported to emanate from his office, and then certain documents, marked Exs.B
  7. 7. to E, were brought on the record with a view to comparing his admitted hand- writing in those documents with that of the post- card in question. The Tribunal also made him write a letter in the very terms in which the postcard is written, with a view to making a comparison of the handwriting on the post-card with his admitted writing in identical terms, given by him in Court. The Tribunal then confronted him with his admissions made to the Registrar, as aforesaid, before the proceedings started. The following questions and answers will further indicate his attitude; "Tribunal: In what respects do you find any difference between your normal signature and this signature (signature on the post-card is shown to him). Witness: It appears to be like my signature, but it is not my signature. Signature on Ex. A is not my signature. 293 Tribunal: In connection with this post- card did you see the Registrar (Supreme Court) ? Witness: Yes, he called me. Tribunal: When? Do you know the date ? Witness: I do not remember. Tribunal: Did you say anything to him ? Witness: I did not make any statement. He showed me the post-card. I told him, as I said here, that I held not written it; somebody else might have written it. Tribunal: Did you admit before the Registrar that this letter was written by you ? Witness: I did not admit it, but he told me that if I admitted it, the matter might be hushed up. Tribunal: Did you say to the Registrar that you did not realise that in so doing you were doing any thing wrong ? Witness: No. I did not say anything. Tribunal: Do you want to produce any evidence ? Witness: No, because I have not done anything; so, I do not want to produce any evidence. Even if it is found that I have written the post-card, even then on merits, there is nothing in this Case". Finding that the Advocate was adamant in his denial that he wrote the post-card or that he had made any statement before the Registrar, the Tribunal called the Registrar as a witness and examined him on solemn affirmation. The Registrar are his evidence and fully supported his previous 294 report that the Advocate had made those admissions before him. After recording the evidence, oral and documentary, the tribunal made the report that inspite of stout denial by the Advocate concerned, the Tribunal was satisfied that the post-card in question had been written by him. The Tribunal was also of opinion that the Advocate did not realise that in writing the post-card he was committing a breach of professional etiquette and of professional ethics. It also remarked that it was unfortunate that the Advocate chose to deny the authorship of the post-card. The findings of the Tribunal, along with the evidence and record of the case, have been placed before us. 'the Advocate, on notice, has appeared before us and we have heard him. Before us also the Advocate first took up the same attitude as he had adopted before the Tribunal, but on being pressed by the Court to make a true statement as to whether he had written the post-card and had admitted before the Registrar that he had done so, he answered in the affirmative. It is clear beyond any shadow of doubt that the Advocate had addressed the letter aforesaid to the Government of Maharashtra, soliciting their briefs; that he had admitted to the Registrar of` this Court that he had written the post-card and other such post-cards to other parties, and that he did so in utter disregard of his position as an Advocate of this Court. It is equally clear that his denial of having written the post-card, and of having subsequently admitted it to the Registrar, was again in utter disregard of truth. He has, in this Court, condemned himself as a liar and as one who is either ignorant of the elementary rules of professional ethics or has no regard for them. In our opinion, the Advocate has mischosen his profession. Apparently he is a man of very weak
  8. 8. moral fibre. If he is ignorant of the elementary 295 rules of professional. ethics, he has demonstrated the inadequacy of his training and education befitting a member of the profession of law. If he M knew that it was highly improper to solicit a brief and even then wrote the post- card in question, he is a very unworthy member of the learned profession. In any view of the matter, he does not appear to be possessed of a high moral calibre, which is essential for a member of the legal profession. If anything, by adopting the attitude of denial which has been demonstrated to he false in the course of the proceedings before the Tribunal, he has not deserved well of the Court even in the matter of amount of punishment to be meted to him for his proved misconduct. In our opinion, he fully deserves the punishment of suspension from practice for five years. This punishment will give him enough time and opportunity for deciding for himself, after deep deliberation and introspection, whether he is fit to continue to be a member of the legal profession. In our view he is not. Let him learn that a lawyer must never be a liar.
  9. 9. Lalit Mohan Das vs Advocate-General, Orissa on 29 November, 1956 Equivalent citations: 1957 AIR 250, 1957 SCR 167 Bench: Das, S.K. PETITIONER: LALIT MOHAN DAS Vs. RESPONDENT: ADVOCATE-GENERAL, ORISSA DATE OF JUDGMENT: 29/11/1956 BENCH: DAS, S.K. BENCH: DAS, S.K. DAS, SUDHI RANJAN (CJ) BHAGWATI, NATWARLAL H. AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P. CITATION: 1957 AIR 250 1957 SCR 167 ACT: Legal Practitioner-Report--Procedure-Not open to District judge to send back report to the Subordinate civil judge- Report once made Proceedings can terminate by- Final Order of the High Court only--Member of the Bar-Officer of the Court-Duty to client and Court-Dignity and decorum of the Court must be upheld-Conduct-Not a matter between individual member of Bar and a member of Judicial Service-Disciplinary action-Punishment-Mitigating circumstances- Interference by Supreme Court-Legal Practitioners Act (XVIII of 1879), s.
  10. 10. 14. HEADNOTE: The appellant pleader who already had strained relation with the Munsif made certain objectionable remarks in open Court, suggesting partiality and unfairness on the part of the Munsif. The Munsif drew up a proceeding under ss. 13, 14 Of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, against the pleader and submitted a report to the High Court through the District judge. An application to the Additional District judge was filed by the pleader, for time to move the High Court to get an order to have the matter heard by some judicial Officer other than the 168 Munsif who had made the report. One month's time was accordingly granted, and for some reason which is not very apparent, the Additional District judge sent the record back to the Munsif. The Additional District judge made an effort to settle the trouble. It was arranged that the pleader should apologise and a resolution should be passed by the members of the local Bar Association. Accordingly, the pleader appeared in the Court of the Munsif and filed a written apology and expressed his regret, and the Munsif dropped the proceeding. It was later found that the resolution was not passed in the terms suggested by the Additional District judge, and the terms of settlement suggested by the latter were not fully carried out. Accordingly, the proceeding was re-opened and the report was re-submitted to the District judge who with his opinion forwarded the same to the High Court. The High Court suspended the pleader for 5 years. It was contended on behalf of the appellant that there was no valid reason for reviving the proceeding, after it had once been dropped on the submission of an apology and expression of regret. Held, that the report under s. 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act is a report which is submitted to the High Court. When a report is made to the High Court by any Civil judge subordinate to the District judge, the report shall be made through the District judge and the report must be accompanied by the opinion of such judge. Once the report has been made, it is not open to the District judge to send back the record to the Subordinate Civil judge, and no order passed by the Subordinate Civil judge can have the effect of terminating or bringing to an end the proceeding. The High Court alone is competent to pass final orders on the report. A member of the Bar is an officer of the Court, and though he owes a duty to his client and must place before the Court all that can fairly and reasonably be submitted on behalf of his client, he also owes a duty to the Court and must uphold the dignity and decorum of the Court in which he is appearing. Making amputations of partiality and unfairness against the subordinate Civil judge in open Court is scandalizing the Court in such a way as to pollute the very fount of justice ; such conduct is not a matter between an individual member of the Bar and a member of the judicial Service.
  11. 11. With regard to disciplinary action against a member of the Bar, the Supreme Court would be reluctant to interfere with the order of the High Court unless there are clear mitigating circumstances. JUDGMENT: CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 176 of 1956 and Petition No. 165 of 1955. Appeal by special leave from the judgment and order dated March 15/23,1955 of the Orissa High Court, in Civil Reference No, 4 of 1954, 169 N. C. Chatterji, D. -N. Mukherjee and R. Patinaik, for the appellant. Porus A. Mehta and R. H. Dhebar, for respondent No. 1. 1956. November 29. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by S.K. DAS J.-The appellant is Shri Lalit Mohan Das, a pleader of about 25 years' standing. who ordinarily practiced in the Courts at Anandapur in the district of Mayur bhanj in Orissa. The Munsif of Anandapur, one Shri L. B. N. S. Deo' drew up a proceeding under ss. 13 and 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, against the pleader for grossly improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duty and submitted a report to the High Court through the District Judge of Mayurbhanj on December 12, 1953. The District Judge forwarded the report, accompanied by his opinion, to the High Court of Orissa on March 9, 1954. The recommendation of the Munsif was that the pleader should be suspended from practice for one year. The reference was heard by the High Court of Orissa' and by its order dated March 15, 1955, the High Court came to the conclusion that the pleader was guilty of grave professional misconduct and suspended him from practice for a period of five years with. effect from March 15,1955, Shri Lalit Mohan Das then obtained special leave from this Court to appeal against the judgment and order of the Orissa High Court dated March 15 /23, 1955. He also filed a petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution. Learned counsel for the petitioner has not pressed the petition under Art. 32 and nothing more need be said about it. We proceed now to deal with the appeal which has been brought to this Court on special leave. The charges against the appellant were the following On July 15, 1953, the appellant was appearing on behalf of the defendant in Suit No. 81 of 1952 pending before the Munsif of Anandapur. On that date, there were two other suits pending before the same Munsif. There were petitions for time in all the three suits. 22 170
  12. 12. The Munsif wanted to take up the oldest suit for hearing, and the oldest suit being Suit No. 54 of 1952, it was taken up first and five witnesses for the plaintiff were examined. Suit No. 81 of 1952 was postponed to August 18, 1953. The appellant, who appeared for the defendant in that suit, was informed of the postponement. When so informed, the appellant made a-remark in open Court and within the hearing of the Munsif to this effect: " If the Peshkar is gained over, he can do everything." He then left the Court. The Munsif was surprised at the remark made and asked the appellant to explain his conduct, by means of a letter sent the same day. As the appellant sent no reply, the Munsif wrote again to the appellant on July 18, 1953. To this letter the appellant sent the following reply: "Dear Sir, I am painfully constrained to receive memo after memo for some imaginary act of mine not in any way connected with my affairs for which if any explanation is at all warranted officiallv. For your second memo I felt it desirable as a gentleman to reply. Further I may request you to be more polite while addressing letters to lawyers. Yours faithfully, Sd. L. M. Das. Pleader." It is obvious that the letter of the appellant was couched in very improper terms and considerably strained the relation between the Munsif and the appellant. The appellant, it may be stated here, was at that time the President of the Anandapur Sub Divisional Bar Association which consisted of about 14 legal practitioners. On July 21, 1953, Shri B. Raghava Rao, who was the predecessor in office of Shri Deo, came to Anandapur. He was the guest of Shri A. V. Ranga Rao, the Sub- Divisional Officer. One Shri N. C. Mohanty, a pleader of. Anandapur and who was related to the appellant, -came -to invite the two Munsifs to a luncheon on the occasion of a housewarming ceremony. On hearing about the trouble between Shri Deo 171 and the appellant, Shri B. Raghava Rao interceded and it appears that the appellant was persuaded to come to the house of the Sub-Divisional officer and to ,say that he was sorry for what had happened in court on July 15, 1953, and that- he did not happean to insult Shri Deo; Shri Deo, it appears, accepted the apology and for the time being. the trouble between the two was smoothed over. A second incident, however, took place on September 25, 1953. The appellant was appearing for a defendant in another suit before the Munsif It was Suit No. 101 of 1952. This suit was fixed for hearing on September 21, 1953. As that date was a holiday, the suit was taken up 'on September 22, 1953. Another suit, Suit No. 86 of 1952, was also fixed for hearing on that date but Shri N. C. Mohanty, pleader for the defendants in that suit, took time on the ground of the illness of one -of the defendants, which ground was supported by a medical certificate. In Suit No. 101 of 1952 also, the defendants applied for time. on the ground of illness of their witnesses; but there being no medical certificate in support of the allegation of illness and no witnesses having been summoned in that suit, the learned Munsif refused to grant time, and one Shri P. N. Patnaik who also represented the defendants agreed to go on with the suit. The suit was then heard for two days, i. e., on September 22 and 23, 1953, and at the request of the defendants' lawyers the hearing of arguments was postponed to September 25, 1953. On that
  13. 13. date the appellant came to Court accompanied by his junior Shri P. N. Patnaik, for the purpose of arguing the case on behalf of the defendants. At the very outset of his arguments the appellant made the follwing remarks:The Court is unfair to me, while the Court was fair to Mr. Misra (meaning Shri Bhagabat Prasad Misra who was appearing for the plaintiffs in that suit). The Court is accommodating and granting adjournments to Mr. Misra while it was not accommodating me.". The Munsif took objection to these remarks but nothing untoward happened. The appellant concluded his arguments. 172 A third incident brought matters to a climax, and this incident took place on September 29, 1953. The appellant was appearing for the defendants in Suit No. 6 of 1951. In that suit a preliminary point of jurisdiction and sufficiency of court fees was raised and Shri B. Raghava Rao, the predecessor in office of Shri Deo, had dealt with the point and decided it against the appellant's client. A Civil Revision taken to the High Court was also rejected. 'The appellant, however, again pressed the same preliminary point and on September. 29, 1953, Shri Deo passed an order dismissing the preliminary objection. When this order was shown to the appellant, he stood up and shouted at the top of his voice-I'I on behalf of the Bar Association, Anandapur, challenge the order of the Court,. The Court has no principle as it is passing one kind of order in one suit and another kind of order in another suit." The Munsif, it appears, was disgusted at the conduct of the appellant and he stood up and, left the Court room, directing the bench clerk to send a telegram to the District Judge., A telegram was accordingly sent to the District Judge asking him to come to Anandapur. The District Judge asked for a detailed report which was sent on October 1, 1953. On October 5, 1953, the Munsif drew up a proceeding against the appellant on a charge under s. 13 of the Legal Practitioners Act referring therein to the three incidents mentioned above. The appellant was asked to show cause by October 26, 1953. On November 3, 1953, the appellant denied the allegations made and took up the attitude that the Munsif was not competent to hold the enquiry on the ground that the Munsif was in the position of a complainant. The appellant gave a different version of what happened on the three dates in question. With regard to the incident of July 15, 1953, the appellant's plea was that some other client had come to him. in connection with a criminal case pending in another Court and to that client the appellant had said that an enquiry should be made from the Peshkar as to the date fixed. With regard to the incident, on September 25, 1953, the plea of the appellant was^ total denial, and with regard to the last incident, the appellant said 173 that the Munsif behaved rudely- and wanted to' assault the appellant, for which the appellant appears, to have filed a petition to the Governor of Orissa on September 30, 1953, for according sanction for the prosecution of the Munsif. It may be stated here that on October 8, 1953, a resolution was passed, numbered Resolution 6, which purported to be a resolution on behalf of the Bar Association, Anandapur. The resolution was in these termis: "Resolved that on September 29, 1953, the Court's (Munsif) action on the. dais in rising from the chair, thumping on the table, shouting at the top of his voice, and using the words 'shut up' against one honourable member (President) of this Bar Association is quite unprecedented.,
  14. 14. undesirable and affecting the prestige of the Bar and may cause apprehension in the mind of the litigant public to get fair justice." It may be stated that some other members of the Bar dissociated themselves from the a id resolution at a later date. The proceeding against the appellant under the Legal Practitioners Act stated, as we have said earlier, on October 5, 1953, and the appellant filed his written statement on November 3, 1953. On November 5, 1953, the Munsif sent the record to the District Judge in connection with the plea of the appellant that the enquiry should be made by some other judicial officer. The District Judge, however, took the view that under the provisions of ss. 13 and 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act the enquiry should be made by the Munsif himself and the records were accordingly sent back to the Munsif. Thereafter, the appellant non-co- operated and did not appear at the enquiry though more than one communication was sent to ham The enquiry was concluded on December 11, 1953, and the Munsif submitted his report. to,. the High Court through the District Judge on December 12, 1953. On December 22, 1953, the appellant filed an application to the Additional District Judge for time to move the High Court to get an order to have the matter heard by some other judicial officer. One month's time was 174 accordingly granted and the Additional District Judge, for some reason which is not very apparent, sent the record back to the learned Munsif In the meantime, the Additional District Judge, it appears, made an effort to settle the trouble. On December 23, 1953, he met the members of the Bar Association and the Munsif at the inspection bungalow at Anandapur on his way to Mayurbhanj. At a -meeting held there, a copy of a draft resolution to be passed by the members of the Bar Association, Anandapur, was made over. This draft resolution was in these terms: "This Association re rets very much that an incident relating to the bench clerk of the Civil Court. should have led to the subsequent unhappy differences between the Bench and the members of the Bar. As in the interest of the litigant public it is felt not desirable to allow these strained feelings to continue further, this Association unanimously resolves to withdraw Resolution No. 6 dated October 8, 1953, passed against the Court and communicate copies of the same to the addressees previously communicated. It is further resolved to request the Court to see to the desirability of withdrawing the proceedings that had been started against the various members of the Bar and their registered clerks on their expressing regret to the Court individually in connection with those proceedings. It is further resolved that the members of the Bar involved in the proceedings be requested to take immediate steps in this direction. The Association hopes that the bench clerk who has -to some extent been the cause for this friction between the Bench and the Bar would be replaced by a person from a different place at an earlier date." On January 8, 1954, the appellant appeared in the Court of the Munsif and filed a written apology and expressed his regret. His signature wag taken on the order-sheet and the order of that date reads: "Sri L. M. Das, pleader, appears and expresses his regret. So the proceeding No. 2 of 1952 is dropped. Intimate Additional District Judge." No resolution, however, was passed in the terms 175
  15. 15. suggested by the Additional District Judge. On January 19, 1954, two resolution,% were passed in the following terms: "No. 1. In - view of the fact that past misunderstandings between the Munsif and members of the Bar caused by an incident relating to the bench clerk of the Civil Court, have been removed by amicable settlement of differences existing between both parties, it is unanimously resolved that resolution No. 6 dated October 8, 1953, stands withdrawn. No. 2. It is further resolved that the copies of the above resolution be sent to the addressees previously communicated of resolution No. 6 of October 8, 1953." The learned Munsif, it appears, wanted to see the minute book of the Bar Association, presumably to find out in what terms the proposed resolution was passed. There was again trouble between the Munsif and the appellant over the production. of the -minute book. Ultimately, the minute book was produced, and on February 2,1954, the Munsif expressed the view that the resolution passed did not fully carry out the terms of settlement suggested by the Additional District Judge. Accordingly, the proceeding was re-opened and the record was re- submitted to the District fudge. The District Judge thereupon sent the report of the Munsif to the High Court accompanied by his opinion. The High Court dealt with the report with the result which we have already indicated. The main contention of Mr. N. C. Chatterji, who has appeared on behalf of the appellant is this. He has submitted that there was no valid reason for reviving the proceeding against the appellant, after the proceeding had been dropped on January 8, 1954, on the submission of an apology and expression of regret by his client; because, in substance and effect, the terms of the settlement suggested by the Additional District Judge had been complied with. According to Mr. Chatterji an expression of regret having been made earlier than the passing of the resolutions on January 19, 1954, by the Anandapur Bar Association and the bench clerk having already been transferred from 176 Anandapur, the resolutions could not be in the same terms as were suggested by the Additional District Judge; but the two resolutions passed on January 19, 1954 coupled with the expression of individual regret made on January 8, 1954, complied in substance with the essential terms of the draft resolution which the Additional District Judge had made over on December 23, 1953. Mr. Chatterji has contended that this view of the matter has not been properly considered by the High Court. He has submitted that in view of the order passed by the learned Munsif himself on January 8, 1954, the proceeding against the appellant should be treated as having been dropped and concluded on that date. Mr. Chatterji has also drawn our attention to ground No. VI in the petition for special leave dated May 9, 1955, in which the appellant said that he was " willing and prepared to submit before this Court expressions of unreserved regret and apology for his error of judament and indiscretion, if any, in the discharge of his professional duties." We cannot accept the contention of Mr. Chatterji that the order passed by the learned Munsif on January 8, 1954, had the effect of terminating and bringing to an end the proceeding against - the appellant. The learned Judges of the High Court rightly pointed out that the report of the Munsif dated December 12, 1953, was a
  16. 16. report which was submitted to the High Court. Under the provisions of s. 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act, such a report had to be forwarded to the High Court by the District Judge accompanied by his opinion. It was not open to. the Additional District Judge to send back the record to the Munsif The efforts of the Additional District Judge were, indeed, well-intentioned; but at that stage, after the Munsif had made his report to the High Court, the High Court alone Was competent to pass final orders in the matter. Apart, however, from that difficulty, we are not satisfied that the terms of settlement suggested by the Additional District Judge were fully complied with in this case. It is true, that the appellant did express his 177 regret and to that extent the settlement suggested by the Additional District Judge was carried out. It is also true that by the resolutions passed on January 19, 1954, the earlier resolution of October 8, 1953, was cancelled, but one essential and important part of the terms of settlement suggested by the Additional District Judge was that the Association should express regret at what had happened. Resolution No. I dated January 19, 1954, was so worded as to give the impression that the misunderstanding between the Munsif and the appellant was all due to the bench clerk and that misunderstanding having been removed Resolution No. 6 dated October,$, 1953, should be withdrawn. There is nothing in the resolution to show that the appellant was in any way at fault, a fault which he had expiated I by an expression of regret. It may be pointed out that the earlier ,resolution, Resolution No. 6 dated October 8, 1953, had been communicated to a large number of persons and authorities and the later resolution dated January 19, 1,954, passed in the diluted form in which it was passed, could hardly undo the damage which had been made by the earlier resolution. On merits we agree with the High Court that the appellant was undoubtedly guilty of grave professional, misconduct. A member of the Bar undoubtedly owes a duty, to his client and must place before the Court all that can fairly and reasonably be submitted on behalf of his client. He may -even submit that a particular order is not correct land may ask for a review of that order. At the same time, a member of the 'Bar is an officer of the Court and owes a duty to the Court in which- he is appearing. He -must phold the dignity and decorum of the Court and must not do any thing to. bring the Court itself into disrepute. The appellant before us grossly' overstepped the limits of proprieety when he made imputation$; of partiality and unfairiness against the Munsif in open Court. In suggesting that the Munsif followed no principle -in his orders the appellant was adding insult to- injury, because the 'Munsif -had merely up held an order of his predecessor on the preliminary point of jurisdiction and Court fees, 23 178 which order had been upheld by the High Court in s revision. Scandalising the Court in such manner is really polluting the very fount of justice; such conduct as the appellant indulged in was not a matter between an individual member of the Bar and a member of the judicial service; it brought into disrepute the whole administration of justice. From -that point of view, the conduct-
  17. 17. of the appellant was highly reprehensible. The appellant gave no evidence in support of his version of the incidents, though he had an opportunity of doingso, if he so desired. The only point left for consideration, is the question of punishment. On a matter of this nature, this Court would be reluctant to interfere with the order of the High Court as respects the disciplinary action to be taken against a member of the Bar who has been guilty of professional misconduct. There are, however, two mitigating circumstances. One is that the learned Munsif himself recommended suspension of practice for one year only. The appellant was suspended from practice with affect, from March 15,1955. The order of suspension has now lasted for a little more than a year and eight months. The second mitigating circumstance is that the appellant did file la written apology and expressed regret to the learned Munsif onJanuary 8, 1954. It is unfortunate that the appellantdid not take up a more contrite attitude in the High Court. In this Court, the appellant tried to make out that the proceeding against him should not have been revived; he however showed his willingness to offer an apology and ex pression of regret Having regard to all the circumstances, we think that the punishment imposed errs -on the side of excess. We -would accordingly reduece the period of susppusion to, two years only. In the result, the petition, under Art. 32 is dismissed and the appeal is,also dismissed subject to the reduction of the period of suspension as indicated above. In the circumstances of this case, there will be, no 'order for costs. Appeal dismissed 179
  18. 18. In Re: Shri 'M', An Advocate Of The ... vs Unknown on 17 October, 1956 Equivalent citations: AIR 1957 SC 149, 1957 CriLJ 300, 1956 1 SCR 811 Author: Jagannadhadas Bench: Jagannadhadas, B Sinha, V Ayyar JUDGMENT Jagannadhadas, J. 1. These proceedings before us arise out of a summons under Order IV, rule 30 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1950, (as amended) issued to Shri 'M', who was originally an Agent of this Court and became an "Advocate on record" under the new rules of this Court which came into force on January 26, 1954. The summons issued calls upon him to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. It arises on a complaint against him made to the Registrar of this Court by one Attar Singh on December 5, 1955. The substance of that complaint is as follows. The complainant was the appellate in Criminal Appeal No. 12 of 1950 in this Court. Shri 'M' acted for him in connection with the appeal. A sum of Rs. 750 was supplied to Shri 'M' for the printing charges therein. This sum was deposited in due course in the Punjab High Court from whose judgment the appeal arose. There remained an unspent balance of Rs. 242-1-9 out of it. Shri 'M' withdrew that money from the High Court without the authority and the knowledge of the complainant. When, later on, the complainant became aware of it, he demanded refund of the same. Shri 'M' first denied receipt of the money, and thereafter refused to refund it (claiming, as appears later in the evidence, to have appropriated it towards the balance of fees said to be due to him). This complaint was in the usual course put up before his Lordship the Chief Justice who directed the Chamber-Judge, our learned brother, Bhagwati, J., to enquire into it. Notices were issued thereupon both to Shri 'M' and the complainant as well as to three other Advocates of this Court who happened to be associated with that appeal. The enquiry before the learned Judge was fairly elaborate. Thereat, certain conclusions were reached on the basis of which charges were framed against Shri 'M'. The present summons to Shri 'M' is with reference to those charges and this Bench has been constituted as a Special Bench under Order IV, rule 30 of the Supreme Court Rules to deal with this matter. The learned Attorney-General has appeared, on notice, to assist the Court. 2. The rules of this Court do not provide for the procedure to be adopted in such cases, except to say that "the Court shall issue, in the first instance, a summons returnable before the Court or before a Special Bench to be constituted by the Chief Justice to show cause against specified matters. " There have been no precedents of this Court so far, to indicate the exact procedure to be adopted. The only previous case of professional misconduct on summons under Order IV, rule 30 of the Supreme Court Rules which this Court had occasion to deal with, was that reported in In the matter of Mr.'G', a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court . But that was a case in which action had been duly taken against the Advocate by the Bombay High Court in connection with alleged misconduct arising within its jurisdiction. The summons issued to the Advocate by this Court was with reference to the same matter but as regards his position as a Supreme Court Advocate. (We understand that there were also two such cases in the Federal Court). In
  19. 19. the normal course, and in view of the rather elaborate enquiry which was held by our learned brother, Bhagwati J., we should have been content to confine ourselves to a mere hearing of arguments on the material recorded in that enquiry and come to our own conclusions with reference to the charges set out in the summons. But at the outset, objection was taken to our adopting such a course. The validity of the summons was questioned. It was said that under Order IV, rule 30 of the Supreme Court Rules, the enquiry was to follow a summons which is contemplated as the first step therein. It was also said that the enquiry having been in Chambers, the statements of witnesses were not on oath. The learned Attorney- General was also inclined to think that there was force in the objections raised. After discussion in court with the Advocates on both sides we felt it desirable to refrain from any decision on the preliminary objection and to give the Agent complained against, the opportunity of a fresh enquiry in open Court on formulated charges. We accordingly directed by our orders dated May 9, 1956, and September 13, 1956, that evidence should be taken afresh before us and that procedure, substantially as in a warrant case, should be adopted as far as possible under the amended section 251-A of the Criminal Procedure Code, subject to such modifications therein as may appear to be just and expedient in the circumstances of this case and without affecting the rules of natural justice. We treated the enquiry in Chambers as a preliminary enquiry and heard arguments on both sides with reference to the matter of that enquiry. We came to the conclusion that this was not a case for discharge at that stage. We accordingly reformed the charges framed by our learned brother, Bhagwati J., and added a fresh charge. No objection has been taken to this course. But it is as well to mention that, in our opinion, the terms of Order IV, rule 30 of the Supreme Court Rules do not preclude us from adopting this course, including the reframing of, or adding to, the charges specified in the original summons, where the material at the preliminary enquiry justifies the same. The fresh enquiry before us in Court has proceeded with reference to the following charges as reframed and added to by us. "You, 'M', once an Agent of this Court and thereafter an Advocate on record of this Court, are guilty of professional misconduct in that, Firstly, you having deposited a sum of Rs. 750 in the Punjab High Court towards the printing charges of the appeal paper book in Supreme Court Appeal No. 12 of 1950 on behalf of your client, Attar Singh, and having the custody of the receipt issued by the Punjab High Court in respect of the same, applied for the obtained from the Punjab High Court without the authority of your client Attar Singh the balance of Rs. 242-1-9 in the months of March, 1952. Secondly, that after obtaining the said sum of Rs. 242-1-9 as above from the Punjab High Court you retained that sum with you and did not return any part thereof to your client, Attar Singh, even though he frequently called upon you to do so and even though you are not entitled to recover from him by way of your professional charges anything beyond a sum of Rs. 72-15-6 by reason of your having agreed to receive a sum of only Rs. 100 towards your fee and no more. Thirdly, that you after receiving the sum of Rs. 242-1-9 in March 1952, retained the said sum, without any intimation to your client Attar Singh and without claiming any amount as due from him by way of fees to you and without lodging a bill for taxation against him for a period of over three years".
  20. 20. 3. The undisputed facts are as follows. The complainant, Attar Singh, engaged a Senior Advocate of this Court, Sardar Raghbir Singh, who associated with himself Shri M. K. Madan as the Junior Advocate and Shri 'M' as the Agent in the case. Criminal Appeal No. 12 of 1950 was filed by all these three gentlemen with reference to a Vakalatnama executed by the complainant, Attar Singh, in favour of the Agent, Shri 'M'. The complainant had to deposit a sum of Rs. 750 in the Punjab High Court for the preparation of the printed record in the appeal. Shri 'M' was entrusted with a bank draft for the said amount. He deposited it in the Punjab High Court. A receipt for the amount was issued in Shri 'M's name. The printed record in the case was made ready and dispatched to the Supreme Court about the end of December, 1951. Thereafter Shri 'M' applied to the High Court for refund of the unspent balance. He received from the High Court in March, 1952, the sum of Rs. 242-1-9 as the unspent balance. This amount has not been paid to the complainant by Shri 'M' who claims to have appropriated it towards fees said to be due to him. 4. Now the case of the complainant in this. When he filed the appeal he was impecunious as he had lost his job by reason of his conviction. He approached Sardar Raghbir Singh, Senior Advocate, through a relation of his and requested him to arrange for the conduct of the appeal on his behalf and to accept therefore a fee of Rs. 600 and no more, for himself, a Junior Advocate to assist him as well a for an Agent to be in charge, all taken together. It is the complainant's case that Sardar Raghbir Singh agreed to the same and was paid the said amount of Rs. 600 at the very outset, i. e., a few days before the actual filing of the appeal memorandum into this Court and that he (the complainant) was not directly concerned with the fixing up of the Junior Advocate and of the Agent or with the internal distribution of the said sum of Rs. 600 as between the three persons. His case accordingly is that Shri 'M' was not entitled to any further amount by way of fees and that he unauthorisedly withdrew the amount and appropriated it towards alleged fees. Attar Singh, the complainant, has been examined in support of his case. Sardar Raghbir Singh and Shri Madan have also been examined to substantiate it. The evidence of Sardar Raghbir Singh is that he was approached by Attar Singh through a common friend, that he was asked to accept a consolidated fee of Rs. 600, that in consultation with a Junior Advocate, Shri Madan, whom he knew well, he accepted the engagement, that Shri Madan brought in Shri 'M' as the Agent and that the amount of Rs. 600 was paid to him by Attar Singh and was shared by the three Rs. 300 for the Senior, Rs. 200 for the Junior, and Rs. 100 for the Agent. His evidence is that Shri 'M' was not known to him previously but that he was fixed by Shri Madan, that Shri Madan informed him about Shri 'M' having agreed to accept the engagement for a fee of Rs. 100 without more and that in pursuance of this arrangement the said sum of Rs. 100 was paid over to Shri 'M' and Rs. 200 to Shri Madan. The Junior Advocate, Shri Madan, has been examined to substantiate that it was he who fixed Shri 'M' as the Agent in the case with the arrangement that the Agent should charge only Rs. 100 as his fee. The evidence of these three persons, Attar Singh, Sardar Raghbir Singh and Shri Madan, is that all the above took place a few days prior to the filing of the appeal into Court. The appeal was admittedly filed on the 11th May, 1950. Shri 'M' has offered himself as a witness on his own behalf. He admitted that he was fixed up as an Agent in the appeal through Shri Madan at the request of Sardar Raghbir Singh, but he says that he is not aware of any arrangement between the complainant and Sardar Raghbir Singh or about the payment of Rs. 600 by the complainant to Sardar Raghbir Singh on the alleged arrangement. He says that, having been taken as an Agent into the case by Sardar Raghbir Singh on the recommendation of Shri Madan, he was paid at the time of filing of the appeal only a sum of Rs. 50 by Attar Singh himself as part payment of his fees and was promised that
  21. 21. reasonable fee would be paid later on. He denies that there was any understanding or arrangement that only a sum of Rs. 100 was to be paid to him and also denies that he was paid by Sardar Raghbir Singh the sum of Rs. 100. To substantiate that the alleged arrangement to accept only Rs. 100 could not be true, he gives evidence that even the Junior, Shri Madan, sent to him in August, 1952, a bill for Rs. 320 which he says he passed on to Attar Singh and of which he purports to produce a copy. But Shri Madan denies that he ever sent such a bill and Attar Singh denies that he received any such. 5. The controversy on this part of the case is covered by charge number two. The two material facts which have to be determined are (1) whether the Agent, Shri 'M', came into this case on a definite arrangement that his entire fee for the case was to be Rs. 100, and (2) whether he was in fact paid the said sum of Rs. 100 by Sardar Raghbir Singh at the outset. The complainant, Attar Singh, is not by himself a direct witness either to the arrangement or to the fact of payment of Rs. 100. The only material fact which he spoke to on this part of the case is as to his arrangement with Sardar Raghbir Singh. It was that he should fix up, a Junior Advocate and an Agent of his own choice, and accept the sum of Rs. 600 as fees for all the three of them together without claiming anything more. He says also that the said sum of Rs. 600 was paid by him to Sardar Raghbir Singh at the very outset. Sardar Raghbir Singh admits the payment. There is no reason to doubt that a sum of Rs. 600 was in fact paid by Attar Singh to Sardar Raghbir Singh a few days before the actual filing of the appeal in May, 1950, though Shri 'M' denies knowledge of it. On the evidence as given before us, Shri Madan is the only direct witness to the arrangement with Shri 'M' that a sum of Rs. 100 is to be paid to him and that he should claim nothing more for the conduct of the entire case. The arrangement itself was not made in the presence of Sardar Raghbir Singh but it is Sardar Raghbir Singh's evidence that he was informed about it by Shri Madan. It is also Sardar Raghbir Singh's evidence that in pursuance thereof Shri 'M' was paid by him Rs. 100. Thus on the evidence, as given, Shri Madan is the direct witness for the arrangement and Sardar Raghbir Singh is the direct witness for the payment and each became aware of the other fact from the conversations between them at the time and in the course of events. The evidence of both these gentlemen has been commented upon and criticised by the learned Advocate for Shri 'M'. It has been pointed out that these two gentlemen had, in these proceedings, occasion to speak to the facts at three stages, first in answer to letters of enquiry written to each of them by the Registrar of this Court after the complainant was filed and Shri 'M' filed his answer thereto, next when they were examined formally before the learned Judge in Chambers, and now when they are examined before us on oath. It is pointed out that there are substantial variations and developments in their versions. The explanation given by both of them for the variations is that at the earlier stages they did not desire to be more specific or categorical since they were given to understand that the matter would somehow be adjusted, that they did not want to harm Shri 'M' and that the lines on which they were to answer the enquiry from the Registrar, were discussed in a conference between themselves and Shri 'M' with his Advocates. Shri 'M' also admits that there was such a conference. It is urged by the learned Advocate appearing for Shri 'M' that this very explanation offered by these two gentlemen shows that their word, even before us, is not to be taken at its face value. It is also pointed out that neither of the Advocates could produce any accounts to substantiate the payments alleged to have been made, nor any record or note as to the amount of fees fixed for each and the arrangement with Shri 'M' that has been spoken to. On the other hand, they admit that they maintain no accounts at all. It does not also appear that they maintain any satisfactory diaries or other record which might have corroborated
  22. 22. their evidence. The learned Attorney-General while fairly conceding that there is good deal of room for comment about the evidence of these two gentlemen, urges that we should attach greater value to their present evidence given on oath particularly in view of the fact that both of them admit the complainant's story that Rs. 600 was all that was intended to be paid for all the three together and they categorically admit that they have themselves no further claim against the complainant for the work done by them. The learned Attorney-General submits that it is unreasonable to suppose that while both of them accepted comparatively small fees for the whole case, the Agent, Shri 'M', was promised 'a reasonable fee' without any fixation. He urges further that on his own admission, Shri 'M' can point to nothing in the diaries or registers said to have been maintained by him for his cases, which may substantiate his version. He also urges that in view of the probabilities and the evidence we should accept not merely that there was a definite arrangement with Shri 'M' to accept only Rs. 100 for the entire case but also that he was in fact paid the said sum of Rs. 100 then and there. After having given our consideration to the entire evidence on this part of the case, we are of the opinion that we should dispose of this case without coming to any definite conclusion on the disputed facts, material for this issue. All the we need say is that we are not quite happy about the evidence on both sides bearing on this matter. We are inclined to refrain from recording a categorical finding on this issue, which if found against Shri 'M', may amount virtually to a finding of criminal misappropriation. We are willing to dispose of this issue in favour of Shri 'M' by giving him, so far as these proceedings are concerned, the benefit of doubt in respect of the disputed facts material to this issue. 6. The matter arising under charge No. 1 may also be shortly disposed of. The question under that charge is whether, for withdrawing the unspent balance from the Punjab High Court, Shri 'M' had the requisite authority. In support of the alleged authority, he relies both on specific authority given to him orally or on behalf of the complainant, Attar Singh, and also on the authority in his favour for the withdrawal as implied from the wording of the Vakalatnama executed in his favour by Attar Singh. The evidence in support of the specific oral authority is his sole statement before us on oath. He deposes that he was authorised by the relation (or pairokar) of the complainant, Attar Singh, (who used to go to him in connection with the appeal) to withdraw the unspent balance from the High Court. He stated that he was unable to give the name of the Pairokar but that he was sitting in Court while he was giving evidence before us. The alleged relation or pairokar has not been examined as a defence witness. In the proceedings before our learned brother, Bhagwati J., his version on this part of the case is contained in paragraph 8 of his affidavit dated the 5th March, 1956, which is as follows : "I requested Attar Singh to remit funds for prosecuting appeal on 21-12-51 and with his permission wrote to the High Court on 17-1-52 for refund of the balance out of Rs. 750. Thus I received Rs. 242-1-9 from High Court in March, 1952". 7. This clearly indicates that his case then was that he had the permission of Attar Singh himself for withdrawal of the balance. But when examined before our learned brother, Bhagwati J., he said as follows :
  23. 23. "Somebody asked me to get the money from the High Court to meet the expenses. Subsequently I wrote to the High Court". 8. In answer to the specific question who that somebody was he said "I do not remember exactly who it was". He did not then say that he was the complainant's relation or pairokar. In his cross-examination before us he says "His (Attar Singh's) relation came to me and told me that I should get the money from the High Court". When further cross-examined with reference to his previous statements he said that when he used the phrase "with his permission" in his affidavit he meant to indicate the agent or pairokar of Attar Singh and when further pressed as to who that relation was and whether he knows his name he was unable to give any satisfactory answers. His evidence on this part of the case is highly unsatisfactory and cannot be accepted. We have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that he has not proved the specific oral authority, which he has pleaded, for the withdrawal of the balance amount. 9. What is next relied upon in support of the authority is the Vakalatnama executed by Attar Singh in his favour. The Vakalatnama is in form No. 3 of the Fifth Schedule of the Supreme Court Rules, 1950, before their amendment in 1954. What is relied upon is that this form authorises the Agent not only to deposit moneys but also to draw moneys. It is also urged that an Agent has the power by virtue of the specific wording of the vakalatnama "to do all things incidental to his acting" for his client in connection with the appeal. It is urged that the deposit of printing charges and the withdrawal of the unspent balance of the printing charges are all acts incidental to acting for a client in connection with his appeal. On the other side it is pointed out that the form itself indicates that the acting is to be in connection with the work in the Supreme Court since it is headed "in the Supreme Court of India" and that the authority arising under this vakalatnama cannot extend to acts to be done in the Punjab High Court. We do not consider it necessary to decide about the exact scope of the power exercisable under the vakalatnama with reference to the form that has been employed. There is the outstanding fact in this case that the amount has been in fact paid by Shri 'M' direct into the Punjab High Court on a letter issued by the High Court to him. There is also the fact that the receipt for the said amount has been issued by the High Court to him and in his name. There is the further fact that the unspent balance has been paid by the High Court directly to him without requiring any further written power or authority, apparently because he was the depositor and was therefore presumably entitled to withdraw the unspent balance. In view of these facts it would appear that the High Court itself was under the impression that the withdrawal was within the scope of Shri 'M' authority as an Agent for the appeal in the Supreme Court. This impression, if wrong, was one that may well have been shared by Shri 'M' equally with the High Court. In these circumstances, while we definitely hold that the specific oral authority set up has not been proved, it appears to us that no serious notice need be taken of this charge. 10. What remains is charge No. 3 which is as follows : "That you after receiving the sum of Rs. 242-1-9 in March 1952, retained the said sum, without any intimation to your client Attar Singh and without claiming any amount as due from him by way of fees to you and without lodging a bill for taxation against him for a period of over three years".
  24. 24. 11. The questions which require consideration under this charge are (1) whether Shri 'M' intimated Attar Singh about the withdrawal of the unspent balance of printing charges, (2) whether Shri 'M' intimated Attar Singh that any fee remained due and made any demand in that behalf, and (3) whether Shri 'M' was justified in retaining the amount towards fees without lodging a bill for taxation against his client. 12. It is now necessary to recall the relevant facts and enumerate some further facts. Criminal Appeal No. 12 of 1950 was filed into this Court on May 11, 1950, by the Agent, Shri 'M', on the basis of a vakalatnama signed by Attar Singh without date and accepted by Shri 'M' on May 11, 1950. Attar Singh says that when he signed the vakalatnama there were blanks therein and that after signing, he gave the vakalatnama with the blanks to Sardar Raghbir Singh. It is his evidence that having fixed the engagement with Sardar Raghbir Singh and paid the money into his hands, he went away leaving the actual filing of the appeal, on a later date, to Sardar Raghbir Singh. Shri 'M' who accepted the vakalatnama on May 11, 1950, and who filed the appeal memorandum into Court on the same date with the signatures thereon, also of Sardar Raghbir Singh and Shri Madan, admits that the blanks in the vakalatnama were filled in by him in his own handwriting. But he says that Attar Singh was also present at the time of his acceptance of vakalatnama and the filing of the appeal and that Attar Singh then paid him a sum of Rs. 50 without any settlement of fees. He says further that when he accepted the engagement he was given to understand by Sardar Raghbir Singh that he would be paid reasonable fee. This was at the time when the appeal was filed in Court and presumably in the presence of Attar Singh according to him. Attar Singh denies that he was present or paid Rs. 50 to Shri 'M' at the time filing the appeal or that he met Shri 'M' at all at the time. On his evidence, if accepted, Shri 'M' could have no expectation of any further payment of fees. About an year later there was the payment of Rs. 750, towards the printing charges. It is admitted that the amount was supplied by means of a draft in favour of the Deputy Registrar of the High Court given to Sardar Raghbir Singh, by the brother-in-law of Attar Singh. This was passed on to Shri 'M' who sent it on to the High Court. A receipt dated July 19, 1951, was issued therefore by the High Court in Shri 'M's name. It is in evidence that the printed record was received in the Supreme Court in December, 1951. Intimation of the same was presumably given to the Agents concerned in due course. Shri 'M' applied to the High Court in January, 1952, for refund of the unspent balance of the printing charges and received an amount of Rs. 242-1-9 in March, 1952. The appeal was set down for hearing in May 1952. It is the evidence of Attar Singh that on receiving intimation that the appeal was coming up for hearing he came down to Delhi from Bombay, where he was employed at the time, and found that Sardar Raghbir Singh had left for China and was not available for arguing the appeal. His evidence is that he enquired from the wife of Sardar Raghbir Singh who told him to meet Shri 'M' which he did. He says that they came to the conclusion that Shri Umrigar, an Advocate of this Court, was to be engaged to argue the appeal. Thereupon Shri Umrigar was fixed up. The appeal was not actually taken up in May, 1952, as expected. The engagements of both Sardar Raghbir Singh and Shri Madan were terminated sometime in August, 1952, by Shri 'M' under instructions of Attar Singh. The appeal came up for hearing, later on, in November, 1952. It was Shri Umrigar who argued the appeal. Admittedly Shri 'M' was also present at the hearing and instructed Shri Umrigar. The judgment in the appeal was delivered on the 5th December, 1952, allowing the appeal and remanding it for further hearing by the Sessions Court, as an appellate court, on the evidence on record. It would appear that nearly two years later, i. e., on November 24, 1954, Attar Singh applied to the Punjab High Court stating that he had paid Rs. 750 for the printing charges of the record in his appeal and that some
  25. 25. balance was lying to his credit out of the said amount and requesting that the same may be remitted to him. He received a reply thereto from the Deputy Registrar of the Punjab High Court dated October 17, 1955, intimating that the unspent balance of Rs. 242-1-9 was refunded to his counsel, Shri 'M' of the Supreme Court, and advising him to contact him in this behalf. It is in view of this information that Attar Singh ultimately filed on December 5, 1955, a complaint on which the present proceedings were initiated. 13. The evidence of Attar Singh on this part of the case is quite simple. He says that some time after the appeal was filed, i. e., in or about January 1951, he went away to Bombay in connection with private employment which he had obtained there and that he came to Delhi again only in May, 1952, on receiving intimation that his appeal was expected to be taken up. He says further that since the appeal was not taken up in May and went beyond the long vacation he got himself transferred to, and remained in, Delhi since about May, 1952. He says that he came into direct contact with Shri 'M' only from May, 1952, and that he had not met him till then. It is also his evidence that he was never told by Shri 'M' about the unspent balance being available or of his having withdrawn the same. He was also not told that any fees had yet to be paid. He was under the impression that no further fee was due to Shri 'M' and that his fees must have been paid up at the outset by Sardar Raghbir Singh. There was no demand by Shri 'M' from him at any time for balance of fees, not even at the time when his appeal was heard by this Court for two or three days. Towards the end of 1954, he was greatly in need of money on account of the further proceedings in his appeal consequent on the remand. He then felt that he might enquire from the High Court about the availability of any unspent balance out of the printing charges deposited and get back the same and meet his needs. He accordingly wrote a letter to the High Court in November, 1954. He had to send a number of reminders. He ultimately received the reply dated October 17, 1955, from the High Court nearly an year after his first enquiry. According to Attar Singh, before he wrote to the High Court enquiring about the unspent balance, he approached Shri 'M' and enquired from him. It was on his advice that he wrote to the High Court. His evidence further is that when he actually received the letter from the Deputy Registrar of the High Court dated October 17, 1955, he again met Shri 'M' about the unspent balance and enquired of him whether he had received the amount, but that Shri 'M' denied having received any money. He says that thereafter he confronted him with the reply he had received from the High Court and that on seeing it Shri 'M' was astonished and told him to come later on. He states that when he went to him again, Shri 'M' told him that he will return the money after two days, but that ultimately he evaded him. It was after this that at the suggestion of some friends, he lodged the complaint with the Registrar of this Court. 14. As against this, Shri 'M's evidence is as follows. When the printed record was received from the High Court, and he got intimation of the same, he wrote a letter dated December 21, 1951, to Attar Singh intimating that the printed record had been received in the Supreme Court, that further steps have to be taken and that he is to supply him with funds therefore. He says that thereafter Attar Singh's relation came to him in January, 1952, and told him to write to the High Court to get a refund of the unspent balance of the printing charges. He admits that he received the refund in March, 1952, and says that he appropriated the same towards his fee. He also says that when in May, 1952, Attar Singh came in connection with the expected hearing of the appeal, he told him about the unspent balance having been received by him and that later on, i. e., after the hearing of the appeal was over, he told him that the bill
  26. 26. for the work done by him in connection with the appeal would be about Rs. 500. He denies the version of Attar Singh that he was not aware of the unspent balance having been drawn and that for the first time he contacted Shri 'M' in 1954 for the unspent balance and wrote to the High Court on his advice for refund of the balance, if any. He denies specifically that Attar Singh met him in this connection a number of times and wrote reminders to the High Court at his instance. He also denies categorically that he was confronted by Attar Singh with the letter received by him from the High Court and that he then told him all that had happened. 15. The question before us is which of these versions is to be accepted. Was there any intimation by Shri 'M' to Attar Singh that he withdrew the unspent balance and did he demand from him the alleged balance of fees ? Admittedly, there was no written intimation and no specific written demand. The only writing from himself to his client that Shri 'M' relies on, is a letter dated December 21, 1951. He produces an alleged copy thereof which is as follows : "S. Attar Singh C/o Gurdwara Sisganj, Delhi. Dear Sir, Your appeal pending in the Supreme Court No. 12 of 1950 is ripe for further steps as the record has been printed and despatched by the High Court, Simla. Now you have to supply me with funds for drafting petition of appeal, statement of case, affidavits of service of notices and typing charges. Since the record has reached the Supreme Court on 12th December 1951, you are to file petition within 30 days of receipt of this date. Please treat this as very urgent, otherwise the appeal shall be dismissed for non-prosecution". 16. It may be noticed that the wording of this letter does not in terms state that what is being demanded is his own fees. Paragraph 2 of the letter may well be understood by a lay-man, as asking for nothing more than expenses to be incurred. Attar Singh deposes that he never received the letter. It is clear from the evidence that Attar Singh was not in Delhi at the time and it is curious that the letter is addressed to him at Sisganj Gurdwara, Delhi. Shri 'M' has been cross-examined on this and in our opinion, he has not been able to give any satisfactory explanation. He says that the address was furnished by Sardar Raghbir Singh. But Sardar Raghbir Singh was not asked about it. Assuming the letter to be true, it is obvious that it would not have been received by Attar Singh. Clearly no money has been remitted, nor any written communication received, in response to this letter. If the letter is true, one would have expect some further letter to have been written to him with the correct address on proper enquiry. It is to get over this difficulty that the story has been put forward by Shri 'M' of a relation of Attar Singh having contacted him in January, 1952, and instructing him to withdraw the unspent balance, if any, of the printing charges. There is nothing to show that these alleged instructions were by ways of response to the above letter. It is not a little surprising that the said relation does not appears to have cared to ascertain whether any money
  27. 27. was in fact available or was received. But it is unnecessary to dwell on this any further because we have already noticed the entire evidence relating to these alleged instructions of the relation and seen how unsatisfactory it is. We are clearly of the opinion that the story of instructions by the relation is wholly unreliable. In that view, assuming, without deciding that the letter of December 21, 1951, is true, it is all the more significant that there are no further reminders to Attar Singh to his correct address right up to May, 1952, i. e., when the appeal became ready for hearing, though in the interval Attar Singh was not in Delhi. It is also surprising that even after the disposal of the appeal and up to the stage of the complainant, Shri 'M' did not make any written demand or send any bill for the fees to Attar Singh. It is only in the reply dated December 16, 1955 to the complainant, filed before our learned brother, Bhagwati, J., by Attar Singh that a reference is made to his bill of about Rs. 550 against Attar Singh for the work done by him on his behalf. The bill was in fact produced at a later date on March 5, 1956, along with his affidavit filed before Bhagwati, J. In paragraph 9 of that affidavit he says "I, as agent, had lien over the sum of Rs. 242-1-9 which was appropriated towards my bill for Rs. 542-15-9 (herewith attached). Rs. 250 is still due to me from Attar Singh". That bill has also been marked before us as an exhibit on behalf of Shri 'M'. It is the evidence of Shri 'M', as already stated, that when he accepted the engagement he was given to understand that he would be paid a reasonable fee but that there was no settlement at the time. He is not very clear in his evidence what was the aggregate reasonable fee which he was entitled to. But from the statement in his evidence that he informed his client after the appeal was finished, that his bill would be Rs. 500 it may be presumed that his case is that he was entitled to the amount of his bill as exhibited. If so, there should have been no difficulty in his applying to the Court for taxation against his client. We have been informed that such a course is permissible under orders of the Court, even in a criminal matter. But Shri 'M' admits that he took no such step in spite of the fact that a large and substantial balance should have been due to him according to his case. When asked to explain why he did not do so, his answer is as follows : "Because the appeal was remanded and it is a general practice here that when the case is finished the clients do pay the balance. So we do not insist further. Generally when the appeal or a matter is finished I do not make complaints or file suits or do anything for the balance of fees because mostly these matters create fuss. I did not, in this matter, press for the balance". 17. It may be noticed that in the bill the total of the items of out-of-pocket expenses is Rs. 22-15-6, leaving a balance of Rs. 27-0-6 out of the amount of Rs. 50, which on his own showing, he had received from his client. All the rest of the bill submitted by him is a claim for fees for various items of work said to have been done. If it be true, as he says, that he sent in December, 1951, a letter to Attar Singh demanding fees, it is all the more surprising that he never made any further written demand either during the pendency of the appeal or at least sent a bill after the disposal thereof, for the balance of the fees, whether or not he would have felt it advisable later on to take the matter to court for taxation. This admitted inaction renders it probable that, having obtained the refund of a substantial amount of over Rs. 200 after December, 1951, without the specific oral instructions or the knowledge of his client or his agent - as we have already found - he has kept discreetly silent, without intimating to the client the fact of his having received the balance and without making a demand against him for the fees. It is only now that he claims a lien on the said amount for a bill which he puts forward, and pleads justification for the retention and
  28. 28. appropriation of the amount on the basis of that bill. Learned counsel for Shri 'M' very strongly urges that the evidence of Attar Singh that he was not informed by Shri 'M' about having obtained refund of the unspent balance and that at no time was any demand made to his knowledge for the balance of fees should be rejected as being utterly improbable. He urges that the evidence of Shri 'M' that he orally intimated to him the fact of his having obtained refund of the unspent balance, and of his making constant oral demands for the balance of fees should be accepted. He suggests that it is Attar Singh who discreetly evaded raising the question about the balance of fees due, with full knowledge that some amount had already been received by Shri 'M' and that a much larger amount would be found due on a regular bill. He urges that if there is no reasonable proof of the arrangement that Shri 'M' was to receive only Rs. 100 and of the fact of payment thereof, it is very unlikely that a professional gentleman like Shri 'M' would go on working in the appeal without making even an oral demand for fees unless he was permitted by the client to withdraw and appropriate the amount. He strongly urges that the conduct of Attar Singh himself on this part of the case gives room for considerable suspicion. It is pointed out that though the appeal was disposed of in December 1952, he makes no enquiry for the unspent balance until after nearly two years. It is urged that he has no satisfactory account how he then came to know that there was a balance at all, the payment of which he might obtain from the High Court. It is submitted that his story that it was at the instance of Shri 'M' himself that he wrote to the Punjab High Court making enquiries about the balance is utterly improbable. We are not, however, impressed with the soundness of these comments. We see no difficulty in accepting the explanation of Attar Singh that he came to think of the possibility of obtaining the unspent balance, if any, which may be available to him, only when he was hard-pressed for money for the further conduct of his criminal appeal as a result of the remand. It may or may not be that the letters of Attar Singh to the Punjab High Court enquiring about the unspent balance were written on the advice of Shri 'M', but the fact remains that for an adequate reason as given by him he did start enquiries in this behalf so late as two years after the disposal of the appeal. On this part of the case what is really significant is that at the earliest opportunity which Shri 'M' had, he did not put forward his present specific case, of intimation of the refund and of demand of the fees. Para 5 of the complaint of Attar Singh dated December 5, 1955, states as follows : "I had throughout been making enquiries from Shri 'M' and he has consistently denied having received any money from the High Court". 18. In his reply dated December 16, 1955, Shri 'M' has contented himself with a bare denial as follows : "Para 5 of the application is emphatically denied and not admitted". 19. Even in his later statement, in the form of an affidavit date March 5, 1956, filed before Bhagwati, J. all that he says is that "on December 21, 1951, he requested Attar Singh to remit funds for prosecuting the appeal and that with his permission wrote to the High Court on January 17, 1952, for the refund of the balance. He has attempted to explain that by "his permission" he meant "his pairokar's permission". We have found that, on the evidence and probabilities, the story of pairokar's permission cannot be accepted as reliable. The story of his having directly informed Attar Singh about his having got the balance occurs for the first time in the cross-examination before Bhagwati, J., wherein he says that he told him about it at
  29. 29. the time of the hearing of the appeal. But even there he says that he did not at that time ask for anything further. There he admits that it is only when Attar Singh asked him to refund the money that he told him that he should pay him the balance due. Now, it is in this Court in the cross-examination of Attar Singh that the story of his having informed Attar Singh about his obtaining from the High Court refund of the unspent balance and of his having demanded the fees due to him, all at the time of hearing of the appeal, - has been put forward in the following questions and answers. "Q. In fact, at the time when your appeal was heard Mr.'M' had told you that Rs. 242, had been recovered from the High Court ? A. It is far from true. Q. He also told you that his fees has got to be paid ? A. No. Q. You said nothing about it because you knew that more fees than Rs. 242 would be due to Mr.'M' ? A. The question does not arise". 20. The further cross-examination of Attar Singh is as follows. "Q. I am putting it to you that your talk that you showed the letter of the 17th October, 1955 to Mr.'M' is a pure fabrication ? A. No, it is correct. Q. I will tell you what had happened. You had asked 'M', 'M' had told you (this is my case) that he had recovered Rs. 242 and when you said 'what about Rs. 242' he said 'you have got to pay my fees', which would come to much more, and therefore thereafter there was no further talk between you both ? A. Nothing was talked by Mr.'M' to me then, nor up till now". 21. This belated case about intimation of withdrawal of unspent balance and about demand for fees having been made at the time of the hearing of the appeal, cannot be accepted as true. His admission before Bhagwati, J. that even at the time of the hearing of the appeal (which admittedly took two or three days) he did not ask for anything further must be accepted as correct. If so that would make it very probable that the first information to Attar Singh about the fact of Shri 'M' having obtained refund of the unspent balance of the printing charges was only when the High Court intimated the same to him. It follows that the first oral demand for the fees by Shri 'M' to Attar Singh, may have been when he was confronted with the letter of the High Court. This is what he admitted in the enquiry before Bhagwati, J. 22. It may further be noticed that Shri 'M' states in his evidence as follows :
  30. 30. "After I received this money (unspent balance) I appropriated it towards my fee. There was no settlement of fees between me and my client. Raghbir Singh never told me that I should get only Rs. 50 or Rs. 100". 23. He was cross-examined whether the appropriation was with the consent of the client, as appears from the following. "Q. Coming to May, 1952, when you said you told the client that you had received money did you tell him that you appropriated the money. A. Yes. Q. No question therefore remained of any lien. The money was appropriated towards fees. A. This is all opinion whether it was lien or appropriation. It was lien. So I appropriated it. Q. You had lien. A. Yes. Q. You appropriated with the client's consent. A. The consent was there". How unsatisfactory his answers are as to the client's consent for appropriation even on his own case that the amount was appropriated is noticeable. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the following facts have been proved. Without the knowledge of or intimation to Attar Singh, Shri 'M' obtained in March, 1952, from the High Court the unspent balance of printing charges deposited by him on behalf of his client Attar Singh amounting to the sum of Rs. 242-1-9. He retained the same without any intimation to his client and without making a demand or lodging a bill for any amount as due from him by way of fees. The fact of his having obtained the refund became known to Attar Singh for the first time only by the letter of the Punjab High Court to him and it was only when Shri 'M' was confronted with the same that he raised the question of payment of fees with Attar Singh. Prior thereto he denied receipt of any such moneys when asked by his client about and did not make any demand for fees. In fact he appropriated the amount, on receiving it, without any demand for fees or lodging a bill for taxation and without the knowledge and consent of the client. 24. The question that next arises for consideration is whether on these facts Shri 'M' is guilty of professional misconduct. It is urged before us that an Agent has a lien on the moneys of his client coming into his hands for the reasonable fee that may be due to him if - as may be assumed for the purposes of this case - the fee was not settled originally. It is urged that in this case Shri 'M' has done nothing more than exercising that lien and appropriating the amount which legitimately came into his hands towards what he considered as reasonable fee due to himself leaving the settlement of any further fee that may be
  31. 31. due to him to the good sense and the good will of the client on the termination of the case. It is urged that on this view his action is bona fide. It is pointed out that while, it may be, that such conduct is not consistent with the highest professional standards, it cannot be treated as amounting to professional misconduct. It is urged that it is not every conduct which may be considered unjustifiable or improper that amounts to professional misconduct if in fact the agent or advocate honestly believed that he was justified in adopting the course he did, so long as such a course is not, in terms, prohibited by any positive rules framed by competent authority to regulate the conduct of agents and advocates in such matters. We are unable to accept this contention. As has been laid down by this Court In the matter of Mr.'G', a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court (supra) "the Court, in dealing with cases of professional misconduct is not concerned with ordinary legal rights, but with the special and rigid rules of professional conduct expected of and applied to a specially privileged class of persons who, because of their privileged status, are subject to certain disabilities which do not attach to other men and which do not attach even to them in a non- professional character". ........"He (a legal practitioner) is bound to conduct himself in a manner befitting the high and honourable profession to whose privileges he has so long been admitted; and if he departs from the high standards which that profession has set for itself and demands of him in professional matters, he is liable to disciplinary action". It appears to us that the fact of there being no specific rules governing the particular situation, which we are dealing with, on the facts found by us, is not any reason for accepting a less rigid standard. If any, the absence of rules increases the responsibility of the members of the profession attached to this Court as to how they should conduct themselves in such situations, having regard to the very high privilege that an Advocate of this Court now enjoys as one entitled, under the law, to practice in all the courts in India. We are conscious that at the time when the relevant facts happened in this case Shri 'M' was only an Agent. But at the time when he was confronted with the letter of the Punjab High Court intimating receipt of the unspent balance, he had already become an Advocate on record and we have to deal with this case with reference to rule 30 of Order IV of the amended Supreme Court Rules. That rule says "Where... the Court is of opinion that an Advocate has been guilty of misconduct or of conduct unbecoming of an Advocate, the Court may take disciplinary action as provided therein". Even under rules 31 and 32 of Order IV of the Supreme Court Rules prior to the amendment, the position would be the same in so far as a matter of the kind with which we are dealing is concerned. It is true that under rule 32 of the old rules which refers to disciplinary action against agents, the phrase "conduct unbecoming of an Advocate" is not to be found. But that is probably only because in certain matters the Agent's position in relation to his client may differ from that of an Advocate. But we have no reason to think that in respect of a matter such as the one we are concerned with, the standard applicable to an Agent or to a present "Advocate on record" is anything different. We have no doubt in our mind that the high standards of the profession demand that when the moneys of the client come into the possession of an Agent or an Advocate, otherwise that as earmarked fees, he has to treat himself as in the position of a trustee for the client in respect of the said moneys. Even if he has a lien on such moneys, it would be improper for him to retain, i. e., to appropriate the same towards his fees without the consent, express or implied, of his client or without an order of the Court. It may be that in certain circumstances he is entitled to exercise a lien, but he has to give reasonable intimation both of the fact of moneys having come into his hands and of the exercise of his lien over them until his account is settled. If there has been no prior settlement of fees he cannot constitute himself a judge in his own cause as to what would be the reasonable fee payable to him. This position of trusteeship in respect of moneys of the client in his hands
  32. 32. is all the greater where the moneys represent the unspent balance of what was given for a specific purpose, such as for payment of printing charges, as in this case. On any such unspent balance, it is well settled, that he has no lien either under the common law or by the statute. (See Cordery's Law relating to Solicitors, 4th Edition, page 456 and Halsbury's Laws of England, 2nd Editioin, Vol. 31, page 239, para 265). In this case it appears to us that the retention and appropriation of the money by Shri 'M' without intimation to the client and without sending a bill to him for his fees or applying for taxation even after disposal of the appeal constitutes professional misconduct. This is aggravated by the facts emerging from the evidence of Attar Singh who, Shri 'M' admits, has no animus against him, and whose evidence on this part of the case we see no reason not to accept. That evidence shows that when in 1954 Attar Singh enquired of Shri 'M' he denied knowledge of the unspent balance and that when confronted with the letter received from the Punjab High Court he admitted receipt and demanded fees but evaded the situation without fairly and frankly facing it. 25. Shri 'M' appears to have been enrolled as an Agent in 1949 and he says that when, at the instance of Shri Madan and Sardar Raghbir Singh he accepted the engagement in May, 1950, it was his third or fourth engagement as Agent. There may, no doubt, be cases where an unscrupulous client may take advantage of and exploit a beginner in the legal profession. But we are satisfied that this is not such a case. 26. We are clearly of the opinion that Shri 'M' is guilty of professional misconduct. We direct that he should be suspended from practice for a period of two years. 27. Order accordingly.  

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