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Motilal Gopaldas Shet Vs. Krishnabai Gopalrao Garud - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case Number Civil Extraordinary Application No. 32 of 1924
Judge
Reported inAIR1925Bom513; (1925)27BOMLR1156; 90Ind.Cas.604
AppellantMotilal Gopaldas Shet
RespondentKrishnabai Gopalrao Garud
Excerpt:
bombay pleaders act (bom act xvii of 1910), sections 17-19 - pleader-client- death of pleader-quantum meruit.;a pleader is entitled, in the absence of any special agreement, to receive fees allowed on taxation between himself and his client for his services until the final decree or order in the proceeding is passed. if a pleader dies before such final decree or order is passed, or for any reason the engagement of his services by his client is put an end to, the pleader will only be entitled to ask the court to award him certain proportionate fees on the basis of a quantum meruit.;in assessing the quantum meruit the court may be guided by the percentages laid down by law for the regulation of costs between party and party, but is not bound to adopt that guide where the circumstances of..........only concerned with an item of rs. 109 debited in mr. garud'a account on june 16, 1920, for his fees in appeal no. 103 of 1920. the defendant admitted that he had engaged mr. garud in that appeal to appear, for him, and that he had put in his vakilpatra in that appeal, but defendant denies his liability to pay rs. 109 as mr. garud died before conducting the appeal the judge said:_ this contention is obviously not tenable. having made his appearance for the defendant in the appeal, mr. garud was entitled to get his legal fees it was no fault of his that ho died before the appeal was heard, and the defendant cannot escape from that liability simply because he had to incur further expanse by engaging another pleader.2. that finding could only be correct, if it could be said that a.....
Judgment:

Norman Macleod, Kt., C.J.

1. This suit was filed by the adopted son of the late Mr. Gopal Balvant Garud to recover certain fees due to his father, who carried on the profession of a pleader. The original plaintiff having died, the suit was continued by his mother. In the present application we are only concerned with an item of Rs. 109 debited in Mr. Garud'a account on June 16, 1920, for his fees in Appeal No. 103 of 1920. The defendant admitted that he had engaged Mr. Garud in that appeal to appear, for him, and that he had put in his Vakilpatra in that appeal, but defendant denies his liability to pay Rs. 109 as Mr. Garud died before conducting the appeal The Judge said:_

This contention is obviously not tenable. Having made his appearance for the defendant in the appeal, Mr. Garud was entitled to get his legal fees It was no fault of his that ho died before the appeal was heard, and the defendant cannot escape from that liability simply because he had to incur further expanse by engaging another pleader.

2. That finding could only be correct, if it could be said that a pleader as soon as he has been retained, and has filed his Vakilpatra, becomes thereby entitled to recover the whole of his fees which are payable for his services until the final decree is passed. There is no support for such a proposition in the Bombay Pleaders Act.

3. Under Section 17 of the Act:

Any party employing an pleader may settle with him by private agreement the terras of his engagement and the fee to be paid to him for his professional services.

4. It is not suggested in this case that the defendant entered into any private agreement with Mr. Garud, By Section 19, Sub-section (2):

Where no fee has been settled under Section 17, the pleader shall be entitled to receive from his client a fee computed in accordance with the rules in Schedule III, and any further fees which may be all wed on taxation between pleader and client in pursuance of any rules made in this behalf by the High Court.

5. Under Sub-section (3):

The fee which a pleader is entitled to receive from his client when computed in accordance with the rules in Schedule III, and except when otherwise agreed between the pleader and the client, the fee which a pleader is entitled to receive under Sub-section (1), is payable in respect of the pleader's services until the final decree, or order in the proceeding is passed.

6. In the absence then of any special agreement, a pleader shall be entitled to receive fees allowed on taxation between himself and his client for his services until the final decree or order in the proceeding is passed. If a pleader dies before such final decree or order is passed, or for any reason the engagement of his services by his client is put an end to, then the pleader will only be entitled to ask the Court to award him certain proportionate fees on the basis of a quantum meruit.

7. In Keshav Govind Joshi v. Jamsetji Cursetji I.L.R(1888). 12 Bom. 557 the plaintiff was a pleader who had appeared for the defendant in certain proceedings up to a certain stage. Not being paid any fees for his services, he sued the defendant. It was held by the High Court that the pleader, in the absence of an agreement, was entitled to a quantum, meruit. The Court in assessing the quantum meruit might be guided by the percentages laid down by law for the regulation of costs between party and party, but was not bound to adopt that guide where circumstances of the case would render it unjust to do so.

8. The question is then what is the proper remuneration in the circumstances of the case, which would have been paid to Mr. Garud, if the engagement of his services had terminated without his doing anything further than what was done in this case, namely, the filing of the Vakilpatra and entering the appearance of his client in the appeal. It is not suggested that Mr. Garud did anything more than that, as the appeal was not ready for hearing and did not come on for hearing till four months later. We think that on a quantum, meruit the sum of Rs. 10 would be sufficient remuneration for such services. The order of the Subordinate Judge then must be amended by allowing the plaintiff with regard to that item of Rs. 109, Rs. 10 only. The applicant will be entitled now to the costs of the rule.


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