CASE 1: A.S. Mohd. Rafi v. State of Tamil Nadu [AIR 2011 SC 308]

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Crl. A. No. 2310 of 2010 | Decided On: 06.12.2010

A.S. Mohammed Rafi Vs. State of Tamil Nadu Rep. by Home Dept. and Ors.

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.

CITATION: AIR 2011 SC 308, (2011) 1 SCC 688, (2011) 1 SCC(Cri) 509

ISSUE:

Whether Bar Associations passing resolutions exhorting lawyers not to accept briefs from particular persons is null and void?

RULE:

Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette: Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules

The rules mentioned under this chapter provides a general guide on conducts and etiquettes for the advocates. The duty of the advocates to the Court, Client, Opponent and Colleagues are specifically mentioned through various sections under this Chapter. As per Section II, an advocate is bound to accept any brief in the Courts/ Tribunals/ any other authorities, for which he proposes to practise at a fee in consistence with his standing at the Bar and the nature of the case.

Landmark Cases on 'Contempt'

APPLICATION:

The greatest tradition of the bar is to defend those who have been accused for a crime. But when a resolution is passed by any bar association which constrains its members from defending certain persons, then such a resolution acts against the norms of the Constitution, the Statute and professional ethics. The professional ethics requires that a lawyer cannot refuse a brief, provided a client is willing to pay his fee, and the lawyer is not otherwise engaged. Hence, in the present case it was declared that all such resolutions of any Bar Associations in India are null and void. While referring to various historical examples, the apex court held that, every person, however, wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he may be regarded by society has a right to be defended in a court of law and correspondingly it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.

CONCLUSION:

The Professional Etiquette requires that a lawyer cannot refuse a brief, provided a client is willing to pay his fee, and the lawyer is not otherwise engaged. Any resolution which exhorts lawyers from not accepting a brief from a particular person is null and void.

CASE 2: In Re: Arundhati Roy [AIR 2002 SC 1375:(2002) 3 SCC 343]

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Contempt Petition (crl.) 10 of 2001

Decided On: 06.03.2002

Appellants: In Re: Arundhati Roy

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: G.B. Pattanaik and R.P. Sethi, JJ.

CITATION: AIR 2002 SC 1375, (2002) 3 SCC 343, [2002] 2 SCR 213

ISSUE:

Whether question of any motive of and prejudice from any judges arises, when a suo motu action is taken by the court for cognizance of a criminal contempt?

Whether scandalizing the authorities of the court with malafide intentions amount to criminal contempt?

RULE:

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

“Criminal contempt” means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:

1. scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or

2. prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or

3. interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

Section 2(c) of the Act emphasizes to the interference with the courts of justice or obstruction of the administration of justice or scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court – not the judge.

Section 12 deals with the punishment for the contempt of court.

Section 14(2) permits a person charged with the contempt to have charge against him tried by some Judge other than the judge or judges in whose presence or hearing the offence is alleged to have been committed and the court is of opinion that it is practicable to do so.

Section 15 of the Act empowers the court to take suo moto action for cognizance of Criminal Contempt.

APPLICATION:

In the present case, cognizance of the criminal contempt has been taken by the court, suo motu under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.  No such provision such as the one made under Section 14(2) is made under Section 15 of the said Act. The reason being that, applying of any such provision as mentioned in Section 14(2), when an action by the court is taken under Section 15, will deprive all the Judges of the court to hear the matter and thus frustrate the contempt proceedings. Thereby, this cannot be the mandate of law. Hence when an action is at the instance of the court, there is no question of any motive of and prejudice from any Judge.

The Constitution of India has guaranteed freedom of speech and expression to every citizen as a fundamental right. While guaranteeing such freedom, it has also provided under Article 129 that the Supreme Court shall be a Court of Record and shall have all the powers of such a Court including the power to punish for contempt of itself. Similar power has been conferred on the High Courts of the States under Article 215. it is the same freedom of expression, which is conferred on all citizens under Article 19(1). Any expression of opinion would, therefore, be not immune from the liability for exceeding the limits, either under the law of defamation or contempt of Court or the other constitutional limitations under Article 19(2). If a citizen, therefore, in the grab of exercising right of free expression under Article 19(1), tries to scandalise the court or undermines the dignity of the court, then the court would be entitled to exercise power under Article 129 or Article 215, as the case may be. In In Re: S. Mulgaokar [1978]3SCR162, it was observed that the judiciary is not immune from criticism but when that criticism is based on obvious distortion or gross mis-statement and made in a manner which is designed to lower the respect of the judiciary and destroy public confidence in it, it cannot be ignored. Further, in Dr. D.C. Saxena v. Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India, 1996 Cri LJ 3274, it was held that scandalizing is an expression of scurrilous attack on the majesty of justice which is calculated to undermine the authority of the courts and public confidence in the administration of justice. In the present case, the respondent has accused the court of proceeding with absurd, despicable and entirely unsubstantiated petition, which amounts to scandalizing the court and thus a criminal contempt within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Act.

CONCLUSION:

When suo motu action is taken by the court for cognizance of a criminal contempt under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, no question of any motive of and prejudice from any judges arises. Criminal Contempt of the Court by scandalizing its authorities with malafide intentions is punishable under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

CASE 3: R.K.Anand v. Registrar, Delhi High Court (2009) 8 SCC 106

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Criminal Appeal No. 1393 of 2008

Decided On: 29.07.2009

Appellants: R.K. Anand

Vs.

Respondent: Registrar, Delhi High Court

[Along with Criminal Appeal No. 1451 of 2008]

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: B.N. Agrawal, G.S. Singhvi and Aftab Alam, JJ

CITATION: (2009) 8 SCC 106,

[2009] 11 SCR 1026

ISSUE:

Whether the High Court to prohibit an advocate from appearing before the High Court and the courts sub-ordinate to it for a specified period as one of the punishments for criminal contempt of court?

RULE:

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

Section 2(c) of the Act emphasizes to the interference with the courts of justice or obstruction of the administration of justice or scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court – not the judge.

Section 12 deals with the punishment for the contempt of court.

Advocates Act, 1961

Section 34 of the Act empowers the High Court to make rules laying down the conditions subject to which an advocate shall be permitted to practice in the High Court and the courts subordinate to it.

APPLICATION:

When a malefactor’s conduct and actions pose a real and imminent threat to the purity of court proceedings, cardinal to any court’s functioning, apart from constituting a substantive offence and contempt of court and professional misconduct, then in such a situation the court does not only have the right but it also has the obligation cast upon it to protect itself and save the purity of its proceedings from being polluted in any way and to that end bar the malefactor from appearing before the courts for an appropriate period of time. In Pravin C Shah v. K.A. Mohd. Ali and Anr., AIR 2001 SC 3041, the Apex Court had considered the case of a lawyer who was found guilty of contempt of court and as a consequence was sought to be debarred from appearing in courts till, he purged himself of contempt. In Ex. Capt. Harish Uppal v. Union of India and Anr., [2002] SUPP 5 SCR 186, the direction prohibiting an advocate from appearing in court for a specified period was seen not as punishment for professional misconduct but as a measure necessary to regulate the court’s proceedings and to maintain the dignity and orderly functioning of the courts. It was further held that the prohibition against appearance in courts does not affect the right of the concerned lawyer to carry on his legal practice in other ways. Moreover, Kerala High Court has framed Rules under Section 34 of the Advocates Act and Rule 11, which reads that, “No advocate who has been found guilty of contempt of court shall be permitted to appear, act or plead in any court unless he has purged himself of the contempt.”

Hence, in the present matter, the hon’ble court observed that, in a matter as fundamental and grave as preserving the purity of judicial proceedings, the High Court would be free to exercise the powers vested in it under Section 34 of the Advocates Act notwithstanding the fact that Rules prescribing the manner of exercise of power have not been framed. However, in the absence of statutory Rules providing for such a course an advocate facing the charge of contempt would normally think of only the punishments specified under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act. He may not even imagine that at the end of the proceeding he might end up being debarred from appearing before the court. The rules of natural justice, therefore, demand that before passing an order debarring an advocate from appearing in courts he must be clearly told that his alleged conduct or actions are such that if found guilty he might be debarred from appearing in courts for a specific period.  In order to avoid any such controversies in future, the apex court had directed all the High Courts that have so far not framed rules under Section 34 of the Advocates Act, to frame the rules without further delay.

CONCLUSION:

The High Court can prohibit an advocate from appearing before the High Court and the courts sub-ordinate to it for a specified period as one of the punishments for criminal contempt of court in order to preserve the purity of judiciary.

CASE 4: Radha Mohan Lal v. Rajasthan High Court AIR 2003 SC 1467

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Criminal Appeal Nos. 445 and 449 of 1993

Decided On: 11.02.2003

Appellants: Radha Mohan Lal

Vs.

Respondent: Rajasthan High Court (Jaipur Bench)

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: Y.K. Sabharwal and H.K. Sema, JJ.

CITATION: (2003) 3 SCC 427, [2003] 1 SCR 1011

ISSUE:

Whether punishment for contempt can be warded off, if the apology is tendered after being found guilty and infliction of imprisonment?

Whether an advocate is bound by constitutional obligation to say and submit before the Court whatever he is instructed by his client?

RULE:

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

Section 2(c) of the Act emphasizes to the interference with the courts of justice or obstruction of the administration of justice or scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court – not the judge.

Section 12 deals with the punishment for the contempt of court.

APPLICATION:

Apology is evidence of real contrite as also of his consciousness of wrong done by a person. In the case of M.Y. Shareef and Anr. v. The Hon’ble Judges of the High Court of Nagpur and Ors. 1955 Cri LJ 133, a Constitution Bench of the apex Court accepted the apology that was tendered before it for the first time. In view of the aforesaid, the hon’ble court in the present matter, warded off the punishment for contempt, if the apology is tendered after being found guilty and infliction of imprisonment.

An advocate is not merely an agent or servant of his client. He is an officer of the Court. He owes a duty towards the Court. There can be nothing more serious than an act of an advocate if it tends to impede, obstruct or prevent the administration of law or it destroys the confidence of the people in such administration. In Shareef’s case, the Constitution Bench held that the counsel who sign applications or pleadings containing matter scandalizing the Court without reasonably satisfying themselves about the prima facie existence of adequate grounds, with a view to prevent or delay the course of justice, are themselves guilty of contempt of Court, and that it is no duty of a counsel to his client to take any interest in such applications; on the other hand, his duty is to advise his client for refraining from making allegations of this nature in such applications. Further, in Shamsher Singh Bedi v. High Court of Punjab & Haryana, 1995 Cri LJ 3627, the apex Court held that an advocate cannot escape his responsibility for drafting a scandalous notice to a Magistrate on the ground that he did so in his professional capacity. Hence, in the present matter, it was held that an advocate is not bound by constitutional obligation to say and submit before the Court whatever he is instructed by his client.

CONCLUSION:

The punishment for contempt can be warded off, even if the apology is tendered after being found guilty and infliction of imprisonment. Further, an advocate is not bound by constitutional obligation to say and submit before the Court whatever he is instructed by his client. If he signs applications or pleadings containing matter scandalizing the Court, he will be liable for contempt of court.

CASE 5: Ramon Services Pvt. Ltd. v. Subhash Kapoor AIR 2001 SC 207

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 6385 of 2000

Decided On: 14.11.2000

Appellants: Ramon Services (P) Ltd.

Vs.

Respondent: Subhash Kapoor

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: K.T. Thomas, J.

CITATION: AIR 2001 SC 207

ISSUE:

Whether a litigant should suffer penalty for his advocate boycotting the court pursuant to a strike call made by the association of which the advocate was a member?

RULE:

Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette: Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules

The rules mentioned under this chapter provides a general guide on conducts and etiquettes for the advocates. The duty of the advocates to the Court, Client, Opponent and Colleagues are specifically mentioned through various sections under this Chapter.

APPLICATION:

Strikes by the professionals including the advocates cannot be equated with strikes undertaken by the industrial workers in accordance with the statutory provisions. With the strike by the lawyers, the process of court intended to secure justice is obstructed which is unwarranted under the provisions of the Advocates Act. In Pandurang Dattatraya Khandekar v. Bar Council of Maharashtra, [1984] 1 SCR 414, it was observed that, “An advocate is expected to follow norms of professional ethics and try to protect the interests of his client in relation to whom he occupies opposition of trust. It would be against professional etiquette of a lawyer to deprive his client of his services in the court on account of strike.” In Tarini Mohan Barari, In re AIR 1923 Cal. 212, the Full Bench of the High Court held that pleaders deliberately abstaining from attending the court and taking part in a concerted movement to boycott the court was a course of conduct held not justified.

In the light of the consistent views of the judiciary regarding the strike by the advocates, no leniency can be shown to the defaulting party and if the circumstances warrant to put such party back in the position as it existed before the strike. In that event, the adversary is entitled to be paid exemplary costs. The litigant suffering costs has a right to be compensated by his defaulting counsel for the costs paid. Hence, in the present case, the ex-parte decree was set aside with payment of costs, which was to be recovered from the advocate.

CONCLUSION:

The advocate would be answerable for the consequence suffered by the party, if the non-appearance was solely on the ground of a strike call. It is unjust and inequitable to cause the party alone to suffer for the self-imposed dereliction of his advocate.

CASE 6: Bar Council of India v. Board of Management, Dayanand College of Law AIR 2007 SC 1342

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 5301-5302 of 2001

Decided On: 28.11.2006

Appellants: Bar Council of India

Vs.

Respondent: Board of Mang. Dayanand Coll. of law and Ors.

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: H.K. Sema and P.K. Balasubramanyan, JJ.

CITATION: AIR 2007 SC 1342, (2007) 2 SCC 202

ISSUE:

Whether the Bar Council of India had no role in legal education and that its role was confined to controlling the profession of Advocates and the commencement of the profession, that is, enrolment as an Advocate?

RULE:

Advocates Act, 1961

The Bar Council of India is constituted under Section 4 of the Advocates Act. The functions assigned to it are enumerated in Section 7 of the Act.

Section 7(1)(h) promotes legal education and lays down standards of such education in consultation with the Universities in India imparting such education and the State Bar Councils.

7(1)(i) recognizes Universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrolment as an advocate and for that purpose to visit and inspect Universities or cause the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect Universities in accordance with such directions as it may give in this behalf.

Bar Council of India Rules

The Bar Council of India Rules are framed by the Bar Council of India in exercise of its rule making power. Part IV of BCI Rules deals with legal education, the duration of it, the syllabi etc.

As per Rule 12, Full-time teachers of law including the Principal of the College shall ordinarily be holders of a Master’s degree in law and where the holders of Master’s degree in law are not available, persons with teaching experience for a minimum period of 10 years in law may be considered. Part- time teachers other than one with LL.M. degree shall have a minimum practice of five years at the Bar.

Rule 17 stipulates that no college after the coming into force of the Rules shall impart instruction in a course of study in law for enrolment as an advocate unless its affiliation has been approved by the Bar Council of India.

APPLICATION:

The aim of most of the students who enter the law college, is to get enrolled as Advocates and practice law in the country. To do that, they have necessarily to have a degree from a university that is recognized by the Bar Council of India. This directly means that the Principal of a Law College has to be appointed bearing in mind that he should fulfil the requirements of the Rules of the Bar Council of India framed under the Advocates Act and it be ensured that he holds a Doctorate in any one of the branches of law taught in the law college. Therefore, when a request is made for selection of a principal of a law college, the University and the Selection Committee has to ensure that applications are invited from those who are qualified to be principals of a law college in terms of the Rules of the Bar Council and from the list prepared, a person possessing the requisite qualification, is nominated and appointed as the principal of a law college. Hence, in light of this, it was observed that, the Bar Council of India plays an important role in legal education.

CONCLUSION:

In the present case, it was concluded that only doctorate holder in any of law subjects could be appointed as Principal of Law College. It would also be necessary for proposed incumbent to satisfy requirements of Rules of Bar Council of India.

CASE 7: Prahlad Saran Gupta v. Bar Council of India, AIR 1997 SC 1338

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 3588 of 1984

Decided On: 26.02.1997

Appellants: Prahlad Saran Gupta

Vs.

Respondent: Bar Council of India and Ors.

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: S.C. Agrawal and G.B. Pattanaik, JJ.

CITATION: AIR 1997 SC 1338, (1997) 3 SCC 585

ISSUE:

Whether Disciplinary Committee of Bar Council of India can held a person guilty of serious professional on its findings on handwriting of the accused by comparison done by itself?

RULE:

Advocates Act, 1961

As per Section 38 of the act, any person aggrieved by an order made by the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India, may within sixty days of the date on which the order is communicated to him, prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court.

APPLICATION:

In State (Delhi Administration) v. Pali Ram, 1979 (1) SCR 931, it was observed that, “ Although there is no legal bar to the Judge using his own eyes to compare the disputed writing with the admitted writing, even without the aid of the evidence of any handwriting expert, the Judge should, as a matter of prudence and caution, hesitate to base his finding with regard to the identity of a handwriting which forms the sheet-anchor of the prosecution case against a person accused of an offence solely on comparison made by himself. It is, therefore, not advisable that a Judge should take upon himself the task of comparing the admitted writing with the disputed one to find out whether the two agree with each other, and the prudent course is to obtain the opinion and assistance of an expert.” In the present matter, Disciplinary Committee had based its conclusion purely on the basis of its own comparison of the handwriting, hence the finding recorded by it was not upheld.

CONCLUSION:

When the matter is related to a charge of professional misconduct, it is quasi-criminal in nature and hence requires proof beyond reasonable doubt.

CASE 8: Central Bureau of Investigation, Hyderabad v. K Narayan Rao (2012) 9 SCC 512

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Crl. A. No. 1460 of 2012 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 6975 of 2011)

Decided On: 21.09.2012

Appellants: Central Bureau of Investigation, Hyderabad

Vs.

Respondent: K Narayan Rao.

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: P. Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi, JJ.

CITATION: (2012) 9 SCC 512

ISSUE:

Whether an advocate giving legal opinion on account of being a panel advocate be charged under Section 120B for criminal conspiracy?

RULE:

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 120A defines criminal conspiracy.

When two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done:

(1) an illegal act, or

(2) an act which is not illegal by illegal means,

such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy.

Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall amount to a criminal conspiracy unless some act besides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof.

Explanation. -It is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to that object.

APPLICATION:

The ingredients of the offence of criminal conspiracy are that there should be an agreement between the persons who are alleged to conspire and the said agreement should be for doing of an illegal act or for doing, by illegal means, an act which by itself may not be illegal. In the present case, there is no specific reference to the role of the advocate with the main conspirators. In Pandurang Dattatraya Khandekar v. Bar Council of Maharashtra and Ors. (1984) 2 SCC 556, the Hon’ble Court held that “there is a world of difference between the giving of improper legal advice and the giving of wrong legal advice. Mere negligence unaccompanied by any moral delinquency on the part of a legal practitioner in the exercise of his profession does not amount to professional misconduct.” Therefore, the liability against an opining advocate arises only when he was an active participant in a plan. In the given case, there is no evidence to prove that the advocate was abetting or aiding the original conspirators.

In State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, the Apex Court held that an FIR or a complaint may be quashed if the allegations made therein are so absurd and inherently improbable that no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. Hence, in light of the above, all the charges against the advocate were quashed.

CONCLUSION:

An advocate giving legal opinion on account of being a panel advocate cannot be charged under Section 120B for criminal conspiracy. Merely because his opinion may not be acceptable, he cannot be mulcted with the criminal prosecution, particularly, in the absence of tangible evidence that he associated with other conspirators. At the most, he may be liable for gross negligence or professional misconduct if it is established by acceptable evidence.

CASE 9: O.P. Sharma v. High Court of Punjab and Haryana, AIR 2011 SC 2101

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Crl. A. No. 1108-1115 and 1206 of 2004

Decided On: 09.05.2011

Appellants: O.P. Sharma

Vs.

Respondent: High Court of Punjab and Haryana

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan, JJ.

CITATION: AIR 2011 SC 2101, (2011) 6 SCC 86, (2011) 2 SCC(Cri) 821

ISSUE:

Whether offering unconditional apology by filing affidavits before the Courts, set aside te order sentencing the contemnors to jail?

RULE:

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

  • “Criminal contempt” means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:
  • scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
  • prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
  • interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
  • Section 2(c) of the Act emphasizes to the interference with the courts of justice or obstruction of the administration of justice or scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court – not the judge.
  • Section 12 deals with the punishment for the contempt of court.
  • Section 15 of the Act empowers the court to take suo moto action for cognizance of Criminal Contempt.

Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette: Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules

The rules mentioned under this chapter provides a general guide on conducts and etiquettes for the advocates. The duty of the advocates to the Court, Client, Opponent and Colleagues are specifically mentioned through various sections under this Chapter.

APPLICATION:

The subordinate judiciary forms the very backbone of administration of justice. The Apex Court has always come down a heavy hand for preventing the judges of the subordinate judiciary or the High Court from being subjected to scurrilous and indecent attacks, which scandalise or have the tendency to scandalise, or lower or have the tendency to lower the authority of any court as also all such actions which interfere or tend to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceedings or obstruct or tend to obstruct the administration of justice in any other manner.

In the present matter, contemnor had tendered unconditional apology, recorded even at the initial stage before the High Court and before the Magistrate, before whom the unwanted incident had occurred and the present affidavits filed before the apex once again expressing unconditional apology and regret with an undertaking that they would maintain good behaviour in future and in view of the language used in ‘proviso’ and ‘explanation’ appended to Section 12(1) of the Act.

A Court, be that of a Magistrate or the Supreme Court is sacrosanct. The integrity and sanctity of an institution which has bestowed upon itself the responsibility of dispensing justice is ought to be maintained. All the functionaries, be it advocates, judges and the rest of the staff ought to act in accordance with morals and ethics. An advocate should faithfully abide by the standards of professional conduct and etiquette prescribed by the Bar Council of India in Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules. As a rule, he being a member of the legal profession has a social duty to show the people a beacon of light by his conduct and actions rather than being adamant on an unwarranted and uncalled for issue. In the present matter, the judiciary hoping that the entire legal fraternity would set an example for other professionals by adhering to all the above-mentioned principles accepted the unconditional apology tendered in the form of affidavits.

CONCLUSION:

An apology should not be rejected merely on ground that it was qualified or conditional. In the present case, unconditional apology was tendered at initial stage before High Court and before Magistrate before whom unwanted incident had occurred and affidavits filed before Court once again expressing unconditional apology and regret with undertaking that they would maintain good behaviour in future. Therefore, Court accepted all affidavits filed under Section 12(1) of the Act. However, acceptance of an apology from contemnor should only be matter of exception and not that of rule.

CASE 10: Prahlad Saran Gupta v. Bar Council of India, AIR 1997 SC 1338

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 3588 of 1984

Decided On: 26.02.1997

Appellants: Prahlad Saran Gupta

Vs.

Respondent: Bar Council of India and Ors.

HON’BLE JUDGES/CORAM: S.C. Agrawal and G.B. Pattanaik, JJ.

CITATION: AIR 1997 SC 1338, (1997) 3 SCC 585

ISSUE:

Whether Disciplinary Committee of Bar Council of India can hold a person guilty of serious professional on its findings on handwriting of the accused by comparison done by itself?

RULE:

Advocates Act, 1961

As per Section 38 of the act, any person aggrieved by an order made by the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India, may within sixty days of the date on which the order is communicated to him, prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court.

APPLICATION:

In State (Delhi Administration) v. Pali Ram, 1979 (1) SCR 931, it was observed that, “ Although there is no legal bar to the Judge using his own eyes to compare the disputed writing with the admitted writing, even without the aid of the evidence of any handwriting expert, the Judge should, as a matter of prudence and caution, hesitate to base his finding with regard to the identity of a handwriting which forms the sheet-anchor of the prosecution case against a person accused of an offence solely on comparison made by himself. It is, therefore, not advisable that a Judge should take upon himself the task of comparing the admitted writing with the disputed one to find out whether the two agree with each other, and the prudent course is to obtain the opinion and assistance of an expert.” In the present matter, Disciplinary Committee had based its conclusion purely on the basis of its own comparison of the handwriting, hence the finding recorded by it was not upheld.

CONCLUSION:

When the matter is related to a charge of professional misconduct, it is quasi-criminal in nature and hence requires proof beyond reasonable doubt.

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