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T. Venkanna Vs. the Hon'ble High Court of Mysore by Its Registrar and Anr. (13.12.1972 - KARHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberI.A. No. 1 in Writ Petn. No. 2937 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Kant127; AIR1973Mys127; (1973)1MysLJ143
ActsAvcocates Act, 1961 - Sections 30
AppellantT. Venkanna
RespondentThe Hon'ble High Court of Mysore by Its Registrar and Anr.
Advocates:S.K. Venkataranga Iyengar, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....prevail over the subordinate legislation. - boulton in his book 'conduct and etiquette at the bar' has stated thus at page 75:-whilst a member of the bar is entitled, like any other member of the public, to appear in person, it is improper for him whether instructed professionally or not to appear also as counsel in a case in which he himself is a party, i......reads thus:--'the petitioner sri t. venkanna is an advocate of this court. he has not engaged any counsel to argue his case, but appeared in person and wanted to argue from the bar his own cause. he was told by the court to disrobe himself and then address the court. he did not disrobe himself and then argue his case. sri venkanna being an advocate in his own cause, he is not entitled, in our opinion, to exercise the privileges of an advocate and address the court from 'the bar'.in these circumstance, we reject the writ petition.'2. on 29-11-1972 the petitioner filed i. a. no. i wherein he has prayed that our order dated 28-11-1972 be recalled and he be permitted to argue his case with his robes on.3. when the matter came up fop hearing on i. a. no. i, we told sri s. k. venkataranga.....
Judgment:

G.K. Govinda Bhat, J.

1. In response to Notification No. GOB 291/72 dated 4-4-1972 and published in the Mysore Gazette dated 6-4-1972, Sri T. Venkanna, a practising Advocate offered himself for being considered by the High Court for recommendation to be appointed as a District Judge. Since he was not called for interview by the High Court, he preferred W. P. No. 2937 of 1972 which came up for preliminary hearing for admission on the 28th of November, 1972 before us. The petitioner was not represented by counsel and he appeared in person and wanted to argue from the Bar his own cause. He was told by us to disrobe himself and then address the Court The petitioner insisted that he should be heard without being required to remove his Gown. Being of the opinion that the petitioner is not entitled to argue with his robes on since he was arguing his own cause, his petition was dismissed. The said order reads thus:--

'The petitioner Sri T. Venkanna is an Advocate of this Court. He has not engaged any counsel to argue his case, but appeared in person and wanted to argue from the Bar his own cause. He was told by the Court to disrobe himself and then address the Court. He did not disrobe himself and then argue his case. Sri Venkanna being an Advocate in his own cause, he is not entitled, in our opinion, to exercise the privileges of an Advocate and address the Court from 'the Bar'.

In these circumstance, we reject the Writ petition.'

2. On 29-11-1972 the petitioner filed I. A. No. I wherein he has prayed that our order dated 28-11-1972 be recalled and he be permitted to argue his case with his robes on.

3. When the matter came up fop hearing on I. A. No. I, we told Sri S. K. Venkataranga Iyengar, learned counsel for Sri Venkanna in I. A. No. I that we will recall our order dated 28-11-1972 if the counsel would argue the case at the preliminary hearing for admission. We also told him that if Sri Venkanna would comply with the directions of this Court and argue without his robes on, we will permit him to argue after recalling our earlier order. Sri Iyengar after consulting his client told us that he has been engaged only to argue the interlocutory application and not the main matter for admission and that Sri Venkanna is not prepared to argue unless we permit him to argue with his robes on.

4. We heard Sri Iyengar on the question whether an Advocate appearing in his own cause is entitled to argue before this Court with his Advocate's robes on. The argument of Sri Iyengar was that whatever the practice might have been before Ihe coming into force of the Advocates Act, 1961 (hereinafter called the Act) the petitioner who is himself an Advocate is entitled to argue from the bar his own cause with his Advocate's robes on. The learned counsel relied on Section 30 of the Act which states that 'under the provisions of the Act, every advocate whose name is entered in the common roll shall be entitled as of right to practise throughout the territories to which the Act extends, in all courts including the Supreme Court.' Sub-section (1) of 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 thereto. Rule 12 of the Rules prescribes the dress to be worn by advocates appearing before the High Court and the courts subordinate thereto. Under the said Rule, the dress prescribed for Men Advocates is Black Coat, Bands and Gown. The argument of Sri Iyengar was that there is no provision under the Act or the Rules made thereunder that an Advocate appearing before this Court when he argues his own cause he should remove his Gown and that in the absence of such a Rule, the petitioner has the right to wear his advocate's robes when he argues his own case.

5. The word 'Advocate' is a technical term in India and other countries whose legal system is based on the Roman law. The corresponding name in the English law courts is 'Counsel' or 'Barrister'. Advocate, in law, is a person who practices the profession of pleading the cause of another before a court or a Tribunal. The universal practice in England and India has been that in cases where a Barrister or an Advocate appears before the Court as a litigant in person, he must not address the Court from the Advocates' table or in robes, but from the same place and in the same way as any ordinary member of the public.

6. Merchant in his book 'Barrister-at-law' at page 41 of the book has stated that 'Barristers cannot be heard in court as advocates unless they are robed'. At page 70 of the same book it is stated that 'a Barrister who is a litigant cannot appear both as counsel and as litigant and that he must elect either to conduct the case entirely as litigant in person or to abandon the case entirely to his counsel'. It is also stated that 'he cannot be heard to address the Court either after or before his counsel'. W. W. Boulton in his book 'Conduct and Etiquette at the Bar' has stated thus at page 75:--

'Whilst a member of the Bar is entitled, like any other member of the public, to appear in person, it is improper for him Whether instructed professionally or not to appear also as counsel in a case in which he himself is a party, i.e., to wear robes or to sit in counsel's seats.....A Barristerappearing in person has no more rights than any other complainant and he only differs from any other member of the public when he is instructed by a solicitor on behalf of a client.'

In New Brunswick and Canada Rly. and Land Co. Ltd. v. Conybeare, (1862) 31 LJ Ch 297 a request was made before the House of Lords that the respondent Conybeare who was a Barrister may be permit-tad to appear as junior counsel with Mr. G. Lake Russel and be heard in his own behalf. Their Lordships did not accede to that request and observed that Mr. Conybeare must argue his own cause in person or appear by counsel.

7. The question arose before the Allahabad High Court when Sri John Edge was the Chief Justice of that Court. That was a case where a petition was moved before the Allahabad High Court for withdrawal of winding up proceedings from the District Court to the High Court. Mr. Quarry was the Official Liquidator and he appeared in person to oppose the petition. He appeared in robes as a pleader of the High Court and addressed the Court from the Bar. During the course of argument, Chief Justice Edge addressing Mr. Quarry said that 'in future in cases where a Barrister or pleader appeared before the Court as a litigant in person, he must not address the Court from the advocates' table or in robes, but from the same place and in the same way as any ordinary member of the public and that was the universal practice in England and Ireland, and it should be followed here'. Vide In the matter of the West Hopetown Tea Co. Ltd., (1887) ILR 9 All 180 at p. 181. In Vidya Verma v. Shiv Narain, : 1956CriLJ283 , a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution for a writ of 'habeas corpus' was presented before the Supreme Court by Mr. R. V. S. Mani, an Advocate of the Nagpur High Court on behalf of Smt. Vidya Verma. Mr. Mani had no power of attorney from the lady andwhen the office pointed out that he could not present a petition without producing the necessary authority he amended the petition and described himself as the next friend of the lady. When Mr. Mani appeared before the Supreme Court he was robed. He was asked to clarify his position and when he said he had no power-of-attorney and explained that he was appearing in a private capacity as next friend, he was told that at the next hearing he must address the Court without his robes. At the adjourned hearing Mr. Mani appeared in person unrobed as directed, but with the Advocate on record sitting by his side. Mr. Mani asked for permission to address the Court himself. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court declined to hear him unless he discharged the Advocate on record. He did that on the spot and then proceeded to address the Court in person without his advocate's robes on. Thus it is clear that the practice in India has been that where an Advocate is himself a litigant and appears as a litigant in person he must not address the Court from the Advocates' table or with robes on but from the same place and in the same way as any ordinary member of the public.

8. The Act, in our opinion, has not made any change in the matter of this practice which has been observed in the Supreme Court and in the various High Courts. Section 30 of the Act on which reliance was placed by Sri Iyengar for the petitioner confers the right on every Advocate whose name is entered in the common roll to practise throughout the territory to which the Act extends in all courts including the Supreme Court. Rule 12 made by this court under Section 34 of the Act prescribes the mode of dress for Advocates appearing before this Court. When an Advocate whose name is entered in the common roll appears before the Court as a litigant in person he is not exercising any right under Section 30 of the Act. In the instant case no question of the right of the petitioner under the Act arose; no right conferred under the Act has been denied to him. The word 'practise' means 'the exercise of a profession'. Where an Advocate is a litigant in person he does not practise his profession and therefore he cannot be permitted to argue with his robes on from the Advocates' table. He can address the Court from the same place and in the same way as any ordinary member of the public. Sri Venkanna was not prepared to argue at the preliminary hearing without his robes on.

9. The view taken by us when we made the order on 28th November, 1972 is in conformity with the practice prevailing in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts.

10. For the reasons stated above, I. A. No. I is dismissed.


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