Professional Ethics Cases
Landmark Professional Ethics Cases Touch & Read
1. Case: P.D. Gupta v. Ram Murti and Anr.
Facts: One Srikishan Dass died leaving behind extensive immovable properties. Claims to the said properties were made by one Vidyawati claiming to be the sister of the deceased , one Ram Murti and two others who claimed themselves to be the heir of the deceased.
Later the said properties were purchased by the advocate of Vidyawati knowing them to be disputed. The advocate thereafter sold the property to a third party and made profit. A complaint was made against the advocate to the Bar Council of Delhi.
Held: Since the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of Delhi could not dispose of the complaint within a period of one year and therefore the proceedings had been transferred to the Bar Council of India under Section 36-B of the Advocates Act. The disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India found him guilty of professional misconduct and suspended him from practice for period of one year.
2. Case: John D’souza v. Edward Ani
Facts: In this case the respondent Edward Ani lodged the complaint with the Karnataka Sate Bar Council alleging that the appellant with whom the will executed by his mother in law Mrs. Mary Raymond was entrusted with safe custody refuse to return that will in spite of two letters demanding to hand over the will.
Held: The Supreme Court held that the advocate has committed breach of his professional duty and found him guilty of profession misconduct.
3. LC Goyal v Nawal Kishore
This appeal filed under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) is directed against the order of the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India dated 24-6-1983 whereby the appellant has been suspended from practice for a period of six months. Having considered the matter in the light of the submissions of the appellant, we are of the view that no fault can be found with the conclusion arrived at by the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India. We, therefore, do not find any merit in the appeal and the same is accordingly dismissed. No order as to costs.
4. V.P. Kumaravelu vs The Bar Council Of India
These appeals arise from a common order dated 15.5.1986 passed by the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India in D.C.I.T. Case Nos.48 and 49 of 1985. These two cases pertain to the appellant and were transferred to the appellant and were transferred to the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India under the provisions of Section 36B(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 as the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu could not dispose of these cases within the prescribed period of one year. On or about 21st of October, 1978, the appellant was appointed as City Government Pleader in all the Civil Courts constituted in Madras other than the High Court of Madras. The work was spread over several courts in Madras and the appellant as the city Government Pleader was required to conduct all the civil matters pending in the civil courts of Madras except the High Court, on behalf of the Government and also to give his opinion on these matters from time to time when required. The appellant was allowed the assistance of juniors who were not appointed by the Government. The respondent was provided with staff.
The In the present case, there is failure on the part of the appellant to discharge his duties towards his client. This failure, however, is not deliberate. It is on account of heavy pressure of work coupled with lack of diligence on the part of his staff as well as on the part of his client in not sending a responsible person with papers to the office of the Government pleader. However, while the appellant cannot be held responsible for his client's failure to attend the office, the appellant cannot shift the blame entirely on his staff. As the head of the office it was his responsibility to make sure that the work is properly attended to and the staff performs its functions properly and diligently. The appellant has, therefore, rightly been held guilty of negligence. However, in the absence of any moral turpitude or delinquency on his part, we cannot sustain the finding of the Bar council of India that his conduct in the facts and circumstances of this case amounts to professional misconduct. In fact the various mitigating circumstances have been noted by the Bar council of India itself. The negligence on the part of the appellant in these circumstances cannot be construed as professional misconduct. The appeals are, therefore, allowed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.
5. Hikmat Ali Khan vs Ishwar Prasad
Ishwar Prasad Arya, respondent No.1, was registered as an advocate with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh and was practising at Badaun. An incident took place on May 18,1971 during lunch interval at about 1.55 p.m. in which respondent No.1 assaulted his opponent Radhey Shyam in the court room of Munsif/Magistrate, Bisauli at Badaun with a knife. A pistal shot is also said to have been fired by him at the time of incident. After investigation he was prosecuted for offencesunder Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and section 25 of the Arms ActFor the reasons aforementioned the appeal id allowed the impugned order dated September 8 1985 passed by the Disciplinary committee of the Bar council of India in D.C. appeals nos. 17 and 17-A of 1984 passed by the Disciplinary committee of the Bar council of U.P. in D.C. case No. 40 of 1983 is upheld with the modification that instead of his being debarred from practising as an advocate for a period of three year the name of respondent no. 1 be removed from the state roll of advocates No. order as to costs.
6.Prahlad Saran Gupta V Bar council of India
The Disciplinary committee was in error in holding the appellant guilty of professional misconduct for drafting the notice under section 80 CPC, that was served on the Union of India on behalf of M/s. Agarwal Traders on the ground that document No. 16, the draft of the said notice, was in the hand writing of the appellant/The Disciplinary Commit-tee had arrived at this conclusion by a comparison of the handwriting of the appellant with the handwriting in document No. 16. It was not advisable for the Disciplinary committee to base its conclusion purely on the basis of its own comparison of the handwriting, specially when the matter related to a charge of professional misconduct which is quasi-criminal in nature requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt. Having rejected the requestfor sending the document to a handwriting expert for examination on the view that the allegation was not contained in the complaint as originally filed, the Disciplinary committee was in error in going into the merits of the said allegation and further more in comparing the writing in the document with the handwriting of the appellant-advocate without the assistance of the opinion of a handwriting expert and in coming to the conclusion that the said document was in the handwriting of the appellant.The action of the appellant in not returning the amount either to the decree-holder or to the judgment-debtor and retaining the same with himself till May 2,1978 when he deposited it in the court, was not in consonance with the standards of professional ethics expected from a Senior member of the profession. Therefore, the appellant had been rightly held guilty of professional misconduct for having wrongfully retained Rs. 1500 which had been kept with him in connection with the settlement in the execution proceedings. The ends of justice would be met if the punishment of reprimand is imposed on the appellant for committing the misconduct of wrongfully retaining the amount
7. Pandurang Dattatraya Khandekar vs Bar Council Of Maharashtra, ... on 20 October, 1983
The disciplinary proceedings out of which this appeal Under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961 ('Act' for short) has arisen were initiated on a complaint made by a group of 12 advocates practising in the two courts of Sub-Divisional Magistrates in the Collectorate of Poona alleging various acts of professional misconduct against the appellant P.D. Khandekar and one A.N. Agavane. The proceedings stood transferred to the Bar Council of India Under Section 36B of the Act. The Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India by its order dated April 23,1976 held both the appellant and A.N. Agavane guilty of professional misconduct and directed that the appellant be suspended for a period of four months from June 1, 1976 and Agavane for a period of two months therefrom. This Court by its order dated September 24, 1976 admitted the appeal and stayed the operation of the suspension of order.In the result, the appeal partly succeeds and is allowed. The order of the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India holding the appellant and A.N. Agavane guilty of professional misconduct is set aside. The proceedings drawn against them under Sub-section (1) of Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 are dropped. We hope and trust that they would not by their conduct or behaviour prove themselves to be unworthy to remain as members of the great profession to which they belong.
8. D.S. Dalal vs State Bank Of India And Ors on 18 March, 1993
The State Bank of India lodged a complaint before the Bar Council of Delhi on September 4, 1978. It was alleged in the complaint that the appellant along with two other advocates was practising under the name and style of "M/s Singh and Company" a firm of advocates and solicitors having their office at 2670, Subzi Mandi, Delhi. SC had given their thoughtful consideration to the evidence on the record against the appellant. SC has seen no ground to interfere with the order of the Bar Council of India. SC agreed with the reasoning and the conclusions reached therein. SC, therefore, dismissed the appeal. No costs.
9. V. C. Rangadurai vs D. Gopalan And Ors on 4 October, 1978
The appellant was found guilty of gross professional misconduct by the Disciplinary Committee II of the State Bar Council, Tamil Nadu and was therefore, debarred from practice as an Advocate for a period of six years. In appeal, the Bar Council of India upheld the said findings but reduced the period of suspension to one year. Dismissing the appeal, the Court Held that Punishment has a functional duality-deterrenceand correction. But conventional penalties have their punitive limitations and flaws, viewed from the reformatory angle. A therapeutic touch, a correctional twist, and a locus penitentiae, may have rehabilitative impact if onlyCourts may experiment unorthodoxly but within the parameters of the law.
10. Devendra Bhai Shankar Mehta vs Rameshchandra Vithaldas Sheth
The appellant was an Advocate practising in Bombay.Respondent No.1 (the complainant) made a complaint to the Bar Council of Maharashtra alleging professional misconduct against the appellant. His case was that he was a proprietor of a firm engaged in a business of manufacturing. Allegations of defrauding and cheating aspirantloaners-Proceedings before State Bar Council and Bar Council of India-Findings of Disciplinary Committee that concerned advocate and financier being parties to racket defrauded aspirant loanee in receiving large sum of money or pretext of legal expenses and other incidental costs for advancing proposed loan.SC held that concerned advocate has not only misused the trust reposed in him but has played an active part in defrauding or cheating the complainant who on the basis of the false representation of the concerned advocate had to part with substantial amount to his serious loss and prejudice. In such facts and circumstances of the case, we do not find any reason to reduce the punishment imposed on the appellant. This appeal, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.
11. M. Veerabhadra Rao vs Tek Chand on 18 October, 1984 Bar Council of India Rules 1975, Part VI, Chapter II- Standards of professional conduct and etiquette-Read
withRules 34 and 40 of the Civil Rules of Practice framed byAndhra Pradesh High Court-Advocate be attested affidavit in absence of deponent known to the advocate-Affidavit found to be forged and led to the commission of fraud and damage to deponent-Whether constitutes professional misconduct.
HELD: Both the fact finding authorities concurrently recorded the finding that the respondent did not put his signature on the affidavit, Ex. A-1 in the presence of the appellant and yet the appellant by contributing his attestation to the affidavit made a declaration that the signature was of the appellant made in his presence. We consider this unambiguous finding wholly incontrovertible in the facts of this case that the appellant never appeared before the respondent either on October 31, 1972 or November 1, 1972.
12. Ram Bharosey Agarwal vs Har Swarup Maheshwari on 27 April, 1976
Appellant Ram Bharosey Agarwal was practising as an advocate in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh He was engaged by respondent Har Swarup Maheshwari, on behalf of his daughter Smt.Munni Devi, to pursue her application against her husband Jai Narain under Section 468 Gr. P.O. in the Court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Bulandshahr. The case was decided in favour of Smt. Munni Devi on September 5, 1963, and a maintenance allowance was granted to her. When the order was put into execution, Har Swarup Maheshwari engaged another lawyer to prosecute the execution application. In those proceedings the property of Jai Narain was attached. His father claimed that the attached property belonged to him, and his application to that effect was alleged to have been filed by the appellant. The first charge against the appellant was that he was guilty of professional misconduct in accepting a brief on b half of Jai Narain's father. Jai Narain filed an application for reconsideration of the order of maintenance, and examined three witnesses. Smt. Munni Devi's father Har Swarup Maheshwari instituted a case for defamation against those three witnesses and Jai Narain. Appellant, Ram Bharosey Agarwal was engaged by the accused in those proceedings. The second allegation against the appellant therefore was that he was guilty of misconduct in appearing on behalf of the accused in the defamation case. The third allegation was that the appellant wrote a letter dated August 14, 1967 to Jagdish Narain Agarwal, an advocate of the Allahabad High Court, to have an appeal which had gone upto the Allahabad High Court dismissed even though there were no such instructions from his client and the action was detrimental to the interest of the client.SC were constrained to allow the appeal and to set aside the appellate order dated December 10, 1974. In the circumstances of the case, SC would direct that the patties shall pay and bear their own costs.
13. Nandlal Khodidas Barot vs Bar Council Of Gujarat And Ors
This is an appeal under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961. In a proceeding transferred to it under Section 36B of the Act, the Bar Council of India by its order dated 17 April, 1977 found that the appellant was guilty of professional misconduct and suspended him from practice for a period of one year. The complaint on which the proceeding was initiated was filed in the Gujarat Bar Council on 9 October, 1971.The appeal is allowed and the order of the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India suspending tie appellant from practice for one year is set aside. There will be no order as to Costs.
14. Chandra Shekhar Soni vs Bar Council Of Rajasthan And Ors
This appeal under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961 is directed against an order of the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India dated January 7, 1977 upholding the order of the Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council of Rajasthan, Jodhpur dated July 21, 1974 by which the appellant has been held guilty of professional misconduct and suspended from practice for a period of three years under Section 35(c) of the Act. Subject to this modification, the appeal is dismissed with no order as to costs
15. L.D. Jaisinghani vs Naraindas N. Punjabi on 27 November, 1975
The appellant is an Advocate against whom a complaint was made on 25th May, 1971 before the Bar Council of Maharashtra by the Respondent Naraindas M. Punjabi. As the complaint was not disposed of within six months of its receipt by the State Bar Council it was transferred to the Disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India under Section 36B of the Advocates Act, 1961 for disposal.In the circumstances of this case, SC think that the appellant is entitled to the benefit of doubt. SC, then fore, allow this appeal and set aside the order disbarring the appellant who, SC hope, has learnt now to conduct himself in a more satisfactory manner in his dealings with his clients. SC make no order as to costs