It is common for the High Courts & the Apex Court to impose exemplary costs on petitioners for frivolous litigation and for wasting the precious time of the Courts. But it is very rare that an advocate has been held guilty of concealing true facts of the case and for irresponsible conduct. It is highly unusual that the Court was constrained to impose an exemplary cost on an advocate for his reckless & inexcusable conduct.

The Calcutta High Court recently on 22.06.2020 in the matter of ‘Affiruddin Sk. @ Asabul Sk. @ Patai Sk.’

imposed an exemplary cost on the advocate  for concealing the true facts of the case and thereby purposely being irresponsible to the Court.

The brief facts of the case are that the said advocate moved an application for bail which was taken up on 23rd April, 2020 and an order was passed that the said application would be listed for further hearing only after resumption of the normal business of the Court. The said advocate had full knowledge of the orders passed on his application for bail.The same advocate  again filed second application for bail in May 2020 without disclosing the factum of the earlier application and its fate although he was fully aware of the entire facts. This was intentionally done to take advantage of the limited functioning of the Court due to COVID-19.

The Court was annoyed on this entire episode and expressed its anguish and observed thus:

“It is alarming and shocking state of affairs that the member of the bar taking advantage of the matter being taken on a virtual platform filed the application for bail when being alive of the fact that an earlier application for bail in connection with the same offence and the same police station case number was directed to be listed before this Court after resumption of normalcy in its functioning.”

The Court did not accept the said advocate’s plea of inadvertance and rejected his request for withdrawal of the instant application. It was also brought to the notice of the Court that the said

advocate is in a habit of knowingly filing  successive applications. The Court rejected the said application and imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 50000/- on  the advocate to be realised from him alone and  observed thus:

“The member of the bar has not only the onerous duty to his client but have more responsible duty towards the Court……..He cannot take the Court for a ride nor any attempt in this behalf can be compromised by the Bench. Such brazen attempt on the part of the member of the bar would not only tarnish the image of the judiciary but would also percolate wrong signal to the litigants as well as the society. The same advocate-on-record who filed the earlier application for bail, filed the instant application even after appearing therein and being aware of the order passed by this Court which we feel would blemish the image of the Bar.”

The said judgement poses an important question regarding the duties and responsibilities of  the advocates towards their clients and towards the Court. The first and foremost duty of the advocate is to bring the true facts of the case, not to conceal any material fact and not to misrepresent before the Court. The primary duty of the advocate is to ‘ASSIST’ the Court in arriving at the right conclusion.The duty of an advocate to the Court relates not only to his clients but also the ‘Public Interest’. An advocate cannot knowingly offer or rely on false evidence or misstate evidence. It is therefore imperative on the advocates to refrain from misrepresentation and ‘Assist’ the Court in its pursuit of justice.

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April 2021