1. A notice has been issued to Pandit Amrita Lal, Mukhtar, by a Full Bench of this Court on a report of the District Judge of Gorakhpur, dated the 17th of April 1919, to show cause why the report made against him should not be accepted and why proper orders should not be passed against him under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act. The substance of the complaint is contained in the District Judge's report and the accompanying papers. It is that the Mukhtar in question, who practises in the Criminal and Revenue Courts in the Kasia Sub Division of Gorakhpur, had been grossly insulting to a Sub-Divisional Officer in that Court. The language objected to was contained in three letters, dated the 22nd of July, 31st of July and the 5th of August 1918.
2. We have heard the learned Counsel who represented the Mukhtar in question. He argued upon the wording of Sections 13 and 14 of Act XVIII of 1879 but, in the main, confined his plea to a frank admission that the language used in these letters was most improper, coupled with a submission for clemency on the ground that his client had been misled and betrayed into using the language of an improper kind for which he felt genuine regret now that he had time to reconsider his position.
3. The suggestion that on the facts there is nothing which entitles us to take action under the provisions of Sections 13 and 14 of Act XVIII of 1879 cannot possibly be supported. The provisions of Section 13 (f) clearly cover the case, and. it is unnecessary to discuss whether it would not also fall under the provisions of Section 13 (6). The facts are very simple.
4. The Mukhtar had applied to the Sub-Divisional Officer for a copy of a judgment of acquittal. The record, in which the judgment had been passed, did not happen to be in the copying department of the Sub Divisional Officer of Kasia and through no fault of his, he was unable to supply a copy of that judgment. It was open to him to forward the application to the headquarters of the Gorakhpur district where the record had been transmitted in the ordinary course, and possibly it was his duty to have forwarded the application to headquarters. It is not quite clear whether the rules of the Kasia Courts had been properly posted up to date but, in any circumstances, if the officer in charge of the copying department had directed, even without official authorisation, that the Mukhtar should himself apply at the headquarters for the copy, he would not have done anything serious or anything which a reasonable person could take exception to. What he did was this. He returned the application to the Mukhtar, who refused to receive it. He sent it again to him by post. The Mukhtar again refused to receive it. Finally the application was torn up. By this act the Mukhtar might have been put to a loss of some thirteen annas. On this the Mukhtar addressed the officer in charge of the copying department (the officer in question being the Sub-Divisional Officer, a Deputy Collector and Magistrate of standing and position) a letter, the terms of which were deliberately insulting and offensive. He followed this up with an even worse letter and ended that particular transaction by a third letter, which was the worst of the three. These letters would have been perfectly intolerable if addressed by one private person to another private person, and it is difficult to understand how any man, holding the responsible position which attaches to members of the legal profession could have been so misguided as to write them.
5. The question remains, how is this man to be dealt with? His learned Counsel has put forward everything that can reasonably be said on his client's behalf, and we do not consider, that he has said anything too much. He has certainly not said too little. He pleads that the case should be met by a reprimand. Now we have a right to look, not only to the letters with which this man was charged before the Sub-Divisional Officer, but to certain other papers upon the record to gather how far a reprimand will meet the case. We find from one of the papers, which was a letter admittedly written by this Mukhtar some months after the first incident, i.e., a letter, dated the 20th of March 1919, that when there was a difficulty about renewing his certificate as a Revenue Agent (a matter with which we have no concern, that has already been decided by the Revenue Authorities), he addressed the Sob-Divisional Officer of Kasia not only in the most offensive manner but actually went so far as to threaten him. The threats undoubtedly were foolish to a degree, they were more like the ravings of a silly child who had lost his temper than the statements of a responsible man. But we are bound to take into consideration that this man, who, we find, when he was proceeded against in the first instance, had said that he had done nothing offensive and that he did not mean to do anything wrong, a few months later used worse language than before. How can we reasonably expect, if we lake the lenient view which his learned Counsel has asked us to do, that he will not return to his avocation feeling that he has gained a moral victory, and be even more offensive than before? We naturally do not wish to stand in any man's way, but we are bound to protect not only Magistrates who are doing their duty and should be helped rather than hindered by members of the Bar but also the credit of the legal profession, and it is our duty to take notice of a incident like this in a manner which shall make for the improvement of the person concerned. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate who made the enquiry suggested that a year's suspension would be sufficient to bring this Mukhtar to his senses. The District Judge appeared to have thought that a larger period was necessary. We are in no way bound by the suggestions made by these officers under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act. Now the matter has come before us, it is our duty to take the action which we consider necessary and after consultation we have come to the conclusion that the least that we can do is to suspend this Mukhtar for two years. He will be suspended from practice for two (2) years accordingly. At the same time he is warned to mend his ways when he returns to practice as his next slip may be his last. The suspension will take place from the date of this order and he will deposit his certificate of practice with the Registrar of the High Court within a week.