While generally speaking only an Advocate can appear in court on behalf of another person (or that a person can represent his or her own case), in special circumstance, the court has a power to permit private person (who is not an Advocate) to appear before it in a particular case.

29. Advocates to be the only recognized class of persons entitled to practice law.—Subject to the provisions of this Act and any rules made thereunder, there shall, as from the appointed day, be only one class of persons entitled to practice the profession of law, namely, advocates.

 32. Power of Court to permit appearances in particular cases.—Notwithstanding anything contained in this Chapter, any court, authority, or person may permit any person, not enrolled as an advocate under this Act, to appear before it or him in any particular case. 

Supreme Court rules contains the following provision:

“Provided further that the court may, if thinks desirable to do so reason, permit any person to appear and address the Court in particular case.” 

In Harishankar Rastogi vs Girdhari Sharma And Anr. 1978 AIR 1019, 1978 SCR (3) 493, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held:

 A private person who is not an Advocate, has no right  to barge  into Court and claim to argue for a party.   He must get  the prior permission of the Court for which the  motion must  come from the party himself.  It is open to the  Court to grant or withhold permission in its discretion.  In fact, the  Court  may even after grant of permission withdraw it half-way  through  if  the  representative  proves himself reprehensible. The  antecedents,  the relationship and reasons for  requisitioning  the services  of the  private person and a variety of other circumstances must be gathered before grant or refusal of permission.

 In Goa Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Vs. R.K. Chawla And Anr. on 4 July, 2011, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held:

Section 32 of the Act, however, vests discretion in the court, authority or person to permit any person who is not enrolled as an advocate to appear before the court and argue a particular case. Section 32 of the Act is not the right of a person (other than an enrolled advocate) to appear and argue before the court but it is the discretion conferred by the Act on the court to permit any one to appear in a particular case even though he is not enrolled as an advocate.”

 “There is a distinction between the right to appear on behalf of someone, which is only given to enrolled lawyers, and the discretion in the Court to permit a non-lawyer to appear before it. Under Sections 29 and 33 of the Act only those persons have a right to appear and argue before the court who are enrolled as an advocate while under Section 32 of the Act, a power is vested in the court to permit, in a particular case, a person other than an advocate to appear before it and argue the case. A power of attorney holder cannot, unless he is an enrolled lawyer, appear in Court on behalf of anyone, unless permitted by the Court under Section 32 of the Act, though of course he may sign sale deeds, agreements etc. and do other acts on behalf of someone else, unless prohibited by law.”

 In view of the above, if one is not an advocate, one can still appear on behalf of the party to a suit or other proceedings before the Court but only with the permission of the concerned court. The court has to exercise its discretion judiciously and has inherent right to ask the party to explain the reasons as to why a non-advocate should be permitted by the court to appear on the behalf of party in a particular proceeding. Further, it clarifies that the power to represent can’t be delegated by way of power of attorney, as it is not an inherent right of a person, but a discretion of the court.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and does not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc before acting on the basis of the above write up.  The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that Author / TaxGuru is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof. This is not any kind of advertisement or solicitation of work by a professional.

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