Table of Contents
Facts of the case
The Advocate proceeded against for professional misconduct and was enrolled as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court in December 1958. In January 1961, he was enrolled as an advocate of the Supreme Court.
In March the Registrar of Supreme 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 which stated that ‘ 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”
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 Chief Justice, on receiving the aforesaid information, placed the matter before a Committee of three Judges.
- Whether the post-card in question had been written by the Advocate and bore his rubber stamp and signature?
- Whether the addressed postcard amounts to professional misconduct?
Arguments From the Petitioner
- The Advocate admitted that the post-card bore his rubber stamp and signature and that it had in fact been despatched by him. He also informed the Registrar that he had addressed similar post-cards to other parties.
- The Advocate added that he did not realize that in addressing those postcards he was committing any wrong or breach of etiquette.
Arguments from the Respondent
- 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 characterized 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.
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 postcard and other such postcards 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 moral fiber. If he is ignorant of the elementary rules of professional ethics, he has demonstrated the inadequacy of his training and education befitting a member of the profession of law. If he 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 caliber, which is essential for a member of the legal profession. If anything, by adopting the attitude of denial which has been demonstrated to be 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.