1. This is a reference under Section 21 of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. The Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants has found the respondent guilty of conduct which renders him unfit to be a member of the Institute as he sent circular letters to several persons soliciting professional work which amounts to misconduct as defined in Section 22 of the Act read with Clause (e) of the schedule. That clause runs thus:
Solicits clients or professional work either directly or indirectly, by circular, advertisement, personal communication or interview or by any other means.
The Council has, however, observed that the misconduct was more due to ignorance of the rules and lack of professional experience than to any wrong motive or dishonesty and while recommending that the name of the respondent be removed from the Register of the Institute it has added that in view of the extenuating circumstances the removal may be nominal only and the respondent may be permitted to apply for reinstatement immediately thereafter.
2. The respondent admitted before the disciplinary Committee of the Council that he had sent the circular letters and that his conduct was wrong and objectionable. His learned Counsel did not dispute the finding of misconduct. We have gone through the whole record and Uphold it.
3. As regards the question of punishment, the Secretary of the Institute who appeared before us on its behalf, submitted that we have no alternative but to order removal of the name of the respondent from the register if we affirm the finding of the Council. Reliance was placed on Section 8 Sub-section (vi) and Section 20, Sub-section (2). The two other provisions which have to be considered in this connection are Section 21, Sub-section (3) and Regulation 13 of the Chartered Accountants Regulation 1949, made under Section 30 of the Act.
4. The learned counsel for the respondent submits that the jurisdiction of the High Court under this Act is akin to the jurisdiction over Advocates under Section 10 of the Bar Councils Act, 1926. That section empowers a High Court to reprimand, suspend, or remove from practice any Advocate of the High Court whom it finds guilty of professional or other misconduct. The Bar Councils Act provides for enquiry by the Tribunal, and lays down the procedure and powers of the Tribunal in such enquiries. Somewhat similar provisions have been made in the Chartered Accountants Act. In the former case, the proceedings are initiated by the High Court, while in the latter they are initiated by the Council. Prior to the passing of this Act, the disciplinary jurisdiction over Registered Accountants, who are now classed as Chartered Accountants, was exercised by the Central Government under Auditors Certificates Rules, 1932. Under Rule 14 of these Rules the Central Government was empowered permanently or temporarily to remove from the Register of Accountants name of any person whom the Central Government had declared not to be a fit and proper person to remain enrolled on the Register by reason of any act, wt negligence, misconduct or dishonesty committed in his professional capacity or of any breach of professional propriety. A registered Accountant was thus not liable to be removed permanently from the Register in every case in which he was declared not to be a fit and proper person to remain enrolled on the Register. The Secretary distinguishes these provisions by submitting that the Chartered Accountants Act does not provide for temporary removal of a member.
5. The material provisions of the Act are:
8(vi)...A person shall not be entitled to have his name entered in or borne on the register if he has been found on inquiry to have been guilty of conduct which renders him unfit to be a member of the Institute.
20(2) The Council shall remove from the Register the name of any member who has been found by the High Court to have been guilty of conduct which renders him unfit to be a member of the Institute.
21(3) The High Court may, thereafter, either pass such final orders on the ease as it thinks fit....
There is no express provision in the Act for temporary removal or reinstatement. Regulation 13 provides for restoration of membership on certain terms of a person whose name has been permanently or temporarily removed from the register. Under the proviso, the restoration of the name of a person which was removed under Sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the Act shall be effected in accordance with the orders of the High Court. If the provisions relied en by the Secretary mean that the name of the member found guilty of conduct which renders him unfit to be a member of the Institute must be permanently removed from the register, the High Court has simply to confirm or reject the finding reached by the Council of the Institute and cannot pass 'such final orders on the case as it thinks fit'. In this view Section 21, Sub-section (3) would become otiose. This cannot be the intention of the Legislature. The primary object of interpretation of statutes is; to discover the true intention of the Legislature; and where the intention can be indubitably ascertained the Courts are bound to give effect to it regardless of their opinion about its wisdom or folly. It is the duty of Courts to construe an Act in such a manner as to-reconcile its different sections wherever It impossible to do so. As stated in Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 9th edition, it is an elementary rule that a construction is to be made of all the parts together and not of one-part only by itself. The true meaning of any passage is that which (being permissible) best harmonises with the subject and with every other passage of the statute (p. 31). A construction which will leave without effect any part of the language of the statute will ordinarily be rejected (p. 19). Another rule which is to be kept in view is that if there is inconsistency between two sections it is to be resolved by the application of the rule stated by Keating J. in Wood v. Riley (1867) 3 CP 26 in these words:
If the two sections are repugnant the known rule is that the last must prevail.
The two sections relied on by the Secretary have therefore to be read with Section 21(3). The power of the High Court in the exercise of disciplinary jurisdiction under this section is unfettered. If the final order of the Court requires the removal of the name of the defaulting member, the Council is bound to carry out that order under Section 20(2) of the Act and the member will not be entitled to have his name borne on the Register. Nor will he be entitled to have his name again entered' on the Register (Section 8(vi)) unless so permitted by the High Court. (Regulation 13). The two provisions relied on by the Secretary do not thus limit the powers of the High Court, but prescribe the duty of the Council to carry out the order and the right of the member to be readmitted in accordance with the order of the High Court.
6. We find support for this view in an unpublished judgment of the Bombay High Court in Lawrence Tellis v. Dr. S.G. Mandre C.A. No. 1 of 1951, D/- 10.10.1951 (Bom), brought to our notice by Shri Thakar for the respondent. The Secretary was aware of this decision but submitted that the matter may be examined afresh as the Act is new and the point is of a great public importance. The learned Chief Justice observed:.and it is suggested that the only power that the High Court has is to pass an order ordering that the offending accountant should be removed from the register. That is clearly not so because under Section 21(3) it is left to the High Court to pass final orders in inquiries relating to misconduct of members of the Institute and the ,power of the High Court is in no way circumscribed. All that Section 20(2) provides is that in the event of the High Court ordering the removal of the name of an accountant who has been guilty of misconduct, the Council shall carry out the order of the High Court. It is clear that the only penalty that the High Court can impose is not the penalty of permanently removing the name of an accountant from the register. It is open to the High Court merely to warn the accountant, it is open to the High Court to suspend the accountant from practice, or to pass the extreme penalty of having his name removed from the register.
7. That is what the Legislature meant by Sub-section (2) of Section 20 would be clear from the Schedule, some of the items of which are of a minor nature. It would be contrary to the principles of natural justice that there should be one extreme penalty for all kinds of misconduct. We are, therefore, in respectful agreement with the view taken by the learned Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court that the High Court is empowered to award punishment by way of censure, reprimand, suspension or removal of a member.
8. Our reading of Section 20(2) is also consistent with the provisions of Regulation 13 of the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1949 framed by the Council under Section 30 of the Act. That Regulation enables a person whose name has been permanently or temporarily removed from the register to apply for restoration of his name if' he is otherwise eligible to such membership. It is further provided that the restoration of the name of a person who was removed by the Council under Sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the Act shall be effected in accordance with the orders of the High Court.
9. In the light of this view of law, we examined the circumstances of the case and find that this is not a case where the extreme penalty of removing the name of the respondent permanently from the Register is called for. We cannot, however, accept the suggestion of the learned Counsel for the respondent that he should be let off with a warning. In view of the extenuating circumstances mentioned by the Council we are of the opinion that the proper punishment would be to remove the name of the respondent from the Register with liberty to him to make an application for restoration of his name to the Register in accordance with the Regulations framed under the Act. We order accordingly. No order as to costs.