Updated: Mar 2, 2022
P.D. Gupta v.Rammurthi (AIR 1998 SC 283)
Fact of the case:- One Mr. Krishnan died on 5-6-1980. His sister Vidyawati filed a suit for decleration of title in her favour for certain properties of Mr. Krishnan, Ramamurthi and others resisted the suit claiming title in their favour. P.D.Gupta was the Advocate of Vidyawati. When the suit was pending P.D. Gupta purchased part of the disputed property for Rs.18000 and sold it for 34000 immediately. Mr. ramamurthi filed a complaint against P.D.Gupta before the Delhi Bar Council alleging professional misconduct. The main allegation is that he has purchased the part of the disputed property from his client during the pendency of the suit. Since the enquiry was not completed within one year the matter is transferred to the Bar Council of India. After hearing both the parties, the Bar Council of India passed an order suspending him from the practice for a period of one year. The court held that a shadow of undue influence is present when an Advocate buys property of his own client. Against this order P.D. Gupta filed an appeal before the Supreme court. In the appeal his main contention was that his client or her legal heirs has not filed any complaint regarding professional misconduct, and the enquiry conducted based on the complaint by some other person is wrong.
The Supreme Court did not accept this argument and passed the following orders.
1. Any person shall file a complaint regarding professional misconduct against an Advocate.
2. Bar council shall enquire into the allegation of professional misconduct, though the complaint is filed by a stranger, because, the Bar council is concerned with the conduct of Advocates.
3. The order passed by the Bar Council of India is confirmed.
In P.D. Gupta v. Ram Murti and Another22 the Bar Council of India was of the view that the conduct of P.D. Gupta in the above circumstances was unbecoming of professional ethics and conduct of an Advocate. The Bar Council observed in this Context as follows: “It is an acknowledge fact that a lawyer conducting the case of his client, he has a commanding status and exert influence on his client. As a member of the Bar it is common knowledge that lawyers have started contracting with the client and enter into bargains that in case of success he will share the result. A number of instances have been found in the cases of Motor Accident Claims. No doubt, there is no bar for a lawyer to purchase property but on account of common prudence specially a law knowing person will never prefer to purchase the property, the title of which is under doubt” The Supreme Court of India observed that bar council of India, in the present case, has considered all the relevant circumstances and has rightly come to the conclusion that Shri P.D. Gupta is guilty of miscount and so he is suspended from practice for one year.