Grimwood Mears, Kt., C.J., Walsh and Sulaiman, JJ.
1. In this case Dwarka Prasad Mithal, an L.L.B. and a duly qualified member of the legal profession, practising as a pleader in the district of Muzaffarnagar, appears before us to answer to a notice which was issued by a member of this Court, in consequence of a complaint made by the District Magistrate of certain conduct which took place before him. It appears from the admission made by Dwarka Prasad himself before us that he was employed, together with two leaders, Mr. Moore, a Barrister, who-was a visitor from Meerut, and Mr. Ramji Lal, a local practitioner of Muzaffarnagar, to represent certain accused in a charge before Mr. Darling, the District Magistrate in whom Dwarka Prasad has assured us he had complete confidence. Curiously enough, on the first day of the proceedings, in the presence of and with the assent silently given of Dwarka Prasad, Mr. Moore went out of his way publicly to assure Mr. Darling of the confidence which they all had in him as a tribunal, and assured him there was no reason for desiring to transfer the case. Dwarka Prasad has told us today that he has never lost, or had occasion to lose, the confidence which was then publicly expressed upon his behalf. The case proceeded for eight days. The evidence for the prosecution was closed. The statements of the accused had been taken, and his leaders no longer appearing to take part in the case, Dwarka Prasad on the 13th of June made an application to the Magistrate that the case should he committed to Sessions. The merits of that application do no concern us. It was rejected. The result was that the case remained before Mr. Darling for decision.
2. Dwarka Prasad has told us today that because the Magistrate had dismissed that application, he then felt himself entitled to make the disgraceful charge of unfairness against the Magistrate. Whether he did it solely upon his own-responsibility, or because he was asked and paid to do it by his clients, appears from his statements to be somewhat difficult to decide satisfactorily. But he has told us that he himself did not consider it a reasonable application to He made, and no man in his senses could possibly suggest that because an application that the case should be transferred to the Sessions Judge had been judicially rejected, there was the slightest ground, in decency or honour, for suggesting that any suspicion Had there by been aroused against the impartiality of the Magistrate. Nonetheless on the 14th of June, in consequence of the rejection of that application, Dwarka Prasad, reckless apparently of the responsibilities which rest upon legal practitioners representing their clients, put forward, an application for an adjournment of the case to enable an application to be made to the High Court for the transfer of the case on the ground that a reasonable suspicion existed against the impartiality of the trying Magistrate. We are satisfied that Dwarka Prasad himself entertained no such view. He had no reasonable suspicion of the impartiality of the Magistrate. He has admitted before us that nothing has occurred to cause him to doubt the confidence which he entertained and which had been expressed on his behalf, in the integrity and impartiality of the Magistrate. We have invited him and he has confessed himself unable to point to any single fact which justified him in alleging that Mr. Darling was or would be unfair. Having secured an adjournment, he took no steps to apply for the transfer. After a delay which has not been explained, and after being soundly advised by a Barrister of this Court that no reasonable application could be made to the High Court for transfer, he became a party to a totally different application and abandoned his intention of applying for a transfer. It was not too late then to go to the Magistrate and admit that he had acted improperly, and that no grounds for the application really existed. If he had had a shred of honour or sense of responsibility, it would have been the first thing which he would have done. He was either unwilling, or as he suggested to us, ashamed to do it. The result was that an adjournment having been obtained for the purpose of a transfer, it was deliberately utilized for a totally different purpose. In a half-hearted way Dwarka Prasad, in the course of his answers to the questions put by the Court, endeavoured to shift responsibility on to his clients, though he was even unable to remember the particular individual who for this purpose instructed him. This attitude and the painful frequency with which discreditable means are used in the courts below to obstruct and delay the true course of justice by obtaining adjournments and making futile and childish applications, sometimes offensive applications, to this Court for transfer, renders it necessary that we should make an example of Dwarka Prasad, and that we should issue a serious Warning to the members of the profession with the hope that this kind of proceeding will cease. Members of the legal profession are under no duty to their clients to make grave and scandalous charges either against Judges or the opposite parties on the mere wish of their clients. They are not puppets compelled to obey the dictates of their clients where matters of good faith and honourable conduct are concerned. They are responsible to the court for the fair and honest conduct of a case. They are not mere agents of the man who pays them, but are acting in the administration of justice, and in matters of this kind they are bound to exercise an independent judgment, and to conduct themselves with a sense of personal responsibility. If they fail to act with reasonable care and caution, they are unfit to enjoy the privileges conferred upon them by law, and serious breaches must be visited with punishment.
3. We have unfortunately noticed for some time that there is a growing practice in these Provinces to make, if not sometimes statements deliberately untrue to the knowledge of the person making them, at any rate reckless and disgraceful charges of impropriety and partiality against the tribunal when the real ground merely is that the advocate considers himself in danger of losing his case. It is necessary, as a deterrent, to make an example, and to show members of the profession (be it observed that there are many, indeed the great majority of this profession, who will not, and do not, stoop to such practices) that these applications for transfer so made are attended with danger to the persons who make them when they are proved to be made as recklessly and with such total absence of foundation as the one in this case.
4. The decision of the Court is that Dwarka Prasad, Pleader of Muzaffarnagar, be suspended from practice for six months from this date.